Honestly, figuring out how to properly take care of yourself without seeming irreparably damaging your pH balance is hard. It’s hard, and no one really ever gives you a quick how-to on it, mostly just wanting to avoid the awkward conversation despite it being more than necessary.
This, unfortunately, can lead to a lot of issues and misinformation, especially when it comes to what products to use.
The product that I, personally, see this happen with most frequently is Summers Eve, a “feminine cleansing wash” that is touted as the best option for personal hygiene. It’s at the top of most websites when it comes to recommendations, it’s a fairly common recommendation between people IRL, if only in a joking sense, and it seems like it’s constantly being advertised online as the be-all-end-all solution to feminine hygiene.
This is not exactly a good thing.
Summers Eve, as a product, preys on the self-conscious thoughts of anyone with a vagina. It touts itself as a product that can offer a thorough clean while also “disguising” the natural scent that should be there. Vaginas, unlike the rest of your skin and hair, really truly should not smell like tropical fruits or strong floral scents. Gels and shampoos with a fragrance should not be anywhere near there, considering how sensitive vaginal skin is.
Now, this isn’t to say that cleaning your vagina isn’t necessary because it is. But it’s mostly just reiterating the point that trying to use floral, fruit-scented products down there really is not going to benefit you overall. Summers Eve states that it’s hypoallergenic, safe and gentle, but that doesn’t mean anything in regards to specifics. Most products are hypoallergenic, and most face washes are safe and gentle, but no one in their right mind would use a face wash on their vagina.
From a gynecologist, Summers Eve products are more likely to “increase the risk of allergic reactions, yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and other dermatologic conditions.” due to the perfumes and fragrances that are used to give them their unnatural scent. Generally speaking, a product can be hypoallergenic but still contain things like fragrances and dyes. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.
Products can be labeled in deceptive ways, making you think that they’re good for you when they’re really not, and it’s important to remember this when it comes to any product relating to health. This applies to medications, hygiene products and even the foods we eat. (Does anyone truly even know what exactly organic means?)
Recently, Summers Eve removed ten harmful ingredients from their products. The fact that there were ten of them and that they were within the products as late as 2020 is cause enough to be wary about the contents of Summers Eve washes. The fact still remains, however, that while those ten harmful ingredients are gone, fragrances are still in their products, and can still cause harm to overall vaginal health. Even their fragrance-less products still contain fragrance, just more neutral and less overpowering than their blossom and berry gels.
People will recommend their products because they’re not pH disrupting. However, a product not being pH disrupting isn’t the only requirement in order to not cause harm to your vagina. It can have the same pH level as your vagina and still have chemicals, dyes and fragrances that shouldn’t be anywhere close to there.
No matter how gentle and delicate the smells may be, professionals recommend that you don’t use scented products on the vulva and vagina. Seriously, risking your overall vaginal health just for a tropical scent isn’t worth it.