How to Keep Vulval Skin Healthy

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The vulva is the visible parts of the external female genitalia. The vulva is the part of the female genitalia people normally refer to as the vagina. Female genitalia is self-cleansing. Secretions that come out of the vaginal canal cleanses the vagina. Soaps, detergents and creams are unnecessary for vulva health and can cause skin irritation. Vulval skin is sensitive. Gentle cleansing and care is required for optimal vulval skin health.

Things You'll Need

  • Cotton swab
  • Vitamin E oil

Cleanse the vulva daily with clean, warm water. Avoid using hot water, which could irritate the delicate skin. If you have a hand spray nozzle in your shower, you can spray the vulva directly with water. Be careful not to spray the water into the vaginal canal. If you do not have a hand spray nozzle, cup your hand to fill it with water and pour the water onto your vulva. Gently massage the vulva to loosen dried secretions and smegma. Massage from the front to the back, towards the anus, to avoid contaminating the vagina and urethra with intestinal bacteria.

After cleansing, let the vulva air dry or gently pat the area dry with a soft clean towel.

Remove smegma accumulation daily. Smegma is a thick white substance that is made of a combination of dead skin cells and sebum. Some women produce more smegma than others. If smegma is not regularly cleansed from the vulva, odor and skin irritation can develop or smegma left under the clitoral hood can lead to clitoral adhesion. Clitoral adhesion is when the clitoral hood becomes stuck to the clitoris due to hardened smegma. Inspect the vulva daily using a hand mirror to check for smegma. Check for smegma around the labia and under the clitoral hood. Gently remove smegma using a cotton swab moistened with water or vitamin E oil.

Wear loose-fitting 100 percent cotton underwear. Cotton is a breathable material that allows air flow to the vulval skin. Air flow is needed to maintain a healthy female genital environment. Underwear should be loose fitting to avoid friction. Tight underwear rubs the vulval skin and can cause irritation. The crotch of the underwear should be white. Colored materials contain dye that can cause irritation in the vulval area.

Use unscented white toilet paper. Both fragrance and dye causes irritation to the delicate vulva. Gently pat the vulva with toilet paper after urinating to avoid irritating friction and the contamination of the vagina with intestinal bacteria.

Moisturize a dry or irritated vulva with vitamin E oil. The vitamin E oil hydrates the skin and provides a protective barrier between the skin and outside irritants. If the vulva is not dry or irritated, applying vitamin E oil is unnecessary.

Tips & Warnings

  • Perfumed powders and sprays are unnecessary for vulva odor. They are not only unnecessary, they can cause skin irritation which leads to vulval odor. Gentle cleansing is all that is required for optimal vulval skin health. A clean and healthy vulva does not have a bad odor.
  • This article is for information purposes only and is not intended to act as or replace medical advice. Vulval skin irritation can be caused cleansers or more serious conditions such as bacterial or sexually transmitted infections. Always seek the advice of a doctor when health problems develop.

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