If your vagina were a song, she'd be Destiny's Child "Independent Women, Part 1"—she can take care of herself. Despite that universal truth, though, some ladies still insist on messing around or tidying up down there in the most, ah, creative of ways. Here are four common moves that can go very, very wrong.
#2 You’re Wearing the Wrong Underwear
It’s fine to throw on a revealing thong or silk panties when you want to feel a little sexier, but for everyday wear, nothing beats good old cotton underwear. According to the Women’s Health Clinic, wearing cotton underwear (or at least something with a cotton lining) helps circulate air and prevent rubbing, keeping your nether regions dry and happy.
#3 You attempt to clean inside your vagina, whether through douching or other means.
It's self-cleaning up in there! Seriously! Because of what Minkin calls "good guy bacteria" — aka lactobacilli — keeping everything nice and clean, you don't have to do a damn thing to make sure you're healthy inside your vagina.
In fact, attempting to clean in there often has the opposite effect: If you wash out all the good bacteria, you'll be left with a more basic (meaning, less acidic) vagina, which helps promote the growth of bad bacteria, leaving you more susceptible to infections, says Minkin. Not to mention, douching tends to dry you out — and a dry vagina is not a good place to be.
#4 You just scratch down there instead of getting to the root of the problem.
There are a lot of reasons your vulva might itch, whether it's because you used a vanilla-scented wash down there, had sex recently, you're experiencing some vaginal dryness, whatever. But when your genitals itch, scratching it is not the answer, because you'll wind up developing a scratch-itch cycle, says Ross: The more you scratch, the more irritated and dry that it'll get, the more you'll need to scratch, etc. etc. etc.
SO, the best thing to do is figure out the root of the problem and fix that. You can check out this post for a variety of problems that could lead to itching.
In the meantime, Ross's favorite remedy is a little coconut oil to rehydrate your skin. If you're crazy itchy, try soaking in a bath with some of that tossed in. (FYI: Oils can break down the latex in condoms, so don't use those two together.)
#5 You chill in your sweaty gym clothes after working out.
Vaginal yeast infections are super common fungal infections caused by an overgrowth of yeast in the area. Given that yeast thrives in warm moist environments, sitting around in your sweaty, tight-fighting gym clothes can increase your chances of getting an itchy yeast infection, says Minkin. Which, no thanks.