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The Best Lubes, Ingredients to Avoid

by Courtney Virden

Women's lubricants and ingredients to avoid.

Our skin is our largest organ, and any products we use on our body also get absorbed into it. This includes the products you use on your skin, so I recommend using non-toxic women’s lubricants whenever possible. For most women, the vaginal area and vaginal tissues are sensitive. To keep tissues lubricated and reduce tissue irritation with intercourse, anal sex, or solo play, many women need lubricants. Natural lubricants won’t destroy your vaginal health or break latex condoms, so opt for the best lubes out there.


Why Use Lube?

Many women that experience painful intercourse (often from pelvic floor dysfunction) or have vaginal atrophy (thinning and drying of the vaginal walls) use lubricants. Painful penetration can be from vaginismus, and you would want to relax and lengthen the pelvic floor for “vaginismus exercises”. Some also use lubricants for solo play or with a partner for less friction. Throughout our lives, many of us need the help of a vaginal lubricant or vaginal moisturizer to remedy vaginal dryness and alleviate symptoms of vaginal dryness. Hormone fluctuations from pregnancy, breastfeeding, and types of cancer treatments can all leave you dry searching for the best lubes.

Women’s lubricants are widely used and aid so many in having more enjoyable sex and decreasing the chance of injury for some. In addition to lubricants, pelvic floor exercises help improve vaginal secretions and blood flow for many women, providing relief. If you have vaginal burning after sex it could be from dryness or an STI or too much friction. For women, estrogen levels are often the culprit for vaginal dryness. Hormone levels might be off, causing dryness and causing you to need some help. Those looking for a vaginal dryness natural remedy can do pelvic floor therapy programs and use a natural lubricant to address the issues.


Women’s Lubricant Ingredients to Avoid

You might be wondering what ingredients to avoid in lubricants. Here is a list of ingredients to avoid in lubes and why.

  1. Petroleum or petroleum-based ingredients: These often stay put longer than other lubes by coating your skin, which can lead to infections. They also damage condoms, and two widely known examples are baby oil and petroleum jelly.
  2. Parabens: This synthetic preservative is thought to act as an endocrine disruptor and can mimic the effects of estrogen. Therefore this can interfere with your natural hormones and potentially increase breast cancer risk.
  3. Glycerin: Glycerin is widely used in personal lubricants, and for some women, it can lead to candida (yeast infections) and urinary tract infections (UTIs), so if you are prone to those, you will want to steer clear. If you aren’t, then this ingredient should be acceptable.
  4. Benzocaine: It is a numbing agent and is used in some lubricants. Women who find intercourse painful are more drawn to it. However, with fewer sensations, your body may not recognize signs to stop, leading to tissue microtears and significant problems. It can also cause allergic contact dermatitis (skin irritation).
  5. Propylene glycol: This ingredient is also in some brands of antifreeze and often causes tissue irritation. So, this is not an ingredient in the best lubes.
  6. Chlorhexidine gluconate: This antibacterial agent can alter bacteria levels in our vagina and throw it off balance, leading to infections. Tissue irritation and inflammation are often a result of using this ingredient.
  7. Nonoxynol-9: This spermicide will kill the good bacteria in your vagina and thus lead to bacterial vaginosis (BV) for some.


Your Toxic Load

Use this list to help you buy personal lubricants and also for beauty products and your daily essentials. Our health is significantly impacted by what we put in and on our bodies. Look at purchasing clean products as an investment in your current and future health. I would rather invest my time and money in my health than not paying attention and doing more sick care than health care.


Different Types of Lubricants:

To help make sex more pleasurable, increase duration, and reduce tissue irritation, choosing a clean lubricant is important. Here are 7 clean lubes to try:


Vaginal Dryness and Personal Lubricants

There are water-based lubricants, oil-based lubricants (such as coconut oil), and silicone-based lubricants. Coconu, Lola, and Lube Life water-based personal lubricants are three of my favorites. When you use a condom, choose silicone or water-based lube because oil-based lubes are not great for a condom and can possibly break it. So, if you use condoms, make sure yours is condom safe.

Aloe-based lubes and cbd lube are also popular choices. For women with a tight pelvic floor, cbd lube can help relax the pelvic floor muscles, and sexual intercourse feels good when your muscles are relaxed. Some women can get yeast infections from lubes containing glycerin and lubes containing flavors. If you are prone to yeast infections, I would avoid those ingredients. Flavors in lubes often give women yeast infections who are not prone to them.

Vaginal dryness is a complex topic for many women and nothing to be embarrassed about, though many women are. If you have vaginal dryness or need a lubricant, now is the time to address it. Using treatments that are natural and safe is important for many women, especially postpartum women and women trying to conceive. To increase your chances of getting pregnant if you are TTC, you might want to avoid lubes, even water-soluble lubricants. Studies show sperm don’t swim and reach an egg to fertilize, as well when you are using lubricants. So, make sure to choose the best lubes for your situation and body.


Addressing Vaginal Dryness

If you suspect your vaginal dryness is from medication, consult your health care practitioner. Also, many medications have alternatives that will not have that side effect. Women with chronic dryness and symptoms can speak with their doctor about other treatment options, including hormone therapy and vaginal estrogen. Dehydration also affects our vagina, so make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

In addition, our pelvic floor exercise program and regular sexual stimulation can also help increase blood flow and natural secretions to the vagina, improving sexual pleasure. There are many solutions available that are natural to improve the lubrication of the vaginal walls and for less friction during sexual activities. Start with clean women’s lube to reduce tissue irritation and pelvic floor exercises for optimal blood flow.

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