You may have seen it in anti-aging serums, daily facial cleansers, or even as a supplement. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is one of the trendiest ingredients on drugstore shelves today. And some of the most exciting developments in hyaluronic acid are the revolutionary ways HA locks in moisture in the vagina – something we took note of several years ago and used in product development for our new BioNourish™ Ultra Moisturizing Vaginal Gel with Hyaluronic Acid.
Gynecologists, pelvic floor therapists, oncologists, and more are increasingly recommending hyaluronic acid as a powerful tool in treating advanced cases of sensitive or damaged tissue. It is truly a powerhouse ingredient. But hyaluronic acid is not just for the exceptional cases. Studies show that women who experience everyday vaginal dryness at any age can also benefit from regular use of a moisturizer with this ultra-soothing ingredient.
Why do women experience dryness in the first place, and what are the benefits of hyaluronic acid as a top-tier moisturizing treatment? We'll explore all of this and more below.
Who Experiences Vaginal Dryness?
Dryness (or a lack of vaginal lubrication) can occur in adult women of any age, due to a wide range of causes. Roughly 20% of women under the age of 60, and two-thirds of women over the age of 60 say that vaginal dryness is one of their top sexual health problems. The culprit is typically linked to changes or fluctuations in hormone levels – but, not always. We also know that this dryness can cause pain, discomfort, itching, and is likely to have an impact on intimacy.
Here are the most common reasons for vaginal dryness:
- Breastfeeding and post-partum
- Birth control
- Cancer treatment
- Surgical removal of the ovaries
- Autoimmune disorders like Sjogren’s syndrome
- Arousal non-concordance
- Low sexual desire
- Trauma or stress
If these symptoms sound familiar, you aren’t alone. The first step you should take when experiencing vaginal dryness is to consult your doctor. Your physician or healthcare provider can help understand the cause and recommended treatments.
Dryness and Intimacy
The truth is that intercourse without sufficient natural female lubrication is a guaranteed to end in painful sex. Dryness may even start to impact your libido and be the gateway to ongoing sexual discomfort.
The good news: a lubricant or moisturizing gel can save the day. Using a good, healthy lube for women is one of the simplest ways to prevent and help eliminate this persistent cycle of sexual dysfunction.
We’ve now explored why dryness occurs. How can hyaluronic acid help turn things around?
Hyaluronic Acid 101
While the name might sound scary, hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring chemical in our body and an important humectant – something that reduces the loss of moisture. A key player in tissue regeneration, hyaluronic acid’s job is to retain water to keep our tissues well lubricated and moist, and is found throughout our connective, epithelial, and neural tissues.
How Does HA Help Our Bodies Work Better?
Hyaluronic acid plays an important role in most functions having to do with moisture retention in our tissues, including:
- Skin elasticity
- Joint health
- Tissue regeneration
- Eye lubrication
- Wound recovery
We are also learning more every day about the benefits of hyaluronic acid treatments through clinical trials and other research. One study shows the potential use of hyaluronic acid to relieve interstitial cystitis, a painful bladder condition affecting 3% to 6% of women.
Is Hyaluronic Acid Safe to Use Internally?
Yes! In fact, Good Clean Love CEO and founder Wendy Strgar was first drawn to hyaluronic acid after reading a 2013 paper on its safe and effective use in the vagina. Researchers found that hyaluronic acid’s hydrating capabilities make it an ultra effective treatment for the relief of vaginal dryness.
Additionally, the Environmental Working Group rates hyaluronic acid as a “1” on their 1-to-10 ingredient hazard scale, with 1 being the least concern for interactions with your body. When it comes to ratings for cancer concern, developmental and reproductive toxicity concern, and allergies and immunotoxicity concern, hyaluronic acid is also listed as “low”.
Concerned about allergies? Since the body naturally produces hyaluronic acid, allergic reactions are rare.
Top 5 Reasons to Try Hyaluronic Acid
1. It Has Anti-Aging Properties
Similar to collagen or calcium, our bodies produce an abundance of hyaluronic acid when we’re young, but as we age, we produce less – resulting in drier skin, slower recovery for tissues, and less flexible joints. Adding hyaluronic acid back into your body through a moisturizer, serum, cosmetic filler, or supplement can halt and even reverse these signs of aging.
2. It Locks In Moisture
These days, hyaluronic acid is making headlines because of its ability to retain moisture where it’s most needed, capable of binding several times its weight in water. When added to products like creams, gels, or serums, hyaluronic acid locks in their existing moisturizing properties even longer.
