Find out all you need to know about the safety of personal lubricant
You probably scrutinize the labels of the food you eat, study up on the substances in your home cleaning products and even double-check the ingredients of the makeup you wear. You want to make sure that everything you put on or in your body is completely safe. Personal lubricants are no exception, nor should they be. The good news is, a lubricant is not only safe, but it may also make intimacy more pleasurable – preventing the unwanted kind of friction that gets in the way of you and your partner’s relationship.
Lubricants fight friction by providing a protective layer of moisture. If you lack moisture – it’s completely normal and most women do, sooner or later – lubricants are there to help ease you into physical and emotional intimacy. Too much friction can also lead to vaginal infections, and if you're using condoms, increases the chance of breakage. Therefore, less friction means better overall sexual health as well as a more pleasurable and passionate experience.
Most over-the-counter commercial lubricants are water-based, which means the primary ingredient is water and you can wash them away without soap or other detergents. However, they lubricate better than water alone because they include gels and other compounds that slow down drying.
Allergies and irritants
Although personal lubricants are safe, some individuals may still experience an adverse skin reaction to certain products. If you experience itching or burning after application, stop applying and rinse yourself thoroughly with plain water. If the reaction doesn't subside once you stop using it, you should talk to your doctor.
Glycerin and yeast
If you're prone to yeast infections, there's one ingredient that's typically found in many water-based personal lubricants that you'll want to avoid. Glycerin is the ingredient that provides some of the lubrication that couples enjoy, but since it’s a sugar, the yeast fungus may be able to break it down. Not to worry though because some glycerin-free lubrication products are now available, too, such as K-Y® UltraGel®.
- Obstetrics and Gynecology: Intravaginal Practices and Risk of Bacterial Vaginosis and Candidiasis Infection Among a Cohort of Women in the United States
- The Naked Truth: Condom Do’s and Don’ts
- UC San Diego Student Health Services: Lubricant
- AARP Health Talk: Vaginal Products – Which Ones Could Cause Infection?
About the Author
Lori A. Selke has been a professional writer and editor for more than 15 years, touching on topics ranging from LGBT issues to sexuality and sexual health, parenting, alternative health, popular music, film and video, food and cooking. Her work has appeared in "Curve Magazine," "Girlfriends," "Libido," "The Children's Advocate," Decider.com, "The SF Weekly," SexIs.com, EthicalFoods.com and GoMag.com. She is also the co-editor of the fifth edition of the landmark sexuality resource guide "The Black Book."