Can Lotion Be Used as Lube? Learn the Science Behind Why We Recommend Avoiding Lotion as Lubricant

Let’s face it. From time to time, lubricant is necessary, or at least helpful, during times of intimacy with your spouse or partner.

Whether it’s because of issues stemming from endometriosis or dryness that comes with menopause, sometimes we just need a little help. And at other times, lube just makes sex more fun.

In any case, having lube  — or a lube substitute — on hand means you’re always prepared.

Lotion is something most of us have in the bathroom or by the bedside, but is it safe to use lotion as lubricant?

We’ll discuss why lotion isn’t the best choice as a lube alternative, give you a list of better options, and tell you why we think Chiavaye is one of the best lubes around.

Table of Contents

Is It Safe To Use Lotion as Lube?

In general, lotion is not recommended for use as a sex lube for the following reasons:

  1. Lotion can cause a variety of problems when allowed entrance into the vagina.
  2. The pH balance of the vagina can be disrupted by using lotion.
  3. Lotions often include ingredients and emulsifiers that are not recommended for internal use.

Using lotion as a lubricant can cause problems like:

  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Irritation
  • Rashes
  • Stinging

The pH balance of the vagina can be disturbed due to the perfumes in most lotions. 

Normal vaginal pH levels range between 3.8 and 4.5. When the vagina is too alkaline or acidic, bacteria can grow and lead to bacterial infections like bacterial vaginosis. An upset pH can also cause yeast infections.

Many lotions contain ingredients and emulsifiers that can irritate the sensitive skin around the vagina and vulva. Some of these common ingredients that should not be used internally include:

  • Glycolic acid
  • Methylparaben
  • Benzyl alcohol
  • Glyceryl stearate
  • Cetearyl alcohol

Using Chiavaye lube is a better — and safer — choice when it comes to your vaginal health. My personal moisturizer contains only six natural ingredients and none of the things you want to avoid, like perfumes, chemicals, and preservatives. 

can lotion be used as lube

Is There Ever a Time When You Can Use Lotion Instead of Lube? 

What about lotion that is fragrance-free or is for sensitive skin? Is this lotion safe to use as lube? 

Not usually. 

Being fragrance-free doesn’t equate to being safe, and even milder lotions can contain some of the ingredients listed above, though in lesser amounts. In addition, each of these more sensitive options is different, so you’d have to do some careful label reading to make sure it’s a safe product.

Lotions marketed as natural or organic are typically made with hydrating butters or oils (shea or coconut), which could be safe to use on their own. But when they are combined with other ingredients needed to make lotions, like emulsifiers and certain types of silicone, it’s better to avoid these lotions as lube. 

Though there is some disagreement about this, it’s also probably best to avoid lotions as a lubricant for masturbation. There’s always the chance that the lotion can enter the vagina, leading to some of the irritations and infections listed above. 

Men can also experience negative effects when using lotion as a lubricant. In addition to skin irritation, lotion can cause urethritis or inflammation of the urethra, which can lead to burning, itching, and tenderness.

The Science Behind Avoiding Lotion as Lubricant

Lotions are generally not safe because of the ingredients they contain that can cause irritation, itching, and redness.

Lotions can also upset the delicate pH balance in the vagina because of some of the ingredients. Many lotions contain glycerol, which is high in sugar. When this ingredient is introduced to the vagina, it can cause yeast to grow and lead to yeast infections and other bacterial infections.

Osmolality is another concern when using lotion as a lube. Osmolality refers to a substance’s ability to draw moisture out of cells and tissues. When a substance — like lotion — has a higher osmolality than normal vaginal secretions, the vaginal tissue dries up when the moisture is pulled out.

In addition to avoiding lotion, you want to avoid products that have high osmolality and toxic chemicals often found in lubricants, like:

  • Chlorhexidine gluconate
  • Cyclomethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, and cyclotetrasiloxane
  • Parabens
  • Fragrances

can you use lotion instead of lube

Comparing Lubricant and Lotion

Lotion and lubricants share some similarities, but can you use lotion instead of lube? 

Along with their similarities, lotion and lube have some significant differences — and they are different for a reason. Each product is made for a specific use, and using each one for its intended purpose is the safest route. 

Lubricant vs. Lotion Similarities

The similarities between lube and lotion are minimal. They both:

  • Have a smooth feel.
  • Provide hydration.
  • Have a similar texture.
  • May have some similar ingredients.

The major similarities end there.

Lubricant vs. Lotion Differences

The differences between lotion and lubricant are more pronounced and cause more dire effects.

The key differences are:

  • Most lubes are oil or water-based, while lotions contain chemicals and other harmful ingredients.
  • Lubes often contain safe oils — like coconut oil. Though some lotions may contain coconut oil, they may also contain other types of oil — like mineral oil made from petroleum — that should not be used anywhere near the genitals.
  • Lube is safe to use internally, lotion is not.

