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.