Intimate hygiene is essential in preventing infections and having healthy sexual activity. It is particularly important during stages of life such as the menopause and postpartum period.
Characteristics of the vaginal ecosystem
Every woman’s body is unique and so too is the vulvovaginal area. It has a specific ecosystem made up of innate defence mechanisms which work together to keep the female genital tract healthy. These are the skin, secretions, acidic pH and vaginal flora, which are largely managed by the endocrine system and immune system.
The skin of the female genitals has a higher level of hydration than the skin of the rest of the body. It undergoes constant friction and is not keratinised. As such, it is more permeable and susceptible to irritations and/or infections and requires special care. The vaginal epithelial cells renew quickly and produce a series of compounds with antimicrobial activity. Lysozyme and lactoferrin are an example of this.
Little is known about the vaginal microflora; it is diverse and is not common among all women. Various studies have even shown it to vary depending on ethnicity. Despite this, it is known that maintaining vaginal balance is essential for keeping the area healthy, as it maintains the acidic pH and is a defence mechanism against pathogens. Lactobacilli, the most abundant bacteria genus, are those that produce lactic acid, thereby ensuring that the pH is acidic and provides natural protection to the area.
During childbearing age, oestrogen plays a key role in keeping the vagina area normal. The skin of the vagina is thick and the folds remain moist due to the fluid secreted from the vaginal wall, cervical mucus and Bartholin’s glands. As women age, the oestrogen concentration decreases and the vagina and vulva become drier and less elastic. This may occur earlier in women with stress, those taking antidepressants, those who have undergone cancer treatments or surgery to reduce their risk of cancer, among others. This process leads to increased dryness, vaginal irritation and increased susceptibility to vulvovaginal infections and trauma. These physiological impairments can cause a reduction in sexual arousal, libido and the ability to orgasm.
Factors which alter the vaginal ecosystem’s balance
Unfortunately, there are various factors which can alter this vaginal balance. Internal factors include age, hormone changes (menarche, menstruation and pregnancy) and infections. External factors include sexual intercourse, wearing tight clothing, taking antibiotics, hormone replacement therapy and hygiene practices (contaminant). Its alteration can lead to skin disorders, urinary-tract infections and vaginal bacterial or yeast infections. The most common signs and symptoms are itching, burning, pain and unusual discharge, which leads to sleep disturbances and a reduction in quality of life.
Vaginal dryness is common in women of all ages, but it occurs particularly during and after the menopause. As mentioned above, this is one of the symptoms of vulvovaginal atrophy. The repercussions of vaginal dryness on personal relationships, quality of life, daily activities and sexual function can be significant, but are often underestimated.
Only 18% of Spanish women use intimate hygiene products
We must therefore ask ourselves, if intimate health is considered to be so important for women, in the same way as other areas such as the face, hair and body, why do only 18% of Spanish women use intimate hygiene products? This figure is very low in comparison to countries such as Italy, where as many as 65% use these products.
Furthermore, there are still certain taboos in Spain and this condition is often not reported or properly treated. More education is needed regarding vaginal dryness and the range of treatments available, to encourage more women to seek the help they need for this condition.
Moisturisers are effective in alleviating discomfort due to mild-to-moderate vaginal dryness, particularly when oestrogen is contraindicated or the decision is made not to use it. We recommend choosing a product which is optimally balanced both in terms of osmolality and pH, and which is physiologically similar to natural vaginal secretions.
Neftis Laboratorios intimate hygiene kit
Taking into account all of this information, it is clear that Spanish women should be more aware of their intimate hygiene and should use suitable products which care for their pH and vaginal flora, in line with their physiology and stage of life.
To this end, with the aim of giving the female intimate area the attention it deserves, here at Neftis Laboratorios we have created an intimate care kit made up of a cleansing gel, a moisturising cream and a rejuvenating peel.
INTIMATE CLEANSING GEL
Women of all ages require daily intimate hygiene to keep their genital area clean. It is important to prevent the accumulation of vaginal discharge, sweat, urine and faecal contamination, to avoid any unpleasant body odour.
Neftis Laboratorios has developed a carefully formulated mild gel with an ideal pH of between 4.5 and 5.5, so as not to alter the natural flora and to increase the skin’s homeostasis. It can be used daily to help reduce the risk of recurring bacterial infections and can be used as a coadjuvant during antibiotic treatment.
INTIMATE MOISTURISING GEL
Gel cream for women’s daily intimate care. This provides natural protection to the skin and prevents discomfort, dryness, irritations and infections. It also moisturises and calms the skin, giving it a natural balance.
This is aimed at women who, over time, find it unpleasant to see their intimate area become more flaccid, wrinkled and dark. Here at Neftis Laboratorios, we have developed a brightening and rejuvenating peel for the outer part of the labia majora, with kojic acid, retinol and resorcinol. We recommend using it in continuous weekly sessions until the desired result is obtained.
It consists of a pain-free, minimally invasive, microscopic peel with pH 3.5-4.0. The aim is to lighten any marks and stimulate collagen production, making the vulvar area firmer.
This same product can also be used to get rid of any marks or lighten areas covered by skin (not on mucous membranes), such as the groin, mons pubis, perianal area and buttocks.
Instructions for use: Apply once per week. Carefully clean the area to be treated. Apply Intimate Peel. After 3-5 minutes, remove and rinse with plenty of water, then dry the area thoroughly. We recommend using it in combination with our CLEANSING GEL and INTIMATE CREAM.