It’s totally normal to wonder what your labia should look like or if you have "normal" labia. But you don’t have to look far to see that there's no such thing as normal! Here’s what you should know about the color of your labia.
First Question… Which Labia?
You probably know labia are the soft folds of skin that partially or completely cover the clitoris and the vagina. What you may not know is that there are two sets of labia: the labia majora (outer lips) and the labia minora (inner lips). The labia majora is where you grow pubic hair and typically either matches the skin on the rest of your body or is slightly darker. So when women are concerned about “normal” color, they’re usually talking about the labia minora.
Normal Labia Colors
Labia come in a variety of natural colors, from pink to brownish black and everywhere in between. Race and age can play a factor, but labia are as unique as your fingerprint so there’s not a lot of rhyme or reason when it comes to labia color. One thing is for sure though, the color of your labia is not related to your sexual activity or health. This is a common and potentially hurtful myth that is simply untrue.
The Fitzpatrick Scale
The Fitzpatrick Scale is a widely used, but imperfect, method of classifying the amount of pigment in a person’s skin. For the purposes of showing a range of normal labia colors, below is a Fitzpatrick scale. If you’d like to see a more accurate (and NSFW) display of different types of labia colors, click here to see an amazing photography project that perfectly captures just how unique each vulva truly is.
How Color Changes With Age
Often, the labia darken during puberty as hormone levels start increasing. This is often accompanied by a number of other changes to how your vulva looks. Similarly, as we age and enter menopause, labia may get paler and lose volume, becoming thinner and even losing hair.
If you’re worried about the appearance of your labia because it’s not what your partner has seen before (or if it doesn’t match what you’ve seen online), remember there really is no such thing as “normal” labia. Your labia are unique and beautiful just the way they are. If you feel uncomfortable about their appearance, try talking with a counselor or therapist about how your body image affects your self-esteem; doing so might be helpful if you feel pressured by society's unrealistic expectations for even the most intimate parts of women’s bodies!