“Less is more” isn’t only about minimalism in fashion trends. This statement makes good advice in various spheres of our life. Sometimes we try so hard it actually makes things worse. This especially concerns female intimate hygiene. It’s a delicate but totally stigmatized subject.
The idea of a female body being “dirty” exists throughout the entire history of humanity. Recently mass media started speaking more about it but there’s still a myth that female sex organs are dirty, smelly and can be considered clean only if they look and smell like flowers. But they aren’t flowers. If a woman tries too hard to keep herself “clean”, this can negatively affect her intimate health.
Many women don’t feel that their vaginas are clean if they aren’t smoothly shaved, perfumed and dry. This is not necessary because nature was smart to give vaginas an excellent mechanism of self-cleaning. Hair and discharge are parts of that natural mechanism and shouldn’t be ashamed of.
What “Clean” Really Means
Let’s observe the most common myths about women’s intimate hygiene that exist in society and see how women harm themselves with improper self-care.
Hairy Isn’t Equal to Dirty
Pubic hair isn’t nature’s mistake. It grows there to prevent dirt from getting inside the vagina so it actually helps us keep ourselves clean. Shaving can damage your skin and create an open gate for infection. Hair can collect bad smells so it’s important to keep yourself clean, but you need to do the same even if you remove it. If you don’t like to have pubic hair, remove it with non-traumatic methods to avoid infection and irritation (like a laser).
Discharge Is Normal
There are cases when vaginal discharge is abnormal when it has a weird smell and color or comes together with itch and discomfort. White discharge with a slight smell is normal and doesn’t need any treatment or attempts to conceal it. It’s just how your body functions to be clean and healthy.
Don’t Go Inside
You should NEVER wash your vagina. Sounds like a shock to you? It’s external sex organs that should be washed (vulva), not the insides (vagina). Inside the vagina, there is a whole world of bacteria that maintain proper pH. You shouldn’t intrude into it because it may cause a change in pH balance and trigger an infection.
Plants Aren’t Friends
Herbal extracts promise to help keep yourself cleaner, healthier and smell better. But plants are allergenic. They can irritate the sensitive skin of sex organs. If you have any disturbing symptoms, have a pelvic exam instead of attempts to treat yourself at home.
Contact of any deodorant with tender skin of your intimate organs is a risk of allergy and irritation. A healthy vagina has a smell, but it isn’t unpleasant. If it is, you should be concerned. The bad smell appears only in case of infection. Deodorant won’t help with that, you will need to visit your gyno.
To keep yourself clean, all you need to do is wash your vulva one or more times a day. You can use some hygiene products with neutral pH but plain water will also do. It’s necessary to always wear clean underwear made of natural materials that let your skin breathe.