3. It Is Recommended By OB/GYNs
As mentioned earlier, OB/GYNs are at the forefront of developing new ways to use hyaluronic acid to boost vaginal lubrication, especially with patients going through menopause or cancer treatment. Menopause commonly lasts four to five years and like any major life transition, it can feel daunting due to the gradual drop in estrogen production and all of the accompanying symptoms. One of the most common symptoms is a condition called vulvovaginal atrophy, which causes tissue degeneration, irritation, and dryness as the name suggests. Vaginal atrophy is also frequently seen in cancer patients whose treatments can cause sudden hormonal changes.
According to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, moisturizers with hyaluronic acid are among their top recommended ways to improve tissue quality and hydration.
4. It Can Make Sex Less Painful
Women coping with painful sex on a regular basis, particularly those with dyspareunia, vaginal atrophy, or pelvic floor disorders, are often trying to relieve vaginal dryness as a root issue. According to physical therapist Allison Ariail, the improvement of vaginal dryness through treatments like hyaluronic acid can significantly improve symptoms of painful sex for many women.
5. It May Be an Effective Hormone Replacement Alternative
There are a variety of reasons that patients may want to avoid estrogen-based treatment, including being diagnosed with estrogen-receptor-positive cancer or simply wanting to avoid putting synthetic hormones in their bodies.
In a 2013 study, hyaluronic acid was compared with a popular estrogen cream for relief of vaginal dryness. The authors found hyaluronic acid just as effective as estriol and “suggest using hyaluronic acid vaginal gel not only as an alternative treatment to vaginal estrogens, but also to consider its general use in women presenting with vaginal dryness of any cause.” If you don't want to use a vaginal moisturizer with estrogen, a product like BioNourish with hyaluronic acid can be a great alternative.
Why We Developed BioNourish
Our CEO and founder Wendy Strgar developed BioNourish in response to numerous gynecologic oncologists’ requests. One oncologist explained that she sees so many women arrive at a situation where their vaginal epithelium simply cannot hold any water anymore. As we know, hyaluronic acid is unique in its moisture-locking capabilities, so it was the perfect choice for BioNourish to help the sensitive vaginal tissue retain moisture and heal.
The only other product on the market for vaginal use that includes hyaluronic acid is Hyalo Gyn. However, Hyalo Gyn is made in a base of glycol derived from petroleum, known to affect sensitive vaginal tissues. Gylcol is also hyper-osmolar which can damage the mucous membranes of your vagina. (Read more about osmolality here.) All of Good Clean Love's lubricants and moisturizers are formulated to be iso-osmatic, or almost identical to natural female secretions.
How Does BioNourish Compare to Restore® Moisturizer?
A comparison between our vaginal moisturizers (BioNourish™ and Restore®) is very similar to a comparison of our lubricants (BioNude™ and Almost Naked®). It all comes down to their base ingredients.
Almost Naked and Restore are formulated using an organic aloe base, and are lightly, naturally flavored. Aloe creates a lubricant that perfectly mimics natural feminine moisture and our low-micro variety lets us keep preservative levels low. Almost Naked and Restore are best for individuals who don’t typically experience skin sensitivities or allergic reactions.
BioNude and BioNourish, by comparison, are formulated using a hydroxyethylcellulose base.Both are hypoallergenic and unflavored. Hydroxyethylcellulose is derived from cellulose, which is found in the cell walls of green plants and is commonly used as a thickening agent. BioNude and BioNourish are best suited for individuals with sensitive skin or those who may need to accommodate atrophied or otherwise compromised vaginal tissues. Additionally, both BioNude and BioNourish match the salts of vaginal secretions making them better able to Bio-Match® to your own natural moisture.
Tips for Choosing a Vaginal Moisturizer
We believe that ingredients matter in deciding what kind of product to use on and inside your body. Our Bio-Match technology was formulated under the guidance of independent scientific research led by Johns Hopkins biophysicist Dr. Richard Cone with the goal of making intimacy products that Work the Way You Do™. And the key to maintaining a healthy vaginal ecosystem is promoting conditions that match optimal vaginal pH and salt balance.
The great thing about using an advanced hyaluronic acid gel like BioNourish is that it not only acts as a natural vaginal moisturizer with ultra-soothing results, but it’s also pH balanced and salt balanced, so it supports the good bacteria that will keep your vagina healthy and feeling its best. Another perk? While BioNourish is designed to be used as a regular moisturizer for dryness, it can also be used during intercourse as a natural lubricant.
To learn more about why maintaining a healthy vaginal ecosystem is important, check out this article on a groundbreaking NIH study on personal lubricants.
Make Hyaluronic Acid a Part of Your Self-Care Routine
Put an end to chronic dryness and discomfort, and lock in moisture with BioNourish™ Ultra-Moisturizing Vaginal Gel with Hyaluronic Acid.