May 31

The Quick and Dirty Guide to Lubricants

If you’ve seen one of our pelvic floor physiotherapists you’ve more than likely been given a spiel on using lubricant. Today we’re going to slip into the details about how to choose a lubricant best suited to your needs.

First, it's crucial to understand the different types of lubricant available. There are water based, oil based, or silicone based (and then of course there are hybrids just to make things even more complex)

Here are some of the characteristics of each type of lube and some considerations.

Water-based lubricants:

  • Can be a thicker like gel (might feel more sticky)
  • Can also be thin and more “natural” feeling (ie. not sticky)
  • Safe to use with any sex toys, condoms, dams or diaphragms (will not damage or break down materials)
  • Easy to clean up and will not stain clothing or bedding
  • May require multiple applications as it will absorb into the skin
  • May be moisturizing – if you have vaginal dryness look for information stating the lubricant has “iso-osmolar” properties
  • Cannot be used in shower or bath

Our recommended lubricant: H20 Sliquid Natural

Why: with as few ingredients as possible, this is our top choice for personal use. It is free of the common irritants and is available for purchase at our clinic locations – that’s how much we love it. It is safe to use with all silicone based products that may be recommended by your therapist.

Other top contenders: Good Clean Love (iso-osmolar) and Slippery Stuff

Silicone-based lubricants:

  • Thin, non-sticky and long lasting
  • Will not absorb into the skin or have moisturizing properties – needs to be washed off skin afterwards
  • Safe to use with condoms, dams or diaphragms
  • Not compatible with silicone based toys (other materials are okay)
  • Will stain sheets/clothing
  • Difficult to clean if spilled on furniture, flooring, etc.
  • Can be used in shower or bath

Our recommended lubricant: Silver Sliquid Natural

Other top contenders: Uberlube

Oil-based lubricants:

  • Optimal for external use and massage
  • Only compatible with polyurethane, nitrile and lambskin condoms (will result in breakdown of condoms made from latex or polyisoprene
  • Can break down sex toys made from silicone or latex
  • Can contain oils derived from nuts and should be avoided by those with allergies
  • Will stain sheets/clothing
  • Can be used in the shower or bath
  • May cause changes to bacterial flora of the vagina and increase risk for bacterial vaginosis or yeast infections, etc

If you’re someone who has sensitive skin that is easily irritated by lubricant ingredients, avoid lubricants with the following additives:

Irritants often found in lubricants:

  • Flavoring
  • Heating or cooling ingredients
  • Parabens
  • Glycerine
  • Propylene glycol
 Still have questions? Ask one of our pelvic floor physiotherapists!

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