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A Gynecologist and a Sex Therapist Explain Why Having a ‘Vaginal Skin-Care Routine’ Is So Important After 40

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Thankfully, we found an all-natural vaginal moisturizer doubles as a personal lubricant.

Perimenopause can start as early as your late 30s, yet there is a (slowly dissipating) cloud of secrecy around it. We’ve all heard of hot flashes and moodiness, but early hormonal fluctuations cause a plethora of lesser-known changes, including vaginal dryness and decreased lubrication. So, if your southern regions have been feeling uncharacteristically dry or sensitive, just like you would for your face or body, consider adding a vaginal emollient to your self-care routine.

Being well into the target years, I was curious to try Womaness’s Coco Bliss ($20), a vanilla-scented natural moisturizer and personal lubricant created just for that.



Womaness, Cocobliss Vaginal Moisturizer — $20.00

Pros:

  • All-natural
    Good for skin conditioning or intimacy
    Can be used all over the body
    Vegan, cruelty-free

Cons:

  • Might not be suitable for someone with coconut or nut allergy
    Can affect the efficacy of latex condoms
    May degrade silicone toys

Why mature women may want to consider a vaginal skin-care routine

You’re not alone if it has never occurred to you that vaginas may need region-specific skin care, even if your arsenal (like mine) includes creams made just for eyes, neck, or hands. I spoke with Suzanne Fenske, MD, a double board-certified gynecologist, who sheds some light on the changes our bodies experience and why Coco Bliss is ideal for treating these symptoms.

“On average, most women start experiencing symptoms of perimenopause in their early to mid-40s, but symptoms can start in late 30s,” says Dr. Fenske.

While there are dozens of symptoms women may experience, including a lowered libido, “Declining levels of estrogen can cause vaginal dryness, decreased lubrication, and thinner vaginal skin which is more susceptible to tears.”

When asked if vaginal dryness is a common patient complaint, she points to a 2020 study that found that nearly two-thirds of women experience vaginal dryness during menopause. Due to changing hormone levels, “the vaginal tissue becomes thinner and produces less hyaluronic acid,” she explains. “Declining estrogen also affects collagen production, which leads to thinner tissue.” And while hyaluronic acid and collagen are buzzy skin-care ingredients, it’s an aha moment to understand why a loss of these same components can lead to dry, sensitive skin, down there.

“In perimenopause and menopause, it is important to have a skin care routine for your vagina,” says Dr. Fenske. “This is a time when we have to treat the skin in our vagina and vulva with as much care as we treat the skin on our face.”

How Womaness Coco Bliss can help

Coco Bliss’ formula includes oils of sweet almond, coconut, and jojoba, which Dr. Fenske says are “wonderful natural options for management of vaginal dryness, and can be used as vaginal moisturizers or lubricants.” She adds that keeping skin “supple and hydrated” also supports sexual health.

According to sex therapist Emily Morse, PhD, Coco Bliss “gives you a sexy slip, but doubles as a sensual massage lotion.” Plus, she says that adding lubricant to solo or coupled play means “women are 80 percent more likely to orgasm” which is a great reason to use it, every time.

What happened when I tried it

The moisturizer is fluid, but depending on the temperature may have some bits of solid coconut oil in it, so it’s best to warm it in your hands before applying it to your nether regions.

The light vanilla coconut scent is so alluring, I’ll admit to tasting it (!) to know what to expect in the moment. Thankfully, it’s mildly sweet and inoffensive, unlike some other scented lubricants on the market. It can be applied right after shaving without causing a burning sensation or fear of putting chemicals on delicate skin.

When I first applied, there was a revelation: Comfort, silkiness, and prolonged hydration that stayed all day. I hadn’t associated occasional irritation with dryness, but the soothing qualities of Coco Bliss gave me a new perspective. Coco Bliss can be used anywhere, but I prefer to use it for the intended area because it has the perfect texture and moisture level.

Of course, consult your physician if you are experiencing any unexplained changes, itchiness, or pain. But if you have hormone-induced dryness and irritation or are looking for a nicely scented (and tasting!) all-natural personal lubricant, don’t hesitate to add Coco Bliss to your routine.