This Guide Will Help You Get a Safe Lubricant
If you use personal lubricant for either sex or for something casual like setting your menstrual cup , you’re probably not wondering if it could be harmful to your health. But some lubricants on the market are best left untouched – and not because, as Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP suggested , not because they are “toxic.”
“As long as you are not using KY Jelly, other polyquaternium products, or warming liquid, and you have no problems and are happy with your product, you probably don’t need to switch,” gynecologistDr. writes. Jen Gunther .
Polyquaternium can increase HIV replication , potentially increasing the risk of infection in a high-risk partner. KY Jelly contains an antimicrobial chemical that kills beneficial bacteria living in the vagina. And “warming” lubricants usually have a high osmolality.
Osmolality describes how concentrated the ingredients of a water-based lubricant are. (This is the basic idea, but there is a more detailed explanation at the link at the bottom of this post.) A high osmolality lubricant can irritate body tissues, dehydrating them, and unfortunately many popular lubricants have high osmolality. This is why Dr. Gunther says you should consider whether you are happy with your current product. If it doesn’t bother you, feel free to use it. But if you’re buying a new lubricant, check out Bad Vibes’ Osmolality and pH Charts. Ideally, the lubricant should have an osmolality below 380milliosmoles per kilogram.
Another important consideration when using water-based lubricants is pH , which measures how acidic or alkaline something is. The natural pH of the vagina is 3.5 to 7, and the rectal pH is around 6. If the pH of the lubricant is very different from that of your body, you may feel a burning or tingling sensation when using. Again, this is not a reason to ditch the lubricant you are using if you feel good, but take a look at the chart if you are buying a new product.
Gwyneth’s last piece of advice that you should ignore is the idea that “if it is safe, it is generally safe to use.” This is definitely not true. For example, sugar should not be allowed to enter the vagina because it can trigger infections. (Sometimes it contains flavored lubricants. Stay away.) Other products may have the same pH and osmolality problems as commercial lubricants. Dr. Gunther says some of her patients use coconut oil as a lubricant, and it’s probably safe. However, oils should never be used with latex condoms, and silicone lubricants should be kept away from silicone toys or menstrual cups. If that seems too much to track, check out the link below where the folks at Bad Vibes explain how to buy lubricant safely.
Guide to the Smitten Kitten Shopping in Lube | Badvibes