Vulva Matters

Here’s what you need to know about yours.

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Mention caring for the vulva before, and many would have immediately thought of hair removal. Brazilian waxing, shaving or laser hair removal – anything to get rid of the fuzzies.

Of course, personal grooming encompasses so much more now. Take the unforgettable forget Two L(i)ps Blackout Activated Charcoal Mask that launched last year. It was such a success that Two L(i)ps soon followed up with a peptide cream, a vitamin C serum and a hyaluronic acid serum just for the vulva, too.

And it is not alone; the popularity of intimate skincare brands continues to grow. Even Emma Watson is a fan of the multipurpose Fur Oil from Fur that helps condition and heal skin as well as soften pubic hair.

While some of us agree that the idea of kicking back for 15 minutes as our vulva reaps the benefi ts of a mask does tend to elevate our selfcare routine, here are five facts to ponder.

Your vulva is located outside your vagina

We use the term “vagina” loosely, but it actually refers to the internal organ. The vulva is the external opening of the vagina and includes the labia and clitoris. Most feminine grooming products are formulated for use on this outer area only.

It is usually healthy and pretty low-maintenance

Like the vagina, there’s a delicate balance of good bacteria or microbiome that reside on the vulva to regulate its pH and prevent potential infections. In fact, if you consult your gynae, chances are you’ll be told that all you need to do to keep it clean is to just wash it with water. It is super sensitive and the skin is thinner here than elsewhere on our body, so anything harsh throws o  its natural balance. However, if you must use a feminine wash, choose one that respects your vulva’s delicate pH balance, like Vagisil Prohydrate Plus Intimate Wash ($15.90 for 240ml, that’s also hypoallergenic and gentle enough for everyday use.

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Itneeds to be kept clean and dry

Unlike the skin on your face or body, the vulva rarely (if ever) sees the light of day, so no worries about UV rays and pollution. Instead, since most of us don’t go commando, it endures heat and dampness because of underwear. As moisture enables yeast to thrive, you need to keep the area clean and dry. Use panty liners and change to clean and dry undies after a workout.

It does not respond well to chafing

While it isn’t exposed to the elements, the vulva undergoes constant chafing over the course of the day. And this worsens when you wear thongs frequently. To minimise any discomfort and pain that can arise from chafing, stick to comfortable undies made of non-bleached cotton as much as possible.

It reacts to ingrown hairs

Ingrown hairs can be frustrating, but when they’re right next to your vulva or even on it, stop shaving, tweezing or waxing until things clear up. Any bumps, irritation, pain, and other symptoms should be gone before you carry on with hair removal. In general, this could take anywhere from one to six months. In the meantime, don’t scratch or pick at the area as this could lead to more irritation and possibly a bacterial infection. Instead, apply a gentle anti-inflammatory product like Fur Fur Oil (US$46 or S$62 for 75ml, Made with jojoba and grape seed oils, it hydrates the area as clary sage and tea tree oils, known for their astringent and antibacteriale ects soothe the skin, and speed up the healing process.