Doctors Share Their Favorite OTC Vaginal Moisturizers and Lubes
Nothing can derail your sex life like painful or uncomfortable sex. But perimenopause and menopause can result in vaginal dryness, a problem that research says affects more than half of women in their 40s, and up to three-quarters of those in their 50s. The reason? Menopause lowers estrogen levels, leading vaginal tissue to become dry and less elastic.
Some people find relief through low-dose vaginal estrogen or even vaginal laser treatments. But before you opt for these more aggressive solutions, you might consider trying a vaginal moisturizer or lubricant (which have no hormones whatsoever) to help you get back to a fulfilling sex life.
Lubes and Moisturizers: What’s the Difference?
It’s important to note the difference between a lubricant and a vaginal moisturizer. A lubricant is a product you use when you have sex, but it doesn’t relieve the dryness problem long-term. A vaginal moisturizer can be used every day, and can restore moisture with time.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” says Michael Krychman, M.D., a board-certified ob/gyn and executive director of the Southern California Center for Sexual Health and Survivorship Medicine in Newport Beach. “It takes a while for moisturizers to work—as long as you use them regularly. I’d say about three months.”
You may also want to use a vaginal moisturizer and lube in combination or a product that can be used as both.
OTC Product Options
There are many lubes and vaginal moisturizers available over-the-counter. Your doctor can help guide you to the right product for you. Once you narrow the list down to a few good options, trial and error can help you determine which one will work best for you.
We asked doctors to share their favorite OTC lubes and moisturizers to get you started.
Wet Platinum Premium Lubricant Serum
Silicone-based lubes are the best because they offer “the silkiest, most natural, and frankly, the most pleasant consistency,” says Wendy Askew, M.D., a board-certified ob/gyn in San Antonio, Texas. They also last the longest and don’t need to be reapplied as often as water-based lubricants.
“I frequently recommend Platinum ($9.99 for 3.1 fluid ounces at Walgreens) to my patients because it is also safe for use with latex condoms,” says Askew. Some other products, such as oil-based lubricants, can break down condoms, making them ineffective.
UberLube is also one of Askew’s go-to lubricant recommendations, partly because it contains a trace of vitamin E to help with lubrication and moisture. Like most silicone-based products, UberLube tends to be well tolerated with a low risk for causing irritation or reactions for most people. It also has no color or odor.
UberLube ($18.00 for 1.69 fluid ounces at UberLube.com) is on the pricey side, but may be worth the splurge if you love the discreet packaging.
Revaree ($55 for 10 vaginal inserts at HelloBonafide.com) vaginal moisturizer is a suppository that you put in the vagina before bed a few nights per week.
Reveree contains hyaluronic acid, a key molecule for skin moisture. A recent study showed that hyaluronic acid may be just as effective at treating vaginal dryness as hormones, so it offers a holistic alternative to hormonal creams, Askew says.
“Hyaluronic acid pulls in water, which is helpful for a dry vagina, and has a long-standing history of not causing issues within the body,” explains Krychman. “I like Revaree because it’s easy to use and it’s not a liquid-y cream.”
It’ll overall improve vaginal moisture, but you may also want to use a lubricant for sex.
With almond and calendula oils, Lubrigyn Cream ($12.99 at CVS) is popular among Lynn’s patients because it’s nonsticky. This multi-tasking product is a combination vaginal moisturizer and lubricant that also contains hyaluronic acid. It can be used daily to help with vaginal moisture and before sex as a lubricant. One caveat: It should not be used with condoms, since it’s oil-based.
Krychman says this vaginal lubricant is preferred by many of his patients. “Many women respond very well to this product,” he says.
Hyalo Gyn ($30 for a 30-day gel supply at HyaloGyn.com) has a cream, gel, and suppository option, and it promises to restore moisture while offering lubrication that is long-lasting and doesn’t need frequent reapplications. Some of the Hyalo Gyn products are not compatible with latex condoms, so be sure to check the package information.
AH YES! Organic Plant-Oil Based Personal Lubricant
It’s not just the promising name that makes this lubricant one to try. Askew likes AH YES! Organic Plant-Oil Based Personal Lubricant ($29.99 for 4.7 fluid ounces at LoveHoney.com) because it’s made with natural oils. She notes that it’s not likely to wear off quickly or clump up during sex the way some water-based lubricants can. But because this lubricant is oil-based, it’s not compatible with latex condoms.
“I think the whole AH YES! line is very nice, especially their variety of options,” says Askew. “They are discreet and can be ordered online, which is a pro for some people.”
Good Clean Love Almost Naked Organic Personal Lubricant
Condom and sex-toy safe, this water-based lubricant ($11.99 for 4 fluid ounces at GoodCleanLove.com) is pH-balanced and made with naturally moisturizing aloe vera.
While you’re at it, you might want to check out Good Clean Love’s other products, which include a vaginal moisturizing gel made with hyaluronic acid and a lube made for ultra-sensitive skin.
“The entire line is well received, and my patients like the products,” Krychman says.
Be aware that first-time use of some of these OTC products can cause a sensation of burning or irritation. This is common when vaginal tissue is thinned and sensitive and doesn’t necessarily mean you have an allergy to the product. With time, this should improve; but if it doesn’t, consider switching brands and/or reaching out to your doctor.
The doctors quoted in this article do not have any affiliations with the products they have recommended.
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