Why personal lubricant is good for you, but some ingredients aren't

We know that lube can often be skipped during intercourse. For me, it was a product that for a while I never owned–usually it was in the possession of the male partner I was having sexual relations with and located at the bottom of his sock draw in a glow-in-the-dark plastic tube. The vagina has an incredible connection to your emotions. When the prospect of having sex is lingering, said vagina may “lube up” naturally on its own. It’s a convenient physical mechanism that happens as part of the female sexual response cycle making sex more pleasurable. 

However sometimes, due to MANY of factors, it may not work. See our article for a more in depth look into the hurdles some women may leap regarding natural lubrication. As I started to take an interest in what I was eating along with the ingredients that were in my skincare it dawned on me...what the fuck am I putting up my vagina? 

Viewing the ingredients label on multiple lubricants at your local supermarket, you see a bunch of words which seem impossible to pronounce, let alone have an understanding of what each ingredient actually is, and if it's good for your body. So hopefully this will help you figure out what’s okay and what to put away from your pussay.

So as a general introduction, there are 3 different types of lubricant; oil, water and silicone-based. All of which contain different properties and ingredients, depending on the type of lube. 

Glycerin is a humectant (meaning it helps to retain moisture). This is the most popular contender in the ‘no-nos’. In particular, glycerin may contribute to an overgrowth of yeast, which can then cause yeast infections. This doesn’t mean everyone is going to get a yeast infection using a glycerin-containing lubricant, but if you’re already prone to them, glycerin may be an ingredient to stay away from.

Petroleum or petroleum-based ingredients
These ingredients don’t typically show up in lubricants, but this is just a general warning to NEVER use Vaseline or baby oil as lube. These oily options do overstay their welcome in your vagina as they are so sticky and won’t clean out as fast. This can then (and will) alter the pH in your vagina that then can lead to a higher chance of infections, like bacterial vaginosis. 

Propylene glycol 
This ingredient can cause some vaginal irritation if you happen to be sensitive to it. Propylene glycol has many functions, including acting as a humectant, preservative, and more. There’s also a lot of alarm surrounding propylene glycol as it’s sometimes used as a base for engine coolant. The FDA regards it as “generally recognized as safe” in food. as long as you’re not chugging multiple bottles of lube per day, you shouldn’t freak out that using a normal amount of propylene glycol-containing lube during sex will harm your health.\

There is also a ton of debate surrounding parabens (or a group of chemicals used as preservatives). One worry is that parabens may be endocrine disruptors and act in an estrogen-like fashion, potentially messing with people’s hormones or even increasing the chances of getting breast cancer. However the jury is still out on this one as the FDA says: “at this time, we do not have information showing that parabens as they are used in cosmetics have an effect on human health”... the organization added that the investigation is ongoing.  

All in all, this is a reflection on our do’s or don'ts when it comes to personal lubrication. Here at FIGR we’ve created a lubricant that is an extension of oneself, feeling like complete natural lubrication from one’s body - free from all of the above. 

FIGR does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.

Image credit: Cecilia Poupon

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