Natural lubricants are better for those with sensitive skin. (Photo: Trunk Archive)
Have you ever stopped to think about what’s in your lubricant? The ingredients in lubricants can have a big impact on your body, but surprisingly most people don’t stop to think about what chemicals and preservatives are in their lubricant. A 2014 study in the journal Pharmaceutics looked into 12 commercially available lubricants in Europe and found that most “do not comply with pH and osmolality recommended standards, thus posing a potential risk.” Although the study didn’t investigate infections, the risk of certain vaginal infections (like bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis) can increase when pH balance is altered.
According to the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley many commercial lubricants “contain ingredients that could cause irritation or allergic reactions in some people.” The school highlights benzocaine (a topical anesthetic found in “numbing” lubricants like Climax Control) and menthol and capsaicin (which are common in “warming” lubricants) as ingredients often linked to irritation. And like many beauty and personal care products, lubricants can also contain fragrance and parabens that can irritate sensitive skin.
While lubricants have the benefits of making sex more pleasurable by decreasing friction and making condoms less slippery and less likely to break, it’s important to look at the ingredients and pay attention to how they react with your body. The good news is there are all natural alternatives out there. “Natural lubricants are more gentle and can even be soothing or healing,” says Adina Grigore, founder of natural skincare range S.W. Basics. “So many oils are great as lube, including coconut oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil, sesame oil, and avocado oil.” However, there is a big issue with natural oils, the don’t work with latex condoms. Planned Parenthood points out that oil-based lubes should never be used with a latex or non-latex condom as they can dissolve latex and cause the condom to break. If you’re going to use an oil-based lube (including mineral oil or baby oil), it should only be used without a condom or for self-love. Use a water and silicone-based lubricant with a condom.
If you’re looking for a natural lubricant that is oil-free, Grigore, who is a master of DIY beauty, gave us the recipe below. Here’s to a safe (and sexy) Valentine’s Day!
1 T water
1 T aloe gel or juice or the inside of a leaf
¼ tsp vegetable glycerin
Stir ingredients together in a small bowl, and test with your hands for consistency. If it feels too watery, add more glycerin and stir again. If too sticky, all more aloe. Try to use immediately and toss any extra!