Personal lubricants present something of a, well, slippery slope. Doctors agree that many commercial, water-based versions contain chemical preservatives, which may cause irritation. Glycerin is another ingredient commonly found on the “intimate care” shelf. Like glucose, a sugar, it can contribute to an overgrowth of yeast, says Lauren Streicher, an associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago and author of Sex Rx (Dey Street).
For this reason, many women turn to homemade solutions—a well-meaning tactic that often does way more harm than good. Cooking oils (coconut, olive, vegetable, mineral oil, and petroleum jelly are hard to rinse off, trapping bacteria inside the vagina and promoting infection. What’s more, every single one of them dissolves latex, says Streicher, making condoms and diaphragms less effective.
Look for a silicone-based lubricant instead. “They are condom compatible, last longer, and don’t contain preservatives or glycerin like water-based lubes,” says Streicher, who likes Replens Silky Smooth. Some doctors are also getting on board with organic lubricants. “They tend to be free of harsh chemicals and wash away easily,” says Hutcherson. One that fits the bill: Sustain Organic Personal Lubricant.
Recommended Silicone & Organic Lubricants to Try:
Wet Platinum Silicone Based Lubricant
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