If you have a skin condition, allergies or just sensitive skin, finding the right topical products can be a big challenge. Lubricants are, unfortunately, no exception. Irritation in the form of burning, itching or swelling of the nether regions is never fun, to say the least. Here are some lube types that can help you avoid any post- (or mid-!) sex skin catastrophes.
Because their main ingredient is good old H₂O, water-based lubricants are a great starting point. They're also versatile, able to be used with both latex and nonlatex condoms, and may even decrease the risk of breakage, which is great news if you're using condoms to avoid pregnancy and/or STDs. They won't break down the silicone in your sex toys, either, so they're safe to use with those as well. When you're done with the fun, water-based lubes wash away easily with water.
However, because they wash away easily with water, this type of lube doesn't do well in the shower, and may need frequent reapplication. As with any lube, many brands contain glycerin, a common irritant, as well as parabens, which may also cause a reaction. Check the ingredients list and do a small skin test before use.
Speaking of silicone sex toys, if you have used them before with no issues, you're likely in the clear to also use silicone-based lube during intercourse. Silicone is hypoallergenic, so most people won't have a skin reaction to it. Also, a little bit goes a long way, so you won't need to reapply silicone-based lubes as often. However, this does mean that it can stick around longer than desired, and may take more vigorous washing to completely get rid of.
Another benefit of silicone-based lubes is that they're super-slippery and an effective choice for vaginal dryness, which could result from hormonal changes from menopause or birth control. A drawback, however, is that they aren't usually recommended for use with silicone sex toys as they can break down their materials over time. They may also stain sheets and surfaces if spilled.
Despite its intimidating name, hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring (and extremely moisturizing) substance. In fact, it's a big name in skin care for its hydrating properties. Its main function is to retain water, so it makes sense that it would help keep your skin healthy and hydrated. Hyaluronic acid lubricants work by drawing moisture into the skin (vaginal or rectal) and holding it there. While it's a great ingredient to look for, it's still relatively new on the sex-accessory market, so the limits of effectiveness and any drawbacks are still fairly unknown.
Finding what works for you
Nearly 75 percent of women will experience pain during intercourse at some point in their lives, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Lubrication can go a long way toward greater comfort.
If you are allergic to specific ingredients found in common skincare products, you should make a detailed list to discuss with your OB-GYN before trying certain lubricants. Your physician can likely make recommendations on which types of lube to avoid with your specific skin sensitivities.
You deserve to maximize your pleasure when being pleasured, and finding the right lube can help you achieve that.