All Articles Tagged "smell"
Q: When it comes to vaginal odor, what’s normal and how can you improve your smell?
It is important to talk not only about vaginal odor but also vaginal discharge because that is what usually causes the odor you smell. It is quite normal to have vaginal discharge because it helps in lubricating your female parts and acts as a “cleaner” to help remove cells and bacteria from your system. Usually, vaginal discharge can be clear, white or light yellow in color. Things like sex, diet, your menstrual cycle, contraceptive use, pregnancy, antibiotics, and the use of hygiene products can influence the colors and the odor of vaginal discharge. Just like your breath or your feet, having a certain mild odor from your vagina can be normal.
When should you be concerned and how do you improve the smell?
First of all, you know your body. If you smell vaginal odor that is stronger than what you feel is normal, it may just be the body telling you that something is wrong. There are certain smells that have been linked to certain infections. For example, usually if your vagina starts to smell “fishy,” it is likely because of an overgrowth of a certain bacteria that causes an infection called bacterial vaginosis. In addition, symptoms such as itching, burning, redness, soreness, greenish-yellow discharge, bleeding, pain with sex, stomach pain, or pelvic pain suggest that you are dealing with something not normal. If this is the case, talk to your doctor about it. It might be an infection that needs to be treated or may signal something else of concern with your female parts.
It is common practice to use feminine hygiene products or to douche the smell away. Douching changes the delicate balance and ph of your vagina, which potentially leads to an overgrowth of infection-causing bacteria (eg, yeast infection). Overall, douching is not a good option for vaginal odors as it can cause or make worse any infection within your female parts.
However, there are other ways to keep your vagina healthy and prevent any smell from occurring. First of all, it is best to use water or unscented non-soap cleanser to clean your female parts. Don’t be afraid to use your hands to wash your “va jay jay.” Try to avoid using washcloths. When you go to the bathroom, wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria from your butt region to your vagina. Either rinse your female parts with water or pat it dry after going to the bathroom. Try to avoid using scented products as it can irritate your female parts or potentially cause an infection. Wear cotton or cotton-lined underwear to keep the area cool. Avoid tight pants and skip the pantyhose in the summer. Lastly, as certain STDs (eg, gonorrhea, Chlamydia) can also cause a smell “down there,” practicing safe sex will help reduce the risk of getting these diseases, and ultimately, getting a certain smell from them.
If I could bend y’alls ear for a few minutes and trouble you about something that’s been bugging me for a while: Why is it so damn hard to find a good bottle of lotion?
I know what you’re thinking: there are so many more serious things happening in the world and you want to discuss lotion? Well yes. And secondly, nobody told you to click the link. With that said, as we are all well aware, black folks’ skin is very sensitive to the elements. In the winter our skin suffers from the harsh winds and in the summer, our skin succumbs to the drying effects of the hot sun, and when we’re ashen, the whole world can tell. As such, we’ve got to lube up to keep from turning into Ashy Larry or the lone tumbleweed rolling through the Atacama Desert.
Besides the NYPD, the Republicans and possibly sitting through another season of “Basketball Wives,” there is no other greater fear for black folks (or black women at least) than to be ashy in public. Am I right? Of course I am. We all spend countless minutes in our rooms, applying various concoctions to ensure the beautiful glow to our red bone to mahogany-complexioned skin. But most times it is hit or miss. Sometimes you can make it through an entire day looking like the Black Gold of the Sun, while other days, you look more like someone dusted you with a box of confectioner’s sugar. I can’t be the only one that has difficulty finding a good bottle of lotion nowadays.
Back in the day, say around the late ’70s to early ’80s, it seemed like lotion technology was much more simple. We had a number of black owned skin-care companies, which catered to our special skin needs. We had an ample supply of real cocoa butter and Vitamin E oils to keep us looking shiny and moisturized throughout the year. In fact, you could get an entire 15 oz tub of Queen Helena’s pure cocoa butter crème for around $3. Hell, some of us got away with just rubbing a slab of Vaseline on our face, arms and legs. Add some Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder to the chest and to the neck (especially the neck) and you were good to go.
However, the tide began to shift somewhere in the ’90s, with the new awareness about the environment, the products that we use and their benefits and/or dangers to our skin. Suddenly, the 100 percent pure cocoa butter and Vitamin E oil wasn’t enough and new advancements in lotion technology brought about a plethora of competition. We needed dual age-defying, cell regenerating treatment that promised to moisturize while erasing blemishes on skin. We needed lotions and oils that mixed with exotic berries, nuts and plants like sweet almond jojoba oil, java plum and Goji berries, picked from the tiny virgin hands of children in Guatemala, which would cleanse the soul of toxins and negative feelings. We needed lotions that were dermatologically tested – or at least featured a tall brunette model in a lab coat and glasses on the bottle – and had special numbering symbols to coincide with your special skin needs.
