Feminine hygiene products have never been so cheeky.
Where marketers used to use euphemistic terms such as & # 39; for intimate parts & # 39; and & # 39; feminine wash & # 39; , now brands like Two L (i) ps, VMagic, The Perfect V and WooWoo (for women who care & # 39;) want to openly sell you everything from & # 39; soothing & # 39; rag masks and exfoliants, moisturizing & # 39; lipsticks & # 39 ;, scented mists, serums and even skin-relieving creams – all products designed to & # 39; enhance & enhance the appearance of the vagina & # 39 ;.
The latest offering is from Vagisil, which is to launch a range of Vents baths in fragrant scents, which they say are the first scented bath products specifically developed for women's genitalia.
In the meantime, entrepreneur Meg Mathews has included an intimate wash and moisturizer in her new menopause range.
Do you have? More than a quarter of British women in the last six months had & # 39; intimate & # 39; wipes or washes, according to a 2015 survey by Mintel, market research agency.
According to analyst Allied Market Research, the feminine hygiene market is expected to be worth £ 33.5 billion worldwide by 2022. The same report found that & # 39; internal cleaners & # 39; the fastest growing product category.
Such products do not necessarily make specific health claims, but they are vague that they are able to & # 39; calm down & # 39 ;, & # 39; refresh them & # 39; or & # 39; to keep intimate skin happy & # 39 ;. More than a quarter of British women in the last six months had & # 39; intimate & # 39; wipes or washes, according to a 2015 survey by Mintel, market research agency.
But Athena Lamnisos, chief executive of the gynecological cancer research charity The Eve Appeal, has recently issued a redside against the industry for selling & # 39; shame in a bottle & # 39; and perpetuates the lie that a woman's body needs refreshing or beautifying products to be considered normal.
More worrying for the consumer, she expressed concern that these products are at risk of masking symptoms such as itching, which could mean that women postpone sending medical advice if something is really medically wrong.
& # 39; It is great that we are more open and less embarrassed about the use of words like vagina and vulva & # 39 ;, says Dr. Anita Mitra, a gynecologist from NHS and research fellow in obstetrics and gynecology at Imperial College in London. & # 39; But because these products are there, women think they should use them – it causes paranoia.
& # 39; We don't need any of them. No doctor will recommend that you use them. I would never use one of these things myself. & # 39;
The problem is not only that you will waste your money – prices range from £ 2 to £ 10 for an & # 39; intimate wash & # 39; and £ 3 for a pack of 25 wipes, up to £ 43 for 50 ml & # 39; intensive beauty cream & # 39; – but you can also put your health at risk by accident.
& # 39; I think these products can potentially be quite harmful & # 39 ;, says Dr. Mitra.
Fact: According to analyst Allied Market Research, it is predicted that the feminine hygiene market will be worth £ 33.5 billion worldwide by 2022
First, cleaning in the vagina & # 39; increases your risk of infection and thrush, because it disrupts the microbiome (the balance of natural bacteria) & # 39 ;, she explains. & # 39; It is likely that the natural "good" bacteria that live there will wash away, while "bad" bacteria, which are more hardy and can therefore better attach to our cells, will flower and cause infections. & # 39;
Also do not use specific products on the outside. & # 39; You only need to use water & # 39 ;, says Dr. Mitra. & # 39; No special washes, soaps, or anything like that – I would even prevent getting your regular shower gel near the area. & # 39; In addition to washing away healthy bacteria that live there, she says, the skin is incredibly fragile and using soaps on it can make it dry and sensitive.
& # 39; If you start using products there, it will remove the good oils that your skin applies as a natural, protective barrier. This in turn makes the tissue more vulnerable and will increase irritation. & # 39;
For the same reason, you should not use exfoliating products that claim to smooth the bumps on the bikini line and prevent ingrown hairs, she says.
& # 39; Scratching the skin in this way increases the risk of infection – including the risk of entering the human papillomavirus (HPV). This is a virus that can cause cervical cancer, but it can also lead to vulvar and vaginal cancers. & # 39;
Women should be especially wary of using intimate washes around their periods. & # 39; Your vaginal microbiome changes throughout the month and when you have your period, the levels of useful Lactobacillus bacteria are usually slightly lower because it is affected by the decrease in estrogen, says Dr. Mitra.
& # 39; This means that during your period you are more vulnerable to infections such as thrush or bacterial vaginosis, so you don't want to clean anymore during this time of the month and the & # 39; deplete good & # 39; bacteria even further. & # 39;
One product that Dr. Tania Adib, a gynecologist at the Queen & # 39; s Hospital in Romford, believes it can be useful, although it is a simple external moisturizer.
& # 39; Many women find it useful to moisturize the vulva, especially as they age and the skin becomes dry, or after waxing or shaving & she says. & # 39; But you need a fairly neutral product that is free of parabens and preservatives, as these can be irritating to the area. & # 39;
Dr. Mitra, however, warns: & # 39; Chronic skin irritation often occurs after menopause due to fluctuating hormones, but it is also something that I see a lot in women with more serious problems who use self-medication with freely available products.
& # 39; This can be dangerous, because in addition to general skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, skin irritation on the vulva lichen can be sclerosus – a chronic inflammatory condition that also gives you a slightly higher risk of vulvar cancer.
& # 39; I saw a patient with a precancerous cancer last week who had avoided going to the doctor for two years because she had used moisturizing products to deal with it herself. I have seen it so many times and it is dangerous because cancer of the vulva and vagina is more common in postmenopausal women. & # 39;
The only product for which Dr. Mitra says it may have a legitimate medical need, is an internal moisturizer for dryness, which often occurs after menopause due to falling estrogen levels.
She adds: & # 39; There are a number of freely available moisturizers that we will recommend for this. But you still have to go to a doctor and get one to ensure that nothing else is wrong.
& # 39; That is my big problem with all these products. It imposes the responsibility for women to solve it all themselves, and perpetuates a myth that if you have a problem there, it is due to cleanliness or not to hydration. They change what must be seen as a health problem in a lifestyle issue. & # 39;
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