Last updated on Jun 22nd, 2021 at 03:46 pm

You have your face wash, you have your toothpaste, but do you need a special soap for down there too?

Many women start using feminine washes for many different reasons, but according to Alberton based GP Dr Phumzile Mkhize, not all of us actually need it.

READ MORE: Cardi B shares sexual hygiene advice – and it’s hilarious but insightful!

Who needs feminine washes?

As the feminine hygiene aisles get longer, our feminine hygiene needs also seem to grow; from soaps to gels and lubricating capsules. Should we all be investing in all these products? Dr Phumzile says no.

“Unscented soap is perfectly fine for washing the outer parts around your vagina (never try to wash the inside). You should not use any anti-bacterial soaps, disinfectants or anything scented, not even scented feminine washes,” Dr Phumzile says.

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“The biggest problem with people ‘needing’ feminine washes and moisturising capsules, is that they are a quick fix to a possibly bigger problem they should be addressed with their doctor. Vaginal discomfort, unpleasant smells and itching are not normal and could be symptoms of a medical condition,” she adds.

READ MORE: 6 Things you didn’t know about your vagina (but definitely should)

Can feminine washes be harmful?

We’ve all heard that soap can be harsh and disrupt the PH levels of your intimate areas making you vulnerable to infections, but feminine washes aren’t always the answer.

“If you’re going to buy feminine wash or a specific soap to use on your vaginal area there are certain things you need to check for. Make sure it is soap-free, unscented with no colourants. This usually means the wash is PH balanced, but it is always good to make sure of that too,” she says.

Feminine washes aren’t going to fix all your problems

The right feminine wash can be used as a healthier substitute for soap when washing your delicate areas, but Dr Phumzile says there are issues a feminine wash cannot fix.

“There is a difference between an unpleasant smell and a vaginal smell. Your vaginal area shouldn’t smell like a fruit or flower or anything other than what it actually is. If you have a strong or unpleasant smell coming from your vaginal area you need to see a doctor, not get a feminine wash to mask what could be a treatable medical condition,” she says.

Yeast infections, itching and vaginal dryness are common reasons women start using feminine washes, while it isn’t wrong, Dr Phumzile says finding out why you have these problems should be the priority.

“Soaps, bubble baths and antibacterial washes can cause these problems and using a feminine wash can help, but getting treatment for possible infections and dysfunctions should be first prize. Vaginal health is important not just for fertility and reproductive reasons, but for your health in general. If you have a yeast infection, rash, abnormal discharge or a strong smell coming from your vaginal area, changing your soap is one thing you should do but the most important thing is to find the cause of the problem and treat it,” she says.

READ MORE: Let’s talk about vaginal dryness – You’re not alone, and it can be treated

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.