By Mariessa Mahfouz

Vaginal and vulvar dryness is a common condition experienced by many women. While a change in hormones from menopause, postpartum or breastfeeding can result in dryness, many medications can also cause vaginal and vulvar dryness, including birth control, anti-histamines and anti-depressants. Women can experience painful burning and itching, and can be uncomfortable in not only sexual activity, but daily life as well.

When it comes to over-the-counter solutions, the amount of products on the shelves can be overwhelming for patients and many cannot distinguish between vaginal moisturizers, lubricants and the hybrids.

Vaginal moisturizers are used on a regular basis to help hydrate the vaginal tissues and are often applied internally to moisturize the vaginal lining. Lubricants, on the other hand, are designed to ease sexual activity. Lubricants can be silicone-based, oil-based, or water-based. Silicone lubricants are long-lasting and ultra-slippery; however, since silicone is not absorbed and does not evaporate, it is often required that the product is washed off. Silicones can also cause irritation on sensitive skin. Oil-based lubricants are very slippery and will require little reapplication; however, oils can stain sheets and clothing and will require washing off as well. Finally, water-based lubricants are often gentle on the skin and since they evaporate or are absorbed by the body, they also may require reapplication.

Finally, a moisturizing lubricant can be used as a daily moisturizer as well as a lubricant in sexual activity. With all of the products on the market today, it is important for consumers to take note of ingredients in products. Ingredients such as propylene glycol, parabens, hydroxides, warming agents and other chemicals can cause irritations and flair up infections in sensitive patients. Moreover, whether it is a moisturizer, lubricant, or moisturizing lubricant, a pH-balanced product is important as to not disrupt the delicate vaginal pH level.

Most of all, slashing the possible embarrassment that patients may feel when discussing options for dryness is the first step. Next, education on the underlying causes of dryness as well as education on product quality and ingredients is equally as important.


Mariessa Mahfouz is the CEO of SYLK USA, the only all-natural moisturizing lubricant made from New Zealand kiwifruit vine extract. SYLK is ultra-slippery, pH balanced, FDA 510(k) Cleared, and is not made with parabens, chemicals, hormones, or fragrances. Many of today’s consumers are unaware of the harsh and often, irritating chemicals found in many over the counter personal lubricants. Mariessa is dedicated to promoting sexual wellness by igniting and growing conversation and education on the importance of sexual health as a part of overall wellness as well as bringing light to health-conscious, all-natural solutions for sexual wellness in the personal care category.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease