What is in your favourite lube? What makes that massage oil tingle? You might already be ingredient savvy or you may just be curious, but either way, check out these (sometimes) confusing ingredients and gain some priceless knowledge on how these products may effect you!
Found in many products including soap, sexual lubricants, body care items and food, glycerin or glycerine is the common name for glycerol. It is a sugar alcohol that is sweet-tasting and acts as a humectant to keep things moist. It is water soluble and easy to wash away. While glycerine is less sweet that table sugar, it is still a sugar and this can be a problem for some women susceptible to yeast infections. There is a debate as to whether or not it is the "right type of sugar" to promote yeast but anecdoatally, Good For Her has spoken to many women who have found that glycerin can exagerate existing yeast issues. If you never get yeast infections and have spic and span vaginal ecology, products containing glycerine should not be a problem for you. Glycerin in some lubes can make it become sticky or tacky after the water in the lube has evaporated. These lubes just need a little hydration: add some saliva, water or a little more lube to bring back the slipperyness.
Vegetable Glycerin(e) just refers to the original source of the fat that the glycerin is derived from, usually coconut or palm oils. Vegans and vegetarians would want to look for products that specifically state "vegetable glycerin" in the ingredients list.
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Parabens are found in many body products and act as a preservative as well as having antiseptic properties. Parabens include, and are often listed as propyl, butyl and isobutyl parabens. They are are rapidly absorbed, metabolized, and excreted. In the last few years concerns as to allergic reactions and health risks have been associated with parabens. Parabens have been linked to having estrogenic effects or act as phytoestrogens. These substances are being investigated with regard to negative effects on the body's natural estrogen function and some studies suggest that parabens may be linked to cancer. While some studies remain inconclusive, here is a study that shows some clear links. Although there is no ban on the use of a parabens in North America, many people choose to limit or avoid exposure to products containing these ingredients. Some people experience allergic reactions to parabens in the form of skin irritations and contact dermatitis. If you suffer from a paraben allergy or want to avoid parabens, there are now some products on the market that do not contain this ingredient.
For paraben-free lubricants, check out Sliquid Organics, Hathor Aprohdisia and silicone lubricants.
Propylene Glycol is used as a preservative and emollient and is in almost every body product, including toothpaste, cosmetics, mouthwash and medications. Emollients are thickening agents and this stuff also keeps things hydrated and wet. Most lubricants and lotions contain propylene glycol because we want these products to be moisturizing and to not dry out. The most famous use for this substance is de-icing fluid or anti-freeze - it keeps it wet and temperature neutral. Propylene glycol is US FDA approved and on the Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) list. Allergies may occur in people with skin sensitivities, including women with vulvodynia and vaginitis or interstital cystits. Women who suffer from persistent yeast infections may also want to avoid propylene glycol. Toxcicty is associated with ethylene glycol (another ingredient in anti-freeze), not propylene glycol.