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Why You Should Avoid Using Femwashes, And What to Use Instead

Your vagina has very sensitive skin, which makes it very easy to irritate if you are putting the wrong products down there.

Your vaginal health is extremely important. Many believe that using scented soaps and perfumes to clean your vagina is normal when it can actually have some harsh reactions that you do not want. It's extremely important to keep it clean, but make sure you're doing it right!

Using soap and douches on your vagina is something you should stop immediately. Believe it or not, vaginas clean themselves and therefore don't need anything more than water.

Vaginas have their own pH level and it's supposed to be no less than 4.5. Using antibacterial and scented soap kills off the important bacteria that is supposed to be there controlling the acidity. Changing the normal pH of your vagina with soaps can lead to vaginal dryness and discomfort (and possibly odour) due to yeast and bacterial vaginosis overgrow. Not only this, but it can also make your vagina more susceptible to infection. 

Douching is the practice of essentially squirting cleansers up there to clean the inside of the vagina. This can upset the natural bacteria balance in the vagina and make it more susceptible to infections (including STIs). What it can also do is increase your risk of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and Cervical Cancer. It can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease as it can push STI's up into your fallopian tubes, therefore causing PID which can then cause infertility.

And on the note of douching; 1. Don't do it at all, but 2. Please for the love of our "self-cleaning ovens" do NOT be tempted to use a homemade solution. I love a good DIY but not with my vagina thank you very much.

Other things to avoid are perfumes and powder; everyone wants their vaginas to smell lovely, but the truth is it's not supposed to. Using powders can create an increased risk of ovarian cancer, so avoid at all costs.

Finally, do not listen to Gwenyth Paltrow when she tells you to steam your vagina with herbs. That's a no go.

ONLY EVER CLEAN THE OUTSIDE OF YOUR VAGINA. Sorry for shouting, but it's extremely important.

Using warm water to clean the exterior is sufficient.

If you do want to use soap, triple-check that it is unscented and ONLY use it on the outside. Anything you use on the Vulva (the exterior of the vagina) can easily enter the vagina therefore it's so important to check the ingredients of the product. Make sure it's dermatologist-tested, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free.

There are many "Intimate washes" that are specifically designed for vaginas and do not contain any harsh chemicals. They are also natural, pH balanced and work just as well to freshen while maintaining our vaginas' natural way of protecting itself. Some of these brands include FemFresh and WooWoo.

According to Healthline, Dove Sensitive Skin Bath Bars are good to clean the vulva, using as little as you possibly can.

In terms of wipes, Healthline recommends Summer's Eve Cleansing Cloths, formulated specifically as to not disrupt the normal pH balance of the vagina. They are also free from dyes and parabens and are gynaecologist-tested. These should be used when changing pads or tampons, or after a workout.

Before purchasing any product to clean your vagina, please always ensure that they are fragrance-free, dermatologist and gynaecologist tested, and that there are no ingredients in it that you cannot pronounce.

One last tip, don't follow the trends set out by influencers when it comes to these products. That's marketing and they're getting paid. Don't feel shamed into buying any product, especially one that's related to your health.

My name is Emma, and I'm originally from the north west of Ireland! I'm a journalism student in DCU, and have loved reading and writing ever since I was young. I'm a big lover of music, and also do some modelling work on the side!
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