Seven tips to ensure you're clean and healthy, um, down there

Stacy Lyon was inspired to start a line of gentle feminine washes, called Healthy Hoo Hoo, following three conversations.
By Sarah Treleaven
Woman sitting with crossed legs and glasses Masterfile

Stacy Lyon was inspired to start a line of gentle feminine washes, called Healthy HooHoo, following three conversations.

The first was with a friend whose breast cancer diagnosis had her steering clear of harmful parabens. The second saw another friend confess feeling an imbalance "down there". While the last was with her OB/GYN, who told her that women's vaginal health was in a perfect storm thanks to over-cleansing due to fragranced bathroom wipes, high-sugar and high-fat diets, and cheap polyester clothes that don't breathe.

With this, Lyon decided to offer women an alternative to the chemical cocktails they frequently use to clean their more sensitive parts. Here are some of her top tips for keeping everything kosher downtown:

1. Look for something pH balanced. While the temptation might be there to strip the entire area of all oils and scents, you want something that actually protects the natural balance for optimal health.

2. Wear the right underwear. Cotton is best, ladies - and I say that as someone completely devoted to lace underpants - because it's more breathable. Also, thongs should only be for special occasions because it has a tendency to facilitate the movement of bad bacteria.

3. What you eat matters. Eating a lot of sugar can encourage the growth of yeast which you don't want (ask any woman whose ever had a yeast infection).


4. Parabens and petrochemicals can mess with your hormones. Also, aluminum and other metals stick around in your system and have been linked to cancers. Better to go natural than to go with a fragrance-heavy, brightly-coloured batch of chemicals with a 100-year shelf life.

5. Sleep naked. The vagina, like almost everything else, needs a chance to breathe. This is particularly important if you wear tight pants or polyester underwear (which a lot of men's boxer shorts are made of as well).

6. There's no "normal" when it comes to your vagina. Lyon says that every vagina has its own ecosystem, and that it changes depending on the time of the month. But if you're sensing discomfort, discharge or a strange smell, then chances are good that your bod is out of balance.

7. Don't be afraid of water. In the shower never use soap on this sensitive area. "All soaps, by their definition, are alkaline (that's what keeps them from melting in your shower). Even super organic bar soap...will be alkaline and thus remove the protective acid mantle/micro-flora protecting the vagina," explains Lyon. She recommends the Healthy HooHoo's gentle wash because it's, "specially formulated to match the pH of a woman's vuvlovaginal area and won't wash away all the goodness Mother Nature put down there."

Do you use any cleansing products 'down there'?


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