There are many things that lots of women do “down there” on a daily basis that could actually be making them more susceptible to problems. Even products that are marketed to be used in and around the vaginal area can sometimes do more harm than good. To combat the problematic advertising, we’ve compiled a series of common practices that are actually harmful to your vagina—even if claimed to be helpful.
Read our list of things you should never do to your vagina.
The vagina can take care of itself. Anything you think you can do to help it function better is probably at best, doing nothing, and at worst, causing harm. The area is naturally pH-balanced due to the bacteria present in it. But when you try “to clean up there,” you actually inhibit the vagina from protecting itself. So embrace the natural scent—it’s normal!
Gwyneth Paltrow and Chrissy Teigen swear by it, so it must be a good idea, right? WRONG. Squatting over herbs and hot steam to clean your vagina is more harmful than you might realize. Experts find the practice problematic because it could actually cause complications and irritation. That’s because the recommended herbs to add to the steam are often allergens, the hot air can burn you down there, and steaming can dry and disrupt the natural bacteria. It might be trendy right now, but vaginal steaming definitely isn’t healthy.
Wearing daily pantyliners
Pantyliners were created to absorb vaginal discharge at the beginning and the end of menstruation. Like so much else, there’s no harm using pantyliners in moderation. But using the sanitary product every day makes the area hot and humid—the ideal conditions for cultivating bacteria. This can cause a slew of vaginal infections and increase the amount of vaginal discharge.
Wiping yourself incorrectly
It is essential that you dry yourself properly after a trip to the bathroom. Yes, essential. Wiping incorrectly is the most common cause of vaginal infections. All the holes down there are pretty close to one another, which means bacteria can get transported quite easily from one to another. In case you don’t already know, the correct way to clean yourself after using the bathroom is to start from the vagina and move toward the anus—front to back!
Using scented or flavored anything
I’ll say it again: Your vagina can clean itself, so the best way to maintain good female intimate hygiene is to just let it be. The moment you add scents or flavors to your natural pH balance, you risk infection, general discomfort and more pungent smell. So skip the scented tampons and tasty lubricant; you don’t need them.