Staggeringly, 60% of UK women suffer from intimate health problems each year - yet 63.3% of women don’t understand their intimate care needs. Similarly, 41.5% of women suffer from ingrown hairs yet 53% of us don’t know how to avoid them. Shockingly, 59% of UK women aren’t aware that regular shaving gels aren’t suitable for intimate use and can cause imbalances... So here's the science bit. Skin has a normal pH of between 5.4 and 5.9, but our intimate skin has a pH that is less than 4.5 - significantly lower than the rest of our bodies. The normal pH balance in the intimate skin is regulated by good bacteria in the vagina called lactobacilli, which helps to prevent the growth of harmful organisms. If the pH of the vagina increases (making it less acidic) the quantity of lactobacilli can fall and other bacteria can multiply, increasing the likelihood of infections such as bacterial vaginosis or thrush.
There are many things that can upset our pH balance, including antibiotics, pregnancy, sex, contraception, heat, sweat, hormonal changes and things such as scented panty liners. These everyday factors can irritate our intimate areas, causing itching that in itself can leave us open to bacterial infections. Although using water to cleanse and soothe our lady areas is more than acceptable, a lot of people prefer to use a more targeted and appropriate solution; SASS is an SLS and paraben free, hypoallergenic, pH balanced, dermatologically and a gynaecologically tested product that offers a pleasant alternative to fragranced shower gels we automatically turn to. Put simply, SASS says: "We are all for choice, and choice shouldn’t mean compromise." Their product range includes a cleanser, serum, hydrating gel, refreshing spritz, shaving gel, barrier cream and recovery balm for those of us who are prone to chaffing after exercise (or just a long walk in the heat!)
I've tried all of the range and I can honestly say every product has a very specific function and is a pleasure to use. Although not every product will be suitable for everyone, I love that SASS are coming to the market with something different while genuinely offering a solution - even if to a problem we didn't know we had. Their Purifying Cleanser is great for popping in the shower and using instead of your usual product (it's so gentle it feels like clouds,) while the Refreshing Mist is great for a little pre-knicker spritz; it's perfectly sized for popping in your bag for a little pick-me-up on the go too, while the design is so subtle nobody would ever know what it was. (That's the major drawer back of brands such as FemFresh, as it's so obvious you're deodorising your vagina it puts you off taking it with you!) The serums and gels offer more targeted care if you're suffering with dryness (caused more often than not by the wrong products for your needs,) while the sports products genuinely offer protection and recovery when you need it most.
Although buying specific products for your vagina may seem a little excessive for some, for others it's great to know there's something for them when they feel like they need to pay their lady parts a little more attention. Like many women, I become a little more aware of certain areas during my period and prefer to be fully equipped with all the tools to help me feel more confident. I know that nobody else can detect I'm in the middle of my lady time, but having a little spritz to freshen up or a gentle cleanser to use in the morning does make a difference. Surely that's not a bad thing? Scented shower gels, chemically saturated tampons, fancy knickers and sweaty trips on the tube can all play havoc with this area - but more often than not we just get on with it without a second thought. It's about time we stopped being embarrased and spent as much time looking after this incredibly important areas of our bodies as we do our manicures. There's no comparison, but why is one so much more socially acceptable to discuss than the other?
I'm a firm believer in discussing women's health openly and honestly, ensuring that we all have a positive outlook and understand what is actually on the spectrum of 'normal'. In America every woman has their own gynecologist and makes a regular appointment for checkups just like she would the dentist or optician; in the UK we struggle even to force ourselves along for a four-yearly smear test. What's up with that? What I love about SASS is that they're actually are trying to help - rather than just shaming us into buying their products by identifying a 'problem area'. They're not telling us our lady bits need to smell of strawberries and candy floss, or trying to guilt us into washing away the day, but providing a little confidence boost in a bottle that just happens to be good for your bits too. That's something I can get on board with... How about you?
SASS is available from Boots stores nationwide, with prices ranging from £7.00 to £14.00. Find out more about the brand, their story and the products available on their website.