Pinterest tag

From Vagina Monologues to Vulva Dialogues: An Open Conversation About Our Privates

The launch of Rael’s Soothing Vulva Care line marks the dawn of a new re-vulva-lution that highlights the importance of self-care down there. OBGYN Dr. Shamsah Amersi joins Yanghee Paik, Rael CEO and Co-Founder of Rael, for a deep dive into the exciting new world of vulva care. 

What is the story behind Rael’s Soothing Vulva Care Collection? 

Yanghee: We initially launched Rael with the goal to provide more comfortable and effective period care, made with natural ingredients like organic cotton and without harsh chemicals, to keep our intimate parts healthy and feeling fresh. We realized that many women who converted to our period care had been suffering with regular skin irritation and itchiness down there and chose Rael after dealing with conventional products that would aggravate or even cause their discomfort. 

After doing research we found that vulva skin is extremely sensitive and can be prone to irritation from pH imbalances and exposure to harsh chemicals. You might not even realize, but traces of laundry detergent, synthetic fibers, harsh soaps, condoms, and even traditional “feminine hygiene” products that are actually heavily fragranced and full of harsh chemicals rub against your skin as you go about your day. Most women will deal with some type of itch or irritation down there whether it’s from bacterial vaginosis, eczema or psoriasis (yes, even down there!), yeast infections, contact dermatitis and allergic reactions to chemicals that come in contact with your vulva daily. 

On top of that, as our hormones fluctuate during our menstrual cycles, we end up with drier vaginal and vulvar tissue than normal, which can feel itchy. And further down the line, as our estrogen drops and we reach perimenopause, even more dryness and itching. It’s all natural. 

Our movement to prioritize our privates gave birth to a line of clean, effective skincare that is pH-balanced for vulvas, cleanses without stripping, deeply hydrates, and soothes everyday discomfort. The Vulva Care Collection is not about shaming women for their natural bodies and the scents that come with them—our line of products is a source of comfort and wellness to celebrate our bodies and take care of them. Nothing to be ashamed about. In fact, it’s everything to be proud of!

What is the difference between vulva and vagina? 

Dr. Amersi: For decades the vagina has been mistakenly used as the term encompassing the female genitalia, but let’s be clear: that is NOT the correct term. Everyone uses the term “vagina” to describe it, but the correct term is actually “vulva.”  

The vulva encompasses everything in terms of the female genitalia: the labia, the pubic mons, the clitoris and the vaginal opening. The vulva is external and we can see it simply by looking down (when it is unclothed and bare, of course). The vagina, on the other hand, is internal—the muscular canal that connects the uterus to the vulvar area—and you cannot see it (unless you hold a mirror down there and angle it just right). 

I’d like to encourage all women to get these terms straight when we talk about our intimate health. Using the correct terminology is empowering! Being able to openly and accurately discuss what is happening with our bodies without shame keeps our health and comfort at optimal levels. 

What are some common vulvar discomfort issues and what can we do to alleviate these symptoms?

Dr. Amersi: My younger patients come in with concerns about sexual health and feeling embarrassed about the way their body smells, the way their discharge smells, how much discharge they're having, misdiagnosing themselves with infections when truly they're just having normal vaginal secretions that are healthy and part of your health. 

In our practice, the biggest complaint we see on a regular basis is vaginal infection and vulvar irritation from hormone fluctuations, especially related to hormone changes following different life milestones. As women go through hormonal changes following childbirth and also well into their late 30s through their 50s—when both vaginal and vulvar tissue starts to thin out—they start to describe painful sex, lack of orgasm, vaginal burning, and irritation after sexual activity. 

Yanghee: The Soothing Vulva Mist is a star product that can alleviate all these unpleasant feelings. It’s a liquid serum full of amazing ingredients for your vulvar skin, including 3 weights of hyaluronic acid for deep hydration, soothing hibiscus and eucalyptus extracts, and pH-balancing Lactobacillus Aloe Complex. 

The formula helps restore and retain moisture in your vulvar region, calm any irritation or itchiness, and even has deodorizing properties. Plus, the ultra-fine mist delivers the ingredients in such an easy, fast and refreshing way (confession: we couldn’t help testing it on our faces too!). The convenient applicator is user friendly, and the mist dries instantly. Our advice is to use it whenever you feel like it. 

Dr. Amersi:  The whole Soothing Vulva Care Collection would be great to offer to patients immediately following birth because they will face a lot of irritation as the lochia (discharge) from the uterus continues to clear out. Women postpartum will always call me to say they're feeling irritated on the outside and we used to just tell them to soak in a warm bath with epsom salts, but now we have specialized products that are becoming available for women that provide immediate relief. I'm really impressed by the ingredients that Rael uses for their product line for pH balance because that's a really important part of keeping vulvar health in balance. 

Why is it important to maintain a healthy vulva pH level? 

Dr. Amersi: The pH scale denotes how acidic or basic something is. When the pH starts at zero, that's more acidic, and it goes all the way up to 14, which is basic, with 7 being neutral. If we remember from science class, the pH is the natural environment and the most optimal environment that our cellular tissue lives in. The vaginal and vulvar health optimizes at a pH of about 3.5 to 5—naturally on the more acidic side. 

When women are exposed to semen, sperm will bring a pH to 7, which disrupts the balance. Blood has a pH of about 7.4. We see so many instances of bacterial vaginosis during menstruation and after sexual activity because we constantly experience changes in vaginal and vulvar pH.

Lactobacillus Aloe Complex is really helpful because it keeps our pH at that magic healthy number of 3.5 - 5 where our bodies perform best. That's a really key thing that all consumers should be looking at. 

Who should be using Vulva Care?

