Intimate Grooming: What Women Need to Know
What to know about cleansing and hair removal in the bikini area.
By Carol Sorgen
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD
You shower, you wash your hair, you put on deodorant. But what about grooming for your more intimate area? How do you deal with vaginal odor? Should you douche? And just what is a bikini wax all about anyway?
For many women, these issues are an important part of daily grooming. Here's what you should know about the options.
Cleansing Down There
The number of intimate grooming products -- from cleansers to fragrance mists to on-the-go freshening wipes -- continues to grow, but they're not really necessary, say many gynecologists.
"You don't need these products for routine use," says gynecologist Christine O'Connor, MD, director of adolescent gynecology and well woman care at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.
Even products marketed specifically for the female genital area can sometimes irritate and/or upset the normal pH balance, leading to irritations and infections, O'Connor cautions. Regular bathing, changing out of wet or sweaty clothes, and avoiding repeated use of tight, restrictive clothing will prevent unpleasant odors and infections, she says.
Harsh soaps and cleansers can also interfere with the body's pH balance. And as much as you might enjoy those fragrant soaps and gels, it's best just to use mild, unscented soaps and water for cleansing, because scented soaps and gels sometimes contain perfumes and other ingredients that can be irritating to delicate tissues, O'Connor says.