It's true. Bubble baths, bath bombs, and other bath additions can irritate your vagina and/or vulva. "The vulva is about the most sensitive tissue in the body, and is potentially sensitive to any potential allergen—a new scent, or a chemical that is irritating to them," says Dr. Minkin. "And it's hard to know about all the ingredients in these products. So what I would certainly say to someone who is experiencing these symptoms, and has used a new product in contact with the vulva/vagina, [is to] stop using it and check in with her gynecologist, who may suggest something like a topical steroid."
It's this very issue that Gunvor Ekman Ordeberg, MD, saw in her own patients that pushed her to become a co-founder of DeoDoc Intimate Skincare, which features a gentle bubble bath ($35) that is suitable for vulvas. "It’s at pH 5, which is the pH of the vulva, and contains no irritants like essential oils, allergens, or regular perfumes," says Dr. Ordeberg. The scent itself is hypoallergenic, which means it’s has been processed to remove all alcohol and allergens, "thus making it vulvar safe," Dr. Ordeberg adds. The formula also contains moisturizing vitamin E oil, olive oil, and shea butter to nourish the skin. (As someone who has tried this product, I not only recommend as it makes great, fluffy bubbles, but it also smells very, very good.)
As both doctors note, the important thing to pay attention to overall is the pH that you're working with. As Dr. Ordeberg explained, your vulva has a pH of about 5 (the same as the DeoDoc Gentle Bubble Bath), and Dr. Minkin says your vagina is happiest around a pH level of 3.5–4.5, so non-irritating ingredients are key if you seem to be having issues."This also go for new soaps—a non-dyed, non-scented, hypoallergenic soap is probably best, and the less soap to the vulva, the better,” says Dr. Minkin. “If your pH balance does get thrown off and you need some extra help getting it back to normal, use a vaginal gel like RepHresh that helps maintain a healthy pH and relieves discomfort."
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