The only problem was, most of the crap didn’t work. Now I’m not saying (for certain) it was a conspiracy to the highest level of ‘spiracies, but very few actually worked for the purpose that you needed most: the ash. Sure, they made you feel good, but they lacked the vital ingredients needed to offer real protection. Most of those lotions were so thin and watery or had way too much alcohol that they could be considered the sushi of lotion; you put it on and then an hour later you were ashy again. Others smelled the part but failed to do anything but have you smell like a fruit salad. Not to mention the bees that would follow you down the street. I’m sure my 5 fl. oz bottle of Golden Apple and Guava skin pomade is a major contributing factor to colony collapse disorder.
Last year, I did come across a good bottle of lotion, courtesy of the Aveda line. I recall this because I discovered it while Pollyanna gift shopping for my boss. It was on her wish list and wanting to impress upper management (i.e. A$$-kiss), I decided that I would splurge a bit. So I’m in the store, standing in front of a very eager sale lady, who without warning, squirts a little on the back of my hand. I swear to all things pure and wonderful on this earth, the s**t was like silk. I mean it was the softest thing I’ve ever felt come from a bottle. It was so soft that I wanted to lie down, curl up in the fetal position and take a nap on it. Until they told me the price: $20 for 4.2 fl. ounces. Four ounces. For lotion? Crazy.
I realize that not everyone’s skin type is the same. However, my girlfriend with oily skin has the same complaint. Neither of us remembers our skin care regimen being this difficult back in the day. Of course, I don’t remember worrying about matching my colors or taking regular baths too (I was seven. Shoot me). Maybe things were just a lot simpler back then. Or maybe my skin texture has radically changed as I have gotten older. All I know is that what used to be a quick minute and a ½ process of putting some lotion on, has turned into a time sucking, multi-product production of bath soaps, facial cleansers, crèmes, lotions, oils, pomades and body scrubs. Oh God, don’t get me started on a body scrub. It’s neither soap nor is it lotion -just some weird hybrid middleman involving sugar.
But I’ve found that when it comes to finding the perfect moisturizer nowadays, there is no perfect solution. So until I find the perfect lotion (if there is one), I will be forced to find a lotion for the winter; one for the summer; one for just my hands; one for my feet and another to use specifically for the smell good effect (sorry bees). No wonder women walk around with huge purses.
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We’ve done a good amount of stories on things women can learn from men. The stories have been good and what not, but let’s keep it 100: there’s many things that women do that men should pick up on for their own benefit. Something important that men could learn from us is how to develop a better sense of hygiene. We’re big on getting our hair done, our nails done, shaving and plucking and primping to the point that it’s like clockwork. But somehow, someone told men they don’t have to do much to get by and get some. No one’s talking about picking the newest Jordans up or growing a devious but hot goatee–just keep it fresh and clean. Check out what we wish men would do better at–hygiene wise.
Some women pride themselves on being able to sniff out a liar in two seconds flat, but can they also sniff out a man who’s infected with a sexually transmitted disease?
Scientists say it’s possible. A small study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that women sniffing a potential partner’s scent could tell whether a guy had a sexually transmitted disease, as evidenced by the “putrid” smell the ladies reported when they came across men infected with gonorrhea.
“Our research revealed that infection disease reduces odor attractiveness in humans …” Mikhail Moshkin, lead author of the study and a professor at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics in Novosibirsk, Russia, wrote.
Researchers obtained sweat samples from 13 men with gonorrhea, 16 who were healthy, and five who had the disease but were successfully treated by dressing them in tight-fitting T-shirts with cotton pads sewn into the armpits.
When 18 women smelled the samples, they said nearly 50% of the infected men’s sweat smelled “putrid.” They also said 30% of the sweat from healthy men, and less than 40% of sweat from treated men smelled putrid, but the unpleasant scent was significantly higher for the gonorrhea group.
The researchers concluded that “unpleasant body odor of infected persons can reduce the probability of a dangerous partnership,” but with those stats, ladies are much better off asking about sexual history and demanding test results. I can already see the “I just came from the gym” excuse winning over women 99% of the time—and how would you really know the difference?
What do you think about the idea of sniffing out a partner with an STD?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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