Much like women's sexuality, the topic of women's intimate health has been misrepresented and misinterpreted. Due to this, an array of "hygiene" products that are not just sexist but also gravely harmful for women have sprung up.
These products sell stereotypical ideas of beauty in the name 'hygiene.' And, what's more, they bank on our insecurities to make a profit.
1. Scented pads
According to Healthshots, scented pads are lined with a lot of chemicals that might be carcinogenic and lead to organ damage. If used for longer periods, these pads can lead to bacterial growth down there. Not just that, when these harmful chemicals come into contact with sensitive skin, they might even lead to a yeast infection. And, honestly, why does our period need to smell like perfume anyway?
2. Yoni eggs
Yoni eggs or jade eggs are balls of quartz or jade in the shape of an egg. They are inserted into the vagina and could be kept for a few minutes to overnight. It claims to increase the libido, help with cramps, and balance the hormones. But according to reports, there's no scientific study or proof which supports these 'benefits.' And, they can cause damage leading to muscle strain, vaginal/bladder infection, vaginismus, etc.
Wet wipes are loaded with preservatives and chemicals which might interrupt the functioning of our vaginas. Our vaginas work to protect themselves from bacteria/viruses, and while using the wipes, it makes us vulnerable to STIs and STDs, as per reports. These wipes should not also be used right after sex because then, our vaginal lining is sensitive and would end up with rashes.
Vaginal washes can disturb the natural microbiome in the vagina and can also alter the pH level of the same, which may result in infections. I mean, vaginas are self-cleaning for a reason. So, sister, you can go easy on yourself and let that wash go!
Douching is a process of cleaning the vagina, usually done using a mix of water and vinegar. Contrary to the popular belief, douching does not help with curing STIs and preventing pregnancies. A douche expels liquid into your vagina and these liquids are sometimes laced with fragrance. The fragrances can cause itchiness, irritation, and pain. And, if you're already suffering from an infection, a douche can aggravate it by shooting the bacteria further up into our cervix. Again, please let our vaginas do their job peacefully. They know better than these products.
Feminine sprays apparently 'freshen up' your vaginas. First of all, what the fuck? Second, these sprays can mess up the pH levels, and irritate the vulva, or the vaginal lips. They aren't directly sprayed into our vaginas but can disturb exterior genitalia according to Insider.
The bleaching creams used for 'whitening' our vaginas may carry steroids in them which make us vulnerable to infections down there. With use, the skin might become thin and lose immunity over time. This is a prime example of convoluted beauty standards.
8. Vaginal Steaming Herbs like Mugwort
Vaginal steaming is the process of directing herb-infused steam into the vagina. It supposedly helps with stress, depression, infections, and infertility. But according to Healthline, there is no scientific research to back this practice and to conclude if it's safe. During the steaming, various herbs are used and Mugwort is one of them. As per the same reports, if the vagina is overheated, it can lead to scalding, burns, and yeast infections.
Did you know that scented tampons can lead to bacterial vaginosis (a bacterial infection where the vagina smells a little 'fishy') So, using a scented tampon is actually counter-productive. Not to forget, just like any scented product for vaginas, these can give you an infection as well.
These creams are loaded with substances that can harm us. According to Fit, there's no cream that can snap back the vagina into shape. These creams come with a lot of side effects such as - irritation, itching and might even lead to other severe problems.
Well, don't believe everything that you see, especially when it comes to intimate hygiene products.
All images are used for representational purposes only.