Why You Really, Really Don't Need Those "Vaginal Moisturizing Melts" You've Seen On TikTok
It's time for another episode of "Maybe Don't Put That In Your Vagina."
Under normal circumstances, your vagina does a pretty good job of keeping things nice and moisturized down there. But certain medical conditions such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause can lead to issues with dryness. And, if it's severe, your doctor may recommend a moisturizing suppository to help get you — and your vagina — back to normal.
But those suppositories are pretty different from something that's making the rounds on TikTok. These products are being referred to as "vaginal moisturizing melts" and "vaginal melts," which claim to make your vagina smell and taste like food.
"You pop one in…10 minutes beforehand and bon appetit," TikTok user @jwightman_789 said in a video titled, "Vaginal moisturizing melts so many ✨flavors✨" — which has more than 2 million likes on the platform. She pointed out that she bought hers on Etsy and currently has strawberry, pineapple, and peach flavored suppositories in her arsenal.
Fellow TikTok user @britneyw24 also suggests using vaginal moisturizing melts "if you're going to have a little fun time with your man." (She bought hers on Amazon and calls them "awesome.") She continued, "They're basically vagina melts — weird, I know — but when you use one, it makes your downtown taste and smell like the flavor you choose."
What are these things? Both women shared that they used Femallay's Vaginal Moisturizing Suppository Melts, which you can buy as a 14-pack (with applicator) on Etsy, Amazon, or Femallay's website. Femallay, which recommends on its website that women "rediscover confident femininity" offers up its products in flavors including "Blueberry Bliss," "Heavenly Vanilla," and "Wild Cherry."
Femallay's suppositories are certified organic, naturally antimicrobial, and free of soy, gluten, glycerin, parabens, and hormones, but they're not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. So...are they safe? Here's what ob-gyns have to say.
First, it's important to know that you don't need this kind of thing.
FYI, your vagina does a pretty good job of moisturizing itself on a regular basis, says Christine Greves, M.D., a board-certified ob-gyn at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies. "Your vagina usually doesn't need anything for that," she says. If you do have a health condition that requires some moisturization help down there, your first stop should be your doctor — who can help you figure out what's going on and recommend the right treatment — not an Etsy shop.
And let's be honest here: This buzz over these melts is less about their moisturizing qualities and more about the fact that they're designed to make your vagina smell and taste like produce. (YG, there's even organic stevia in them. Why?!) "I'm not sure why a vagina should need to smell or taste like fruit," says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale Medical School. "These products are sort of silly. I certainly don't think they're necessary."
And, Dr. Greves points out, your vagina is supposed to smell (and taste) like a vagina. "You shouldn't be pressured by anyone into altering its smell," she says. Products like this perpetuate the idea that a normal vagina smell, in all its natural, human-being glory, isn't good enough, clean, or even okay. This contributes to the taboo and stigma surrounding vaginas, periods, and female sexuality — which, at best, leads to things like the orgasm gap and, at worst, keeps people with vaginas from being treated as equals. (See: Stop Telling Me I Need to Buy Things for My Vagina)
What might happen if you use a vaginal moisturizing melt?
You might be able to use a moisturizing melt and do just fine, but doctors say there is a risk of developing issues down there. "One of the major concerns I have with any of these flavored products is that they may well contain some sort of dye or perfume to which you could be sensitive, and set up an allergic reaction," says Dr. Minkin. "Then you really won't want to have sex." There's no fragrance listed in the ingredients of the Femallay melts, but there is "organic flavor oil," which is somewhat unclear and could mean any number of things.
Anything going into or near your lady bits can also disrupt the pH of your vagina, which could then lead to irritation and even infections like bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection, says Dr. Shepherd. FYI, your vulva and vagina is lined with a mucous membrane, meaning it can absorb substances that it comes into contact with (think: like the inside of your mouth), which is one reason why it can be irritated more easily than skin on the rest of your body, says Dr. Greves. Keep in mind, too, that these particular melts also contain oils that could compromise the integrity of latex condoms, Femallay reports on its website. (That's why you shouldn't used oil-based lubes with latex condoms, either.)
If you're struggling with dryness down there, keep in mind that "products that help with vaginal moisturizing should be with minimal ingredients and no additives or preservatives, and allergens should also be considered says Jessica Shepherd, M.D., an ob-gyn in Texas. "For example, the first ingredient in these melts is "organic illipe nut butter," so if you have nut allergies, it'd be best to steer clear.
That said, a rep from Femallay says their products are vagina-safe: "Our uniquely formulated vaginal moisturizing and wellness suppositories are made with premium all-organic ingredients that are pH balanced, nourishing to vaginal tissue, and are naturally anti-bacterial to promote health and wellness while providing superior moisture," the rep tells Shape. "A healthy vagina should maintain a pH level of 3.5 to 4.5, and our suppositories maintain a level of about 4-4.5."
Regardless, it's important to know that "certain oils can cause irritation," says Dr. Greves (which, for the record, the brand does acknowledge on their website). "These products are not FDA-regulated so it is difficult to know the exact dose to accurately determine what the pH level would be each time." (Related: 10 Things to Never Put Near Your Vagina)
What's the TL;DR on TikTok vagina melts?
If you're worried about dryness or concerned about the way your vagina smells, Dr. Greves recommends talking to your doctor. "You could have bacterial vaginosis or even a retained tampon that will need to be treated," she says. (Also, for the record, lube is always a good idea.)
And, if you're still curious about trying out a vaginal moisturