Do you really need a skincare range for your intimate area? Here's what the pro says
Could vulva care very well be the new skincare? What seems to be a burgeoning trend in the beauty market is estimated to rake in approximately USD$42.7 billion in three years—and for good reason. Self-care rituals aren't just limited to soaking yourself in a warm bath and indulging in a pampering mask every week—your intimate area deserves the same amount of TLC (if not more) for the benefit of your sexual and reproductive health.
Fun fact: your vagina doesn't need cleaning as it is a self-cleaning organ, but your vulva may need more loving (not in that way) than you think. In conjunction with the debut of luxury intimate care brand Two L(i)ps in Malaysia, we had a chat with founder and owner Cynthia Chua on how we can truly care of our nether regions:
What should consumers look out for when it comes to intimate care products?
Cynthia Chua: "I feel that the first step to considering intimate care products is to have a better understand our anatomy. I've come to realise that many women are not aware of the difference between the vulva and vagina which can lead to wrong choice or wrong use of products.
"The vagina is the internal muscular canal of the female sexual anatomy, while the vulva is the external part of the female sexual anatomy which includes the skin of the pubic area.
"The vagina is designed to be self-cleaning, has the ability to regulate its own pH and therefore douching is really not recommended as it disturbs the natural microbiome balance.
"But unlike the vagina, the vulva is not self-cleaning and therefore requires vulva care products to provide targeted solutions such as cleanse, soothe and hydration. But keep in mind that vulva care products should only be applied on the skin area avoiding the vaginal opening.
"And when choosing the right vulva care product, ensure that it has been dermatologically and gynaecologically tested, does not contain nasties such as parabens, sulphates, petrochemical and artificial fragrances. The product needs to be gentle and pH balance."
How are Two L(i)ps' products different from regular skincare products for the face/other intimate care products?
CC: "Having been in the hair removal/vulva care business in the last 20 years, I've had many conversations with our Strip customers, therapist and friends. People were sharing with me their vulva woes, asking me "I've this problem, dryness, dull skin from chaffing and ingrown hair, how can I treat it?" And through these conversations, I was inspired to create Two L(i)ps, the world's first luxury intimate care range.
"I created Two L(i)ps products with our most precious part, the vulva, in mind.
"They are made without sulphates, parabens and petrochemicals, making it gentle enough even for the most sensitive skin. We have also made sure that the products are great for use on the face too to address the needs of today's modern women, who are time-starved and are looking for convenient products that can be used from the face, vulva and body.
"All our products are created to treat specific needs and are dermatologically and gynaecologically tested to ensure it is safe for use.
"At the end of the day, Two L(i)ps was created to provide women the tools to love their vulva more. It's about self-love, self-care and a positive body culture, offering a more holistic way to look after ourselves from head to toe."
What are some tips on reducing folliculitis around the vulva?
CC: "Issues such as folliculitis and skin irritation are often a result of poor feminine hygiene and not taking care of our skin properly with the right products after hair removal treatments.
"Hence we recommend using Two L(i)ps' Bumpps as part of the recommended post-hair removal treatment care.
"Bumpps, a lightweight serum, is formulated with a proprietary triple botanical blend of Arrowroot Extract, Chamomile and Tea Tree Leaf Oil to treat post-hair removal folliculitis, small, red painful bumps that occurs on the surface of the skin.
"However, we recommend consulting a doctor if there are signs of pus, as infected folliculitis will require topical antibiotic treatments."
How can women start on self-care rituals for the vulva area (from skincare routine to the type/material of underwear they wear, etc)?
"Just like skincare and haircare, vulva care is all about choices that suits your lifestyle and preferences. But one can start with maintaining good vulva hygiene and care habits by opting for comfortable-fitting cotton underwear that does not trap heat or moisture, avoid vulva care products that contain artificial fragrances, parabens, sulphates and petrochemicals.
"Avoid wearing panty liners on a daily basis as they trap heat and moisture, making it an ideal breeding environment for bacterial and always wipe from front to back after going to the toilet."
Is a difference in skincare regime for those with pubic hair and those without?
CC: "Yes, there are slight differences in the skincare regime for those who prefers pubic hair and those who opt for hair removal services.
"Whether you prefer a bush or to like to keep things smooth, it's important to use a gentle pH balance wash to cleanse the daily dirt, sebum and sweat trapped in the hair or on the skin especially after a workout.
"Just like the skin on the rest of our body, the skin around our vulva can be complicated with common skin problems such as dryness and can become thinner and loses its elasticity as we age. Therefore, it's important to use a hydrating product to maintain the skin moisture level.
"But for those who undergo hair removal treatments such as shaving regularly, it is important to maintain good post-hair removal care to keep folliculitis and ingrown hair at bay."
Two L(i)ps is available at all Strip outlets nationwide. Prices range from RM270 to RM390.