Deep Dive on Ingredients That Should Not Be In Your Lube
When you’re slathering on your daily skincare routine, odds are you’re paying close attention to the ingredients on each and every product. But honestly? The same thing should go for your skincare down there, too. Yup, you should be wary of ingredients even in your lube, experts say. And here’s exactly why.
You use lube on your highly-absorbent genitals after all, which means that whatever you rub downstairs is going to interact with your other bodily fluids, and not all ingredients interact well with your genital environment. Here’s why…
“Everybody has a different body and everybody may have different sensitivities or allergies,” explains sex therapist Dr. Janet Brito, PhD, founder of the Hawaii Center for Sexual and Relationship Health. So make sure you’re all up-to-date on your allergies (AKA, call your mom, hah) prior to testing out a new lube. Then, before you put anything on your genitals, “read the ingredients on your lube to make sure that you're not putting something in your body that you’re allergic to,” Brito says. Got that down?
That said, even if you don’t experience any allergies at all, there are some ingredients that are worse than others when it comes to lube formulas. The following are some ingredients that should not be in your lube and more, according to sex experts.
First up, it’s glycerin—AKA sugar—an ingredient that you should avoid having in your lube if you can help it. Why? For starters, “it’s a sugar alcohol and that can cause yeast overgrowth,” Brito says. You want to avoid yeast overgrowth because it can unbalance your vagina’s pH, causing odorous and itchy yeast infections. No thanks!
A quick FYI, odds are you’d find glycerin in lubes that contain flavor. (Since, yah know, they’re edible.) And while it’s not guaranteed that you’d get a yeast infection by using a lube with glycerin, you might want to avoid it if you’re already prone to them in the first place.
Believe it or not, there is petroleum in a lot of your average beauty products—and it’s certainly not good for you or the planet. When it comes to lube, though, you’ll often find it in water-based formulas that don’t use clean ingredients, so keep an eye out.
“Usually, petroleum lubes are feeding grounds for bacteria,” Brito says. Among other things, petroleum is linked to bacterial vaginosis (read: itchiness, abnormal discharge, and odor) as well as other allergic reactions.
“This ingredient has a high osmolality, which can mess with the cell membrane and cause epithelial damage,” Brito says, which basically means that it can cause issues with your protective layers of skin. (A symptom you’ll definitely want to avoid in a sensitive AF area like your genitals.)
Another ingredient that’s uber-popular in beauty products that you should steer clear of in general, but most definitely with lubes: parabens. Most of the time, parabens are used in products as a preservative, Brito says, meaning they’re there so the formula won’t expire or “go bad” if it sits on your side table longer than expected.
But while it’s great for stopping the growth of harmful bacterias or mold in your products, it’s not as good at making sure your skin stays healthy and safe. In fact, the presence of parabens in products like lube can disrupt your hormones and cause painful skin irritation. Better to steer clear, no?
Tell Me: What Lube Is Safe During Pregnancy? (If Any…!)
Yep, you should still pay attention to the lube you're using during pregnancy. Besides staying away from all the aforementioned ingredients, you’ll also want to be wary of big brand lubes from mega retailers that might not test their ingredients as thoroughly, Brito says. All in all, make sure you’re using organic and dermatologist-tested lubricants, Brito says, such as ones from brands like Good Clean Love. (Or the Beia Body & Intimacy Serum, of course.)
That said, you should note that the cervix is a closed off space and odds are, nothing is going to get through its barrier, even when you’re pregnant. But to be as safe as possible, you’re going to want to make sure the products you’re using are totally organic, just in case.
Which Lube Ingredients Are Good For Balancing Your pH?
Technically, a lube won’t “balance your pH” (it’s already balanced, naturally!) but there are options that are best when it comes to making sure that your genitals stay at a pH that’s safe for you. “The vaginal environment is different for everyone depending on their hormones and bacterial makeup,” Brito says.
That said, body-safe ingredients like coconut oil, green tea, and aloe vera are all fine to use if you’re worried about messing up your pH. That said, when it comes to pH, you’ll want to avoid irritating additives like fragrance, flavors, and the ingredients mentioned above: petroleum, parabens, and glycerin. You got this down?
All In All, Click ‘Add To Cart’ On A Body-Safe Formula
When in doubt about the ingredients in your old lube, try giving Beia’s Body & Intimacy Serum a shot instead. Formulated for all-purpose pleasure that you can use anywhere on your body, it’s a first-of-its-kind sexual wellness product that also acts as skincare, too. Trust: this product will sit pretty on your nightstand while also keeping your vagina healthy, happy, and lubricated, too.