I'm a vagina expert and here's why you should never use festive body wash

SUPERMARKET shelves are already full of festive cheer, with the aisles smelling like gingerbread and Christmas pudding.

As tempting as it might be to pick up a Rudolf shower gel or a Santa soap, one expert has said you should stay away from festive body washes.

Smells such as cinnamon, vanilla and peppermint conjure up wonderful images of Christmas time.

When it comes to intimate health, it's best to store those smells in the kitchen and keep it simple when it comes to your vagina.

Intimate health expert Stephanie Taylor of pelvic healthcare company Kegel8, said there are a whole host of ingredients that go into making up your body products, including some unnecessary fragrances and preservatives that can throw off your vagina’s natural pH balance and do more harm than good.

She explained that these products might disturb the natural balance of the bacteria in your vagina.

Stephanie said: "Your vagina has lots of bacteria, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

"Bacteria called lactobacilli ensure that your vagina’s pH balance stays at a normal low level (usually less than pH 4.5), which prevents the growth of other organisms.

"If the balance of bacteria is disturbed, this can lead to infection and inflammation.  A dramatic change in your vagina’s pH level can result in infections such as bacterial vaginosis or thrush."

No one wants to come down with festive thrush and Stephanie said that those delicious smells that you associate with Christmas could actually irritate your vagina.

She said that using heavily perfumed soaps to clean sensitive areas such as the labia and vulva can cause skin irritation such as contact dermatitis which causes the skin to become itchy, red or even inflamed due to an irritation of the sensitive vaginal mucosa (the mucus membrane inside the vagina).

Stephanie explained: "Contact dermatitis is most commonly caused by irritants such as soaps and detergents.

"There are also a number of natural fragrances, such as essential oils, which can be irritating to the skin. While some of these scents evoke warm feelings of the festive period your lady parts won’t thank you for it.

"Christmas-y scents like cinnamon can cause hypersensitivity and lead to side effects like skin irritation and burning.

"Peppermint oil, which is also a popular scent in festive body washes, can cause skin rashes and irritation."

Once irritated, even simple things such as friction of your clothing, urine and sweat can exacerbate the issue, so it’s best to steer clear, Stephanie added.

Go natural

The vagina is self cleaning and you don't need any fancy washes or sprays to keep it in good hygiene.

Your vagina can be cleaned with just water or unscented soap and you should dry it with a clean towel.

Odour is natural and can be impacted by what part of your cycle you are in different for everyone.

But if you have discharge that has changed in colour, smell or consistency and you're using scented products to help disguise the smell then you should see a GP, Stephanie says.

Stephanie added: "While plain, unperfumed soap may not seem like the most luxurious option, this is the best product to use to clean your vagina.

"If you do decide to use a feminine hygiene wash, look for a product that is scent-free, dermatologically/gynecologically tested and hypoallergenic.

"Make sure to look out for a wash that is pH balanced and won’t throw off your vaginal flora or cause dryness."

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