What is 'winter vagina'?

Are you struggling with winter vagina? Well, if you’re feeling a little dry and irritated between the thighs, the drop in temperature could be behind it. You’ve probably already noticed that your skin and hair feel dry and damaged during the winter months, but they aren’t the only areas that feel the effects. Here we’ll explain a bit more about the winter vagina and what you can do to avoid it.

Why does our skin get dry in winter?

Firstly, let’s take a little trip back to school with a mini science lesson. Your skin has various layers, the outermost layer known as the epidermis. You also have a thinner outer layer called the stratum corneum - which acts as a protective barrier to all the other layers underneath. This layer is made up of dead skin cells and your skin’s natural fats aka lipids. 

Your skin’s main role is to protect the body from toxins in the environment that could harm you - a pretty important job for the body’s biggest organs. To work effectively, your skin needs moisture - which means dry and damaged skin is unable to protect you properly. It’s always important to keep your skin hydrated, but that becomes even more crucial during the winter months. 

But why is that? Well firstly, research has shown that there is simply less moisture in the air during Winter. This is down to a change in humidity caused by the drop in temperatures. This means your poor skin is struggling to retain its natural moisture, whilst also battling with a dry atmosphere. When it’s cold we also have fewer lipids in the skin (remember those great natural fats we talked about earlier?) which means the dead skin cells takeover. Ever notice that your hands feel dry and sore if you forget to wear your gloves? Well, that’s why!

Speaking of gloves, we also have to remember that our clothing choices and lifestyle habits change during Winter and this can also lead to dry skin. From wearing lots of layers that don’t let our skin breathe to turning the heating up to full blast or warming up with hot baths, all the things that help us feel cosy could be damaging our skin - and there’s even science to back it up!

So, what is winter vagina?

The term winter vagina is hot on Google right now - and for good reason. People are realising that it’s not just our face and hands that struggle in the skin department when temperatures get a little chilly. 

Sure, our vaginas and vulvas aren’t exposed to the elements, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t at risk of dryness and irritation. Your intimate area is one of the most sensitive parts of your body, so it makes sense that it doesn’t deal well with all the damage coming its way from hot baths or showers. Likewise, think about how many layers you’re wearing down there when it’s cold. From thermal underwear to tights (and even salopettes!) our vagina rarely gets a moment to breathe. Tight clothes and thick fabrics lock in sweat and moisture, which can encourage yeast infections as well as dryness and irritation. 

Another thing to note is that the reduction in natural skin fats is happening around your vulva and vagina, as well as your face, so extra hydration during this time is essential.  Beauty experts often suggest increasing the use of moisturiser around Winter - and your vulva’s skincare routine is just as important as your facial one. 

How can I stop my vulva and vagina from getting dry?

If you want to prevent dryness when the weather outside is frightful, you need to think about what you are putting in and on your body. Firstly, eating foods that support vaginal health is crucial. Sugary, processed foods can mess with both your pH and hormone balance which can trigger dryness and irritation - whereas a diet full of healthy fruit and vegetable can help to keep Winter Vagina symptoms at bay. Another thing to bear in mind is giving our vagina space to breathe as much as possible. Tights and layers make be unavoidable when you’re outside braving the cold, but when you’re home, go underwear free or choose something light and breathable like cotton panties. 

When it comes to caring for your skin, choose your products carefully. With the delicate pH balance of your intimate area, you don’t just want to slather it in any old moisturiser and soaps can make dryness issues worse. Instead, focus on products that are created with your vaginal health in mind. Our Moisturizing Intimate Cleanser is the perfect product for freshening up after a long day wandering around in layers. Not only is it fragrance-free with no chemicals or hormones but it is also optimised for osmolality. 

What is osmolality? 

Ok, strap in for another science lesson. 

Remember when you were taught about osmosis at school? It’s the process of water molecules moving across a semi-permeable membrane from an area of high water concentration to a region of low water concentration. It’s usually associated with plants getting water from the soil - Mother Nature loves a bit of balance! - but it’s also how our skin absorbs water molecules from the world around us - and from products. 

Osmolality describes whether a product has “water giving” or “water taking” properties. You’d think that anything claiming to hydrate your skin should have its osmolality on point, but that’s not always the case. 

If a product isn’t osmolality optimised it means that whilst they might give the short term appearance of moisturization, they could actually be drawing water out of the skin cells - causing dryness down the line. Using products with optimised osmolality is really important if you want a happy and healthy vagina and vulva. Get the balance wrong and it could actually make the symptoms of Winter Vagina worse! 

If you want to protect your vagina from dryness and irritation through Winter - and every other season! - check out our full range of Intimate Wellness products - all created with the delicate balance of your body in mind! 

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