It’s no secret, physical changes happen during all phases of your monthly cycle. From breakouts, and mood swings, to cramps and particular food cravings, your hormones are working hard (and properly) the entire month, not just when you’re on your period.
One physical change that can be particularly bothersome is feeling less than fresh “down there.” Changes to vaginal odor, mild irritation, and even itchiness can all be due to changes in your vaginal pH levels and make you feel incredibly uncomfortable.
Thankfully, it’s really easy to get those pH levels back within normal range and feel better fast.
Using a natural feminine wash is a holistic way to regain the confidence and comfort you have when your vaginal pH levels are perfectly balanced.
At Rael, we believe you deserve to love your body during every phase of your cycle. It’s why we created our brand -- so you could have access to natural self-care items that keep you feeling your best all cycle long. We know feminine washes, and what makes certain ones better than others.
Let’s talk about why your vaginal pH balance may be off, how feminine washes can help, and how to pick the best natural feminine wash for your needs. We’ll also help you know what ingredients you should avoid in feminine washes that can cause irritation.
About pH Balance
When we talk about pH balance, we’re referring to how acidic or alkaline a substance is according to the pH scale, which goes from 0 (highly acidic) to 14 (alkaline, or non acidic).
For example, battery acid has a pH level of 0, making it highly acidic. Lye has a pH balance of 13, making it extremely alkaline. Somewhere in the middle of this range you’ll find solutions like milk, baking soda, and sea water.
For organisms to properly function, their pH balance must be maintained.
The normal pH balance of your vagina is between 3.8 and 4.5 on the pH scale, but there are numerous causes of having a vaginal pH that is more alkaline:
- Unprotected sex with a male. Semen is naturally more alkaline than your vaginal pH, which can cause your vaginal pH level to rise.
- Your period. Blood is more alkaline, around 7.4 on the pH scale, which can lead to elevated vaginal pH levels.
- Antibiotics. Antibiotics kill bacteria that makes us sick, but it simultaneously kills good bacteria that keeps us well. That’s why antibiotics can sometimes lead to yeast infections. Antibiotics kill good bacteria levels in your vagina, changing the overall pH level.
- Hormones. Changes in hormone levels due to pregnancy, your monthly cycle, and entering menopause can all cause changes to your vaginal pH levels.
With all these possibilities, it can seem like maintaining your vaginal pH level balanced could be a pretty hard job, but thankfully, that’s not the case. Most of the time, you won’t even notice these fluctuations, but when you do, you can grab an all natural feminine wash to restore balance and eliminate discomfort.
What is a Feminine Wash?
A feminine wash is a mild cleanser designed to help cleanse, soothe, and restore balance to your vagina and alleviate mild irritation from your vulva (the opening of your vagina).
The best feminine washes work by combining ingredients that help restore natural vaginal acidity, cleanse the entire vulval area, deliver moisturizing and hydrating ingredients to help keep delicate vaginal skin comfortable, and eliminate unpleasant odor.
While some women choose to use a natural feminine wash daily, it isn't absolutely necessary to do so.
You can use a feminine wash on an as-needed basis, like:
- During or after your period;
- After sex; or
- During a course of antibiotics.
If you feel that your vagina is more sensitive to pH balance changes, it’s completely safe to use a natural feminine wash daily, as long as you've got the right wash for the job.
How To Choose the Best Natural Feminine Wash
Not all feminine washes are created equally, and some popular brands can contain harsh chemical ingredients that can irritate delicate vaginal skin and leave you feeling worse.
The best and safest natural feminine washes will have ingredients that are beneficial to restoring vaginal pH balance. They also will not have ingredients that have been identified as toxins, or that have been reported to cause irritation. Here’s what to look for (and what to avoid) in natural feminine washes.
Ingredients to Avoid
The health and wellness products we use, like feminine washes, can contain ingredients that aren’t just unnecessary, they’re harsh and sometimes harmful.
Here’s a list of ingredients you’ll want to avoid in feminine washes:
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. SLS is a known skin irritant. Delicate vaginal skin can be more sensitive to this ingredient.
- Irritating fragrances. Companies aren’t required to list specific ingredients that make up their proprietary fragrance blends, so you can never be certain what’s inside. Opt for washes that are transparent with all ingredients, including ones added for purposes of fragrance.
- Parabens and phthalates. Studies have shown these ingredients to be hormone mimickers and disruptors.
- Some artificial colors. D&C Red 33 and FD&C Yellow No. 5 have been linked to vaginal irritation.
- Quaternium-15 (aka benzethonium chloride). This is an ingredient added to a feminine wash to act as a preservative. It is a known skin toxicant and irritant and releases formaldehyde.
- Methylchloroisothiazolinone. This is a known skin irritant.
Using feminine washes with these ingredients can actually cause more irritation and disruption to your natural pH balance and be counterproductive to your goal of getting back into balance.
Feminine washes should never contain ingredients that could be harmful to your body or make your pH balance even more alkaline.
The Best Ingredients To Use
Your pH balance is natural, and fluctuations in this balance can be natural as well, so it makes sense that the more natural your feminine wash, the better it will be able to restore balance to your pH level.
As such, the following ingredients are excellent choices for restoring balance, gently cleansing, and soothing irritated skin:
- Coconut oil. Coconut oil has numerous benefits, and one of them is its use as a mild cleanser. Not only is coconut oil safe in cleansing the most sensitive areas, it delivers hydration, so a feminine wash that contains it will never leave your skin stripped of moisture.
- Anise. A gentle, yet powerful bacteria-fighting ingredient that helps keep bad bacteria away while promoting healthy levels of good bacteria.
- Decyl Glucoside. A sugar-based surfactant that helps with pH balance and has an Environmental Working Group (EWG) rating of 1, the lowest, and safest the EWG awards.
- Glyceryl Caprylate. A natural skin conditioning agent that is also used to keep products properly emulsified, this ingredient also has an EWG rating of 1.
- Levulinic acid. This natural acid acts as an emollient and also gives off a light, pleasant fragrance, that smells slightly like vanilla.
- Sodium Levulinate. This is a salt that is a derivative of levulinic acid and acts as a natural preservative, giving products a longer shelf life.
Natural feminine washes like Rael’s Natural Foaming Feminine Wash restore your natural vaginal pH balance without the use of harsh chemicals or irritating ingredients that can bring you more discomfort than you’re already experiencing.
Your natural feminine wash should never cause you to feel more irritated; it should bring you relief and help you feel more balanced.
Every part of your monthly cycle is natural, and Rael believes alleviating uncomfortable symptoms of your period should be a natural, holistic process.
You can learn to love your period, and Rael makes it possible for you to navigate your monthly cycle with ease. We help you get relief from natural products that work synergistically with your body, not against it.
Your vagina has a natural pH balance that can be brought out of balance by normal activities, use of antibiotics, fluctuations in your hormone levels, and your period itself. When your pH balance is off, you can experience unwanted symptoms, like odor and irritation.
Getting back into your natural pH groove is easy when you use an all natural feminine wash with ingredients designed to work with your body and help restore balance. Avoid products that contain harsh ingredients that could leave you feeling more irritated and uncomfortable.
Rael’s natural feminine wash is a great way to cleanse and restore balance, and make peace with your body once more. Our wash is gentle, yet effective, and will leave you feeling clean and balanced every time you use it.
You can have a happy period, and Rael can help.