In your most sensual moments, the only thing that should be spicy is the intimacy between you and your partner.
If you’ve been feeling heated, in a bad way, you might have sensitive skin down there. In which case, you should consider switching the lubricant you’re using.
To help you navigate the slippery world of lubricants, 21Ninety spoke with certified sex therapist and expert Aliyah Moore, Ph.D. along with pelvic floor physical therapist Ariel Sernek, PT, DPT.
Ingredients to avoid in a lubricant for sensitive skin
Let’s start with what to avoid in a lubricant for sensitive skin. Glycerin, parabens, fragrances, nonoxynol-9, petroleum-based ingredients, and propylene glycol are all ingredients that Dr. Moore notes people with sensitive skin should steer clear of. Here’s a list of why each ingredient should be avoided:
Glycerin can draw moisture out of the skin and cause dryness, itching, and irritation.
“This is because glycerin is a hygroscopic substance, which means that it attracts and absorbs moisture from its surroundings,” Dr. Moore explained.
“Parabens are a type of artificial preservatives that are widely used in personal care products, such as lubricants, to prevent bacterial and fungal growth,” Dr. Moore stated.
She notes that people with sensitive skin can experience irritation, redness, and itching when exposed to parabens.
Fragrances can cause irritation and allergic reactions in people with sensitive skin. So if you tend to only use fragrance-free products on your face, you might want to keep them off your undercarriage, too.
“Nonoxynol-9 is a chemical compound that is often included in contraceptive products such as some lubricants as a spermicide to prevent pregnancy but it may be problematic for people with sensitive skin as it can cause skin damage and irritation with frequent use,” Dr. Moore explained.
Petroleum-based products can clog pores, which can lead to the formation of acne and pimples, according to the sex therapist.
“For people with sensitive skin, exposure to propylene glycol may exacerbate existing skin conditions like eczema or dermatitis,” says Dr. Moore. So definitely check in with your medical provider before trying out a lubricant with propylene glycol.
Sensitive Skin? Here’s what to look for in a lubricant
Dr. Moore lists several elements to look for in a lubricant for sensitive skin. Per the sex therapist’s recommendation, you’ll want something water-based, hypoallergenic, free of harmful chemicals. It’s also important that a lubricant for sensitive skin is pH-balanced.
“Water-based lubricants are made with water as their primary ingredient, which makes them less likely to cause irritation or allergic reactions than other types of lubricants,” Dr. Moore noted. Plus, they are easier to clean up compared to silicone-based formulas.
Generally, when reaching for a sensitive skin-friendly lube, Dr. Moore says that the best way to make sure a personal lubricant works for you is to test it on yourself via a patch test. If you do the test and don’t experience irritation, then you can try it on your downstairs area.
“A patch test involves applying a small amount of the lubricant to an inconspicuous area of skin, such as the inside of your wrist or elbow, and waiting for a few hours to see if any redness, itching, or other signs of irritation occur,” she explains.
Ahead find the top five recommendations from both doctors.
Both doctors approve
Both Dr. Moore and Dr. Sernek recommend Good Clean Love Almost Naked Personal Lubricant. It’s a 1.5-ounce water-based lubricant that’s safe to use with toys, condoms, or for skin to skin contact. Dr. Moore highlights that that lube has aloe vera which is naturally antifungal and antimicrobial properties.
“But some super sensitive people may still react to aloe vera or the citrus flavoring,” Dr. Moore warned.
A favorite of Dr. Sernek
Slippery Stuff Paraben Free Water based Lubricant is a favorite of Dr. Sernek. The 8-ounce water-based clear gel lube is free of fragrance and glycerin. As for why the pelvic floor physical therapist recommends this lubricant, she says, “It has been researched as having minimal chemicals added, its water based, and I use it with my clients in the clinic and personally.”
An edible choice by Dr. Moore
Coconu’s Water Based Personal Lubricant has a unique simple ingredient list that makes it hypoallergenic, vegan, and edible. What makes this 3-ounce lubricant a favorite of Dr. Moore is what the formula doesn’t have. “[It’s] free from alcohol, petroleum, parabens, gluten, phytates, fragrances, and dyes,” the certified sex therapist noted.
The only silicone-based lube to make the list
Überlube Silicone Lubricant is the only silicone-based lube on this list. The 3.8-ounce bottle of slippery silicone is latex-safe, unscented, flavorless, paraben-free, glycerin-free, pH neutral, and leaves zero residue. Plus, the Dr. Moore-recommended lubricant works well underwater due to its silicone base. On the flip side, you’ll want to keep this lube away from your silicone toys because a silicone lubricant can dissolve silicone toys over time.
A Dr. Moore favorite
Sliquid H20 Water Based Lube is another Dr. Moore recommendation. Why? Because the 8.5-ounce water-based personal lubricant is free of glycerin and parabens. The unscented lube is also hypoallergenic and vegan, so if you’re planning on having a little dessert after a romantic dinner, you can reach for this tasteless liquid.
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