The Best Lubes For Sensitive Skin
The Debrief: Not all lubes are created equal - here are the best ones for sensitive skin
Not all lubes are created equal, and picking the right one – especially if you've got sensitive skin – can be a literal stinging pain in the arse. We've rounded up some of the best recommended lubes for sensitive skin, as well as a few hints and tips on how to know what to keep in your bedside drawer.
Lubes for sensitive skin: ingredients
There are a number of things found in standard lubes that can irritate your skin: glycerin, for one, is a common ingredient found in flavoured lubes in particular. Parabens and aspartame are also common ingredients that could leave you feeling itching or burning sensations.
pH balance of sensitive lubes
Thanks to a drunken night with some pH testing swabs, I now know the exact pH of my vagina after four pints. In case you don't (and why would you?), your vaginal pH should be somewhere between 3.5-4.5. Lubes which are either more alkali or more acidic than that will mess with your natural pH and could cause irritation.
Sensitive (and non-sensitive) lubes: the basics
If you're looking for a lubricant to use with sex toys and condoms, you need to go for a water-based formula. That's because oil-based condoms don't play nicely with condoms – they degrade the latex meaning the condom is more likely to break. And silicon-based lubes, while they feel silkier, aren't compatible with many sex toys.
So: which lubes should you go for if you have sensitive skin?
Pjur - water-based lube for sensitive skin
A friend of mine who is a porn producer swears by Pjur, and always has bottles of it handy on her sets. This one's specifically designed for people with sensitive skin, and contains none of the irritants such as aspartame, glycerin, and paraben that are found in more common lubes. It's also water-based, so unlike silicon-based lubes you can use it with your sex toys.
Sliquid is a ridiculously popular lube among sex bloggers I know, and I think that's because it does some of the sensitive skin things as standard. It's glycerin-free and paraben-free, and in fact it only has a few core ingredients, because the aim is always to keep it simple. Which is very good for sensitive skin.
YES BUT - anal lube
This lube boasts that it is 'designed to match tissue osmolality' which – don't panic – I didn't understand at first glance either. However, one of the problems with many common (read: cheap) lubes is that they don't often match the osmolality of your tissues. Long story short: if they don't match the lube can either suck moisture out of your skin, or over-hydrate your skin, leaving discomfort either way.
YES BUT has not only been tested and matched for this stuff, it's also matched specifically to the pH of your anus – which is different to the pH of your vagina. So if you're looking for an anal-specific lube, this one's a pretty good bet.
YES - oil-based lube
Not everyone wants a water-based lube: sometimes oil-based ones make for excellent massages pre-shag, as well as lubrication when you get down to it. So I wanted to find an oil-based lube that was also free from things like aspartame and glycerin, and voila: YES oil-based lube is designed for sensitive skin, and has that slippery oiliness that's often fun for massages. Remember the point above, though: oil-based lubes aren't safe to use with condoms because the oil degrades the latex and makes breakages more likely. So only go for this if you're not using condoms at the same time.
This is an organic, aloe-based lube which also comes free from glycerin and the other additives that are likely to irritate sensitive skin. What's more it's totally safe to use with condoms, toys, and whatever else you like.
I haven't used this one personally, but I've heard excellent things about it from other people. Again it's made with aloe vera, and it's also absent any of the chemicals that could cause irritation. It doesn't seem to be stocked in any of the standard sex toy shops, but you can pick it up on Amazon if you want to try.
Can you use coconut oil as lube?
In the course of researching this, I found lots of people who recommended using coconut oil as lube. And to be fair, they have a point: it's natural, so again free from many of the things that might otherwise irritate you, and it has the added bonus that it smells totally awesome, whereas many lubes for sensitive skin forego nice scents and flavours to avoid having to add chemicals. But is it a good lube? Well, yes and no. Experts say that while it's extremely moisturising, it's also antibacterial and the ph isn't quite matched, so it could disrupt the natural balance of your vagina. What's more, the fact that it's an oil means it fails the 'compatible with condoms' test. It's a toss-up, really: if you fancy having a go try with a small amount and see how you feel. If it turns out its not for you, I hear you can also use coconut oil to make a pretty awesome curry.
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