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Everyday vulvar and vaginal dryness is incredibly common - and not just during menopause. So if you’re experiencing dryness, itch, or irritation at any age you’re not alone! Here’s what you need to know to tackle the discomfort.

Is it vaginal dryness or vulvar dryness?

When things are dry down there, the term ‘vaginal dryness’ gets tossed around as a catch-all. But remember your vagina is just the internal canal connecting your uterus to your vulva. Your vulva encompasses all the external (visible) parts of your genitalia. Since we’re vulvar skin care experts, let’s start there!

What causes vulvar dryness?

These things aren’t always simple, but a few of the most common causes of dry vulvar skin are:

1. Hormones
You may already know that as we age, our estrogen levels decline and this leads to lipid loss. But did you know that the same thing can happen at various times during your menstrual cycle, throughout pregnancy and into post-partum? Dry intimate skin isn’t limited to perimenopause or menopause. At all ages and life stages, our hormonal fluctuations can leave us high and dry.

2. Compromised Skin Barrier
The skin barrier is the outermost layer of our skin’s surface that keeps essential moisture in and irritants out. But it’s not indestructible. Certain ingredients can weaken or damage the skin barrier, which leads to dryness. Your best bet is to avoid ingredients that strip moisture (like sulfates), and instead choose formulas that support a healthy skin barrier.

3. Prescriptions
Intimate skin can be sensitive to certain medications, so if you’re experiencing dryness, the culprit could be hiding in your medicine cabinet. Hormonal birth control pills, estrogen modulators used in certain cancer treatments, antidepressants, and even some allergy medications can cause vulvar dryness and discomfort. Consult your medical provider for more information about how your prescriptions could be impacting your intimate skin.

4. Lifestyle
If you’re like us, you spent the last year living in your yoga pants. Though comfy, spending too long in tight, constrictive clothing can actually trigger dry vulvar skin. If you can’t change out of them quickly (or just don’t want to), our gentle, non-drying wipes or prebiotic cleansing serum will keep bad bacteria in check and help balance dry skin. And, as always, make sure you’re drinking enough water! Hydrating from the inside out goes a long way toward maintaining healthy vulvar skin.

What can I do about vulvar dryness?

First, do no harm...

If you’re putting anything on your vulvar skin, make sure it doesn’t contain any ingredients that can compromise the skin barrier. Look for sulfate-free washesalcohol-free wipes, and steer clear of things like propylene glycol and MIT preservatives. Even some natural ingredients like essential oils have the potential to irritate the skin barrier, so keep an eye on those labels!

…then, moisturize!

Just like there’s facial creams for dry skin above the neck, there are great moisturizers for dry vulvar skin! If you’re looking for something refreshing, lightweight, and perfect for everyday use, Hydrate Ever After is the one for you. It mimics the natural moisture of intimate skin to keep you comfortable and hydrated all day long. 

If you’re looking for immediate relief from symptoms of vulvar dryness like itching, stinging or irritation, Rescue Balm is the concentrated treatment you’ll wish you had found sooner. It’s packed with clean, naturally-derived clinical actives that instantly soothe while giving you lasting comfort. And because it’s formulated without hormones, estrogen, or known irritants, it’s gentle enough to use with prescription-based treatments like topical steroids, estrogen or hormone replacement therapy, or even after a yeast infection.

Remember, neither vulvar or vaginal dryness is anything to be ashamed about! It happens to all of us and you can find relief.

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