Yanghee: Anyone with a vulva should be using the vulva care line! We’ve developed the line to be safe for all skin types, even the most sensitive skin. Our vulvas have been neglected from our self-care for too long. 
 

When should we use the Vulva Care line?

That Time of the Month

Dr. Amersi: When you're on your menstrual cycle, blood is very toxic and it causes a lot of irritation to the vulvar walls. Patients will constantly come in to see me and say they’re experiencing yeast infections, bacterial infections, and chronic itching only during their menstrual cycle. Using synthetic products or using tampons overnight that are not made well can cause vulva irritation that compounds the toxins from the blood to make women feel so uncomfortable during their menstrual cycle. 

Yanghee: Estrogen levels are lowest in the days just before and at the end of menstrual bleeding, and this low level can contribute to vulvar dryness. Menstrual blood is also more basic (as in a pH level of 7.5) vs. our vaginas (3.8 - 4.5) so you are more prone to irritation during that time of the month. Using our Soothing Gel to Foam Wash (just on the vulva, not inside the vagina!) with our Soothing Vulva Relief Gel will help keep itchiness at bay.  

After a Vaginal Birth

Yanghee: 1. Congratulations! You are a superhero. 2. Your vagina and vulva most probably need some soothing. Using our Soothing Vulva Relief Gel will help calm inflammation and provide immediate relief. 

Dr. Amersi: Many women, especially after their first baby, need stitches. As the stitches dissolve and heal, the skin can get very irritated on the outside. These products would be an amazing asset for women, especially on the sutures on the outside.

Approaching or Experiencing Menopause

Dr. Amersi: One of the main symptoms in women that worsens over time is the loss of collagen. Collagen is the healthy protein in our body and is filled with all the luscious cells that we need like Hyaluronic Acid, which helps in giving your body its own natural lubrication. So just like our skin ages on our face and the rest of our body, the vulvar skin ages tremendously.

Yanghee: Slow down signs of aging with our full Soothing Line to deeply hydrate and improve elasticity.

After Hair Removal

Yanghee: Hair removal around the bikini area can lead to vulvar irritation and itchiness. Our Soothing line provides an instant and long-lasting moisturizing effect to help your skin recover. The gel and mist are a must for this! 

Vaginal Sex

Dr. Amersi: We see so many instances of bacterial vaginosis and pH imbalances after sexual activity, so using Soothing Wipes immediately after to wipe away any excess sperm or body fluids would help to restore freshness and maintain health. 

Yanghee: For bonus points, use our Wash and follow up with our Mist to keep the peace. 

After Exercise

Yanghee: Friction, heat, and moisture from working out can lead to discomfort from chafing and excess bacteria. Properly cleanse post-workout with our Soothing Wash, apply a thin layer of our Soothing Vulva Relief Gel, and wear loose, breathable clothing to stay comfy.  

A tenet of the K-Beauty world is to find a multi-step skincare routine. How does this translate for our private parts? 

Yanghee: Just like the skin on our faces, as we age, we experience a loss of collagen and hyaluronic acid in our vulvar skin as well. It starts to get thinner, dryer, and sometimes almost feels like sandpaper. We spend so much time and energy on our facial skincare, it’s time we start giving our vulvas some much-needed love too! Since the vulvar skin is more delicate than the rest of our body, we of course need a multi-step approach to showering our lady parts with love.  

As a brand founded by 3 Korean-American women, we have a product development team based in Seoul, South Korea and work with the most cutting-edge manufacturers to bring the latest K-Beauty technology to our community here in the U.S. After launching our K-Beauty facial skincare line last year, we wanted to leverage a lot of the same technology like the ultra hydrating H3O Hyaluronic Acid Complex for our new Vulva Care line and create a regimen that prioritized our privates every day. 

Cica or Centella Asiatica is a very popular botanical herb and ingredient that is used in K-Beauty. It strengthens the skin barrier, is healing, skin-soothing, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It’s also very moisturizing and great for sensitive skin.

Mugwort has been a big part of traditional Korean self-care. It’s an herb that is great for dry, irritated skin because of its soothing, anti-inflammatory properties. It’s rich with Vitamin E which helps skin also retain moisture. As the vulva skin ages, it can thin out and start to sag. Mugwort is also great for smoothing, protective powers for mature skin because of its antioxidant power in preventing damage from free radicals, as well as stimulating collagen production.

Do you have recommendations on how to apply these products?

Yanghee: The 4-piece line can be used individually as desired or together as a full-on spa day for your vulva. If using altogether, we recommend starting with the Soothing Gel to Foam Cleanser, which thoroughly cleanses without stripping your delicate skin. Follow up with the Soothing Vulva Relief Gel which locks in moisture and protects against inflammation, irritation and itchiness. Next, use our Soothing Feminine Mist to balance your pH, prevent odor and rehydrate whenever you need a pick-me-up or instant relief from an itch. Keep your Soothing Feminine Wipes handy throughout the day (or night) for post bathroom break, exercise or sex. 


As with all our products: No fragrances. No harsh chemicals or unnecessary ingredients. Safe for use every day. And if you’ve learned anything from this conversation, you will want to pamper your privates every day. 

Older Post
Newer Post

Related Posts

How Long Can You Leave a Tampon In?
How Long Can You Leave a Tampon In?
When you’re on your period, you want the least amount of interruption to your schedule as possible. Repeated trips to...
Read More
Cramps But No Period: Possible Causes
Cramps But No Period: Possible Causes
Once you begin experiencing period cramps, you learn to expect them. Whether you generally experience them the week b...
Read More
Birth Control for Acne: Is it Safe & When to Use It
Birth Control for Acne: Is it Safe & When to Use It
Your body is amazing, but experiencing cyclic acne, or acne that shows up around your period, can make you feel less ...
Read More
Close (esc)

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.

Search

Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Shop now