The lubrication industry — a $219 million dollar business in the U.S. — is currently led by giants K-Y Jelly (produced by Johnson & Johnson) and Astroglide (a product of BioFilm Inc). And, while their marketing departments agree that sex cannot happen without their lube, sane folks are wondering about the synthetic and toxic ingredients of any mainstream product, including lubricants.
Escorts should be especially careful when making choices about their personal lubricants. Because they use lube more frequently than other people who do not engage in sexual intimacy as often, escorts may experience severe side effects from damaging ingredients. Experts urge consumers to look past the name brand hype and the fancy packaging and refer to the ingredient panel, instead. Escorts should use these precautions when they make choices for professional use:
- Warming lubricants may damage genital and rectal tissue. Biophysicists commissioned by the National Institute of Health discovered that warming gels (also referred to as hyperosmolar lubes in scientific circles) are actually heavier than the genital skin they come into contact with. As a result, they create a “warming” sensation through squeezing the human tissue. The skin cells react by shriveling in response, with many of them dying. As they die, they fall off, leaving tiny tears in the genital tissue that compromises immunity functions of the body.
- Hyperosmolar lubricants increase your chances for contracting bacterial vaginosis (BV). Scientists have linked warming gels to increased cases of BV; women who use these lubricants were found to be 13 times more likely to contract BV than women who used no lubricants at all. What makes this statistic worse is that 84 percent of women do not know they have the condition. Infection of BV makes a woman 60 percent more likely to be susceptible to other serious sexually-transmitted infections, including HIV.
The mucous membranes in the vagina and vulva absorb ingredients into the body. Escorts should be concerned with repeated use of lubes with synthetic or toxic compounds in them. Occasional use should not be an issue, but when an escort utilizes the lubricant several times a day or week, it increases the concentration of chemicals she puts against her skin. Because the genital membranes are receptive, she increases her chances that toxic levels of unsafe chemicals are absorbed into her system.
- Lubes containing parabens should be chosen with care. Parabens are preservatives used in cosmetics and personal care products (such as soap, moisturizer, deodorant and shaving cream) that extend shelf life and prevent bacterial or fungal growths. The compounds are formed from acid and alcohol. Scientists have found the chemicals to be linked to breast cancer occurrence and fertility issues, although they have not been determined to be the underlying cause. Nothing conclusive has been found that demonstrates parabens cause cancer, but inconclusive data remains hindering a consensus in the medical world. The chemicals are under current investigation by the Food and Drug Administration. Questions surrounding the chemicals should be enough to cause an escort to carefully consider her choices.
- Petroleum or petroleum-derived ingredients may lead to infection or discomfort. Often found in multi-purpose lubricants such as Vaseline or others including Astroglide, these chemicals are also widely used in antifreeze, paint and oven cleaners. Impurities found in the ingredients have been linked to cancer and other health conditions. The chemicals cause the skin to be coated, which stops it from “breathing.” If the skin becomes impermeable, bacteria may be trapped, leading quickly to infection. Proven to be irritants, these chemicals may cause an escort’s vaginal area to itch or burn. In addition to being a skin irritant, petroleum and petroleum-derived products create an alkaline environment in the vagina, reducing its acidity. Without an acidic environment to fight off infections, women experience increased numbers of yeast infections or other disorders. In addition to health concerns, petroleum-based lubes are hard on condoms, weakening them and causing them to lose elasticity (making them loose).
- Silicone oils may cause toxic side effects. Despite silicone-based lubes being the “go-to” choice for many escorts, they may cause increased likelihoods for yeast infections and other bacterial growths in the vaginal area. Through coating the skin, much like the petroleum-based products, the skin loses its normal function to breathe. Bacteria becomes trapped, causing the pH balance to change quickly. As the pH balance shifts in the vagina, infections occur.
- Lubricants containing phenoxyethanol should be avoided. A preservative in cosmetics to create longer shelf lives, phenoxyethanol has been linked to contact dermatitis, eczema, reproductivity toxicity and neurotoxicity. It negatively affects the immune system and is a suspected carcinogen. (However, the research still yields some conflicting arguments for and against the preservative.) Despite any other scientific knowledge about the ingredient, it is also known for being a skin irritant. If you notice that you experience burning or itching after using lube, this ingredient may be the culprit.
- Glycerin and glucose ingredients may increase the chances of yeast infections. Sugars in a lubricant don’t seem like they would be dangerous, however they do pose risks to an escort’s health, especially when used more often than recommended. The sugars in these lubricants feed the Candida in your vagina. Although Candida are healthy yeasts, it is unhealthy for them to grow excessively. Also, the sugars may cause cells to eject water to correct the right balance to your genital tissues. After the cells have ejected water, they dry up and die, causing damage to the tissue. As tissue is damaged, it may provide points of entry for disease or other infections.
- Chlorhexidine is a skin irritant. Found in multi-purpose lubes such as K-Y Jelly, chlorhexidine is actually applied most often as an antiseptic that effectively fights bacteria growth. However, due to its strength, it’s usually irritating to the skin, especially the sensitive skin of the vaginal territory. Redness, swelling, itching and burning are common symptoms after repeated use of lube containing chlorhexidine.
- Spermicide nonoxynol-9 may cause genital tissue problems. The Centers for Disease Control reported that the ingredient may cause genital lesions or cause direct damage to the rectal lining. If damage to the lining occurs, the tears provide entry paths for STDs and unhealthy bacteria. Lubricants using this spermicide as an ingredient should not be used more than once per day or for anal intercourse, according to reports made to National Public Radio by medical professionals. “One of the risks that everybody who uses spermicide should be aware of is that if there is a likelihood that your partner may have one of these sexually transmitted diseases, then it should probably be used with caution,” says Michael Rosenberg, a former researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “A product like this is probably best used with a couple who is monogamous.” Even though the ingredient is effective at killing microorganisms that actually cause STDs, it irritates the cells so much they become more vulnerable to infection by those same viruses and bacteria.
When you use it frequently, it can actually erode a lot of the cells that are present that help protect against these diseases,
- Consider natural alternatives. Organic or ingredients occurring naturally in the environment are safer choices for your body and its health. Consider using aloe vera gel, Vitamin E oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, almond oil, coconut oil or olive oil as options for lubricants. However, not all of these are latex condom compatible. Non-latex condoms should be used with any natural lubricant that may cause a condom to break down.