The Benefits of Water vs Oil-Based Intimate Moisturizers

Posted On Monday, 22 September 2014
The Benefits of Water vs Oil-Based Intimate Moisturizers

When picking out an intimate moisturizer, people commonly overlook the importance of "water-based" versus "oil-based" formulas.

Water-based moisturizers are designed to more closely resemble your body's natural lubrication. They're usually well tolerated even by sensitive skin and don't stain your undergarments.

However some women choose oil-based moisturizers because they feel silky to them. While some of these moisturizers may feel good to use, there are concerns and risks to consider when using oil-based moisturizers on your vaginal area:

  • They create a film on the vaginal skin and are difficult to wash off.
  • Most experts advise not washing your intimate parts with soap or cleansers, opting for warm water instead.
  • Because they create a film and are hard to wash, they can promote the growth of yeast and other infections.
  • They create a barrier that doesn't allow the skin to breathe as easily, and in some cases can clog pores or cause adverse reactions in some women.
  • They can stain underwear, so wearing a panty liner is advised.
  • The use of oils can disrupt the natural vaginal environment and in some cases discourage the body from producing its own moisture.
  • They can interfere with the use of condoms, and can cause latex to break down.

Oils like Coconut Oil have a long history of use as a natural remedy for vaginal dryness and menopausal symptoms. Some sources even suggest using Olive Oil and Flaxseed Oil as a moisturizer. While these may provide relief from dryness, you will still find yourself faced with the challenges mentioned above for oil based moisturizers.

Some of the benefits of choosing a water-based moisturizer include:

  • They rinse off easily even when cleaning with just warm water.
  • Your vaginal skin is able to breathe and aerate easily.
  • They support the production of your body's natural lubrication and mimic it.
  • These frequently feel more natural.
  • Are generally well tolerated even by more sensitive skin types.
  • Won't promote the growth of yeast or other infections (this is formulation dependent.)
  • Don't interfere with latex condom use.

Although some people like the silky feel of oil-based moisturizers, high quality water-based formulations can provide a similar sensation without the risks.

Water based moisturizers are in general safer, more hygienic, and the ideal choice for relieving intimate dryness.

Valerie A.King, MD

Trained in family medicine, as well as specialty training in complementary and alternative medicine, Dr. King has always had a particular interest and focus on women's health and is an expert in natural therapies and ingredients. Dr. King currently is the Chief Medical Officer for PrevaLeaf, a company which offers intimate feminine products for women. She received her BS in Psychology/English from Tulane University and an MD from the UTMB.

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