Words: Nicci Talbot
Most personal lubricants contain chemicals and preservatives, which can feel unpleasant: drying and irritating the skin so I haven’t enjoyed using them for this reason. The ingredients aren’t always listed on the bottle either, which is a bit suspicious as we’re left wondering what’s in them and whether they are safe to use in delicate areas. Around 60% of topical products are absorbed into the blood stream so it’s a concern especially as the mucous membranes of the vagina are a sensitive area.
Studies have also shown that some lubricants can have a negative effect on fertility. According to a 2007 report in The Ecologist ingredients such as glycerine and propylene glycol can impair sperm function making conception more difficult. Lubricants lower the natural pH of the vagina and cervical mucus so that the environment isn’t as sperm-friendly as it could be.
I mentioned this to friends and their reaction was similar to mine. Why isn’t this common knowledge given that many couples struggle to conceive naturally? Why isn’t it mandatory to state the ingredients on the label so that we can go off and do our own research? Part of the problem is that the cosmetics and personal products industry isn’t regulated so manufacturers don’t have to justify what ingredients they are using in their products.