Come on, you know you’ve wondered. Is my vulva naturally different from other vulvas? How important is sex-prep and after-care? How can I keep my vulva healthy and strong overall?
It’s something we have pondered. And apparently, we are not alone in this. To first understand about this very important part of the female body, we will need to first clarify other common terms for the vulva. Vagina, genitalia and pussy have emerged as the “terms of choice” for a woman’s vulva which includes all of the external organs, including the mons pubis (pubic mound), the labia majora and minora, the all-important clitoris, and the opening of the urethra (the pee hole).
While it is common to use these terms instead of vulva, technically speaking, when you say vagina, genitalia or pussy, you are probably talking about the vulva. That’s why we will be working with the term “vulva” in this blog so as not to confuse anyone. Ironically, the vulva actually stays quite carefree and clean on its own with minimal care. But this does not mean women rarely complain about vulvar irritations they experience, which may include stinging, burning, itching, or rawness. If you regularly experience these – fret not – here are 5 tips you should know about vulva care:
#1 – Skincare or Mask
The skin around our vulva can be complicated with common skin conditions, such as dryness or vaginal itching caused by unbalanced pH. Just like different body parts has different pH, you need to work toward a healthy pH balance for your vulva too. The vulva has a pH level ranging between 3.5 and 4.5, hence it is important to avoid using harsh cleansers that can upset the balance. Using unscented, mild feminine wash or soap can help keep your vulva clean and moist. In most cases, wash your vulva when needed because frequent washing or cleansing will only wash away the natural protective barrier of the skin.
After washing and drying the vulva area, use a vulva mask to soothe, detoxify, brighten and moisturise the vulva. Consider getting vulva masks that are made only with organic ingredients without sulphates and parabens. The combination of both the mild feminine wash and the vulva mask should be adopted as part of a perfect lifestyle habit for your vulva.
#2 – Take a Peek!
Can your vulva be affected by common skin issues? Or maybe inflammation in the vulvar region? The only way to find out is really by taking a mirror and having a peek. Checking the outer lips of the vulva regularly can help detect common benign skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis, if there is. In most cases, you should avoid sex altogether if you feel that your vulva is irritated. This is because rubbing and friction on your vulva might make your irritation worse than it already is!
Some women get better after washing with hot water (comfortably hot but not scalding) and an unscented soap. This helps your vulva stay clean and infection-free. Additionally, it’s worth noting that wearing 100% cotton underwear, or not wearing any underwear at all, does wonders in alleviating vulvar irritation.
#3 – Grooming
Generally, women shave their pubic hair for sanitary rather than aesthetic reasons. But whether you keep it all, shape it to your liking, or go buff, it’s completely up to you. Now, it doesn’t really hurt to trim your pubic hair if you’re just using a pair of beard trimming scissors that have sort of a little curve up at the end. These kinds of scissors prevent you from accidentally nicking yourself but they don’t get you the closest shave possible. If you like being completely bare, either opt for a battery-operated razor or a typical disposable razor to get you totally clean down there. Do remember to keep a separate grooming kit for your vulva and clean your tools every time you use them. Ideally, before each use, soak your tools in a disinfectant for at least 10 minutes, or clean them thoroughly with rubbing alcohol. Also make sure your scissors or razors have sharp blades to prevent nicking yourself.
#4 – Sex-Prep and After-Care
Of all the great things in life, sex can be one of the most rewarding. And we surely agree with it! If you have a preoccupation with sex, a little good news is, your vulva can be strengthened in the process because sex is known to make your vulva toned and elastic. One little tip before intercourse is using portable wipes. These are great if you are going to have some sexy times on the go, or if you are going to visit your special someone and want to make sure that your vulvar region is clean. Start by wiping from front to back, rather than the reverse, to keep fecal matter from entering your vulva and causing an infection. All in all, these wipes can really help you get through all of those sexy episodes in case you do not have access to a shower.
Another point we want to mention here is the after-sex care. A lot of us may have been taught early on to just sleep till the next day after a good sex. This is definitely not the best advice as not cleaning up after sex can actually open yourself up to bacteria and other microscopic substances that can end up irritating your vulva and causing an infection. So it is really important to wash it, or at the very least, pee after sex, if again, you do not have access to a shower.
#5 – Healthy Diet
In addition to keeping that whole vulvar area clean, eating foods that boost your vulvar health (e.g., yogurt, fruit, garlic) can keep your vulva healthy and strong overall for a long time. If the smell of the liquids secreted by the vulva is something you are concerned about, you may opt to eat fruits like cranberries, pineapples, strawberries, etc. to help your vulva develop a more pleasant scent.