Just because a product is labeled as a lubricant, you can’t always take the label at face value. It’s possible to find lubes on the market that contain ingredients that aren’t ideal for vaginal health. When shopping for a lube, look closely at the label and avoid lubes that include fragrances, glycerine, and parabens.

Shopping for lube is easy with Chiavaye. Our label contains only six ingredients — and nothing else. When you use Chiavaye personal moisturizer, you’ll know you’re giving your body the best.

can lotion be used as lube

Alternatives To Using Lotion as Lubricant: Are There Better Options?

Besides lotion, there are a variety of lube alternatives you can try. Some possibilities are:

When choosing other lubricant options, you may want to search for lubricants that are:

  • Natural
  • Organic
  • Silicone-based
  • Oil-based; or
  • Water-based

But even these options aren’t foolproof since they may have added ingredients or chemicals that can cause dryness or irritation.

We believe Chiavaye is a superb vaginal lube and personal moisturizer. Find out for yourself by ordering yours today.

Use These Tips To Find a Safer Lubricant Product

When looking for safe lube alternatives, pay attention to:

  • Osmolality
  • pH levels
  • Ingredients; and
  • How your body responds

can body lotion be use as lube

Check pH Levels and Osmolality

Acidity and alkalinity are measured on a pH scale, which ranges from zero to 14. The lower the pH, the more acidic a substance is, and the higher the pH, the more alkaline. A neutral pH measures seven on the pH scale. 

The vagina’s normal pH is 3.5 to 4.5, meaning the natural environment of the vagina is on the acidic side. This healthy, acidic vaginal environment is home to many helpful bacteria that fight off infections.

When you use lubes or lube alternatives with added ingredients, vaginal pH can be thrown off, opening the door for bacteria to grow and infection.

When looking for a lube or lube option, choose one with a pH level of 4.5 to keep the optimum balance.

The National Cancer Institute defines osmolality as, “The concentration of particles dissolved in a fluid.” The osmolality of lube products is important because it can change the osmolality levels in the vagina.

The osmolality of the vagina’s natural fluids is 290 mOsm/kg, and the body wants to maintain homeostasis of osmolality levels. 

Using lubes with high osmolality levels can disrupt the natural osmolality levels in the vagina, causing dryness, which may lead to irritation and inflammation.

On the other hand, using lubes with low osmolality can cause an imbalance, which may lead to cells that swell and rupture.

To maintain ideal levels of osmolality in the vagina, choose lubes with lower osmolality levels. 

The World Health Organization recommends using lubricants with levels below 1200 mOsm/kg. However, using lubricants with osmolality levels that are closer to that of natural vaginal fluids (285-295 mOsm/kg) may be even better.

Examine the List of Ingredients

Just as you look at ingredient labels on your food, you should make it a practice to look at the ingredient listing on any lubes you are considering.

Avoid toxic chemicals, fragrances, flavorings, colorings, or other synthetic features.

Consider passing on lube options that contain any of these ingredients:

  • Glycerin
  • Nonoxynol-9
  • Propylene glycol
  • Polyethylene glycol
  • Polydimethylsiloxane
  • Petroleum
  • Chlorhexidine gluconate
  • Paraben
  • Methylparaben
  • Propylparaben
  • Butylparaben
  • Benzyl alcohol
  • Citric Acid
  • Benzocaine

As a general rule, if you can’t pronounce it, you probably want to avoid it.

Pay Attention to How Your Body Responds

If your body responds negatively to any lube you try, you should discontinue use right away.

Halt the use of lubes that cause:

  • Irritation
  • Itching
  • Redness; or
  • Inflammation

Even if you believe you’ve chosen a safe lube option, if it causes you problems, consider making a switch.

And when you make a change, we’d recommend switching to Chiavaye.

is it safe to use lotion as lubricant

Chiavaye: 100% Natural, Vegan, and Chemical-Free Lubricant Safe for Men and Women

When it comes to a natural lube, Chiavaye has everything you’re looking for and nothing that you’re not.

Our lube contains only six natural ingredients:

  1. Sunflower seed oil helps retain moisture and boosts healing properties.
  2. Grapeseed oil is an anti-inflammatory that may be antimicrobial.
  3. Coconut oil provides nourishment and hydration.
  4. Almond oil is anti-inflammatory and locks in moisture.
  5. Evening primrose oil may reduce inflammation.
  6. Vitamin E can regenerate cells and promote blood circulation.

Our personal moisturizer doesn’t contain any of the unpronounceable and harmful chemicals above and is pH balanced while being:

  • Gluten-free
  • Chemical-free
  • Hormone-free; and
  • Fragrance-free

Find out why so many women love our lube. Try it yourself and see if you don’t love it just as much as they do.

The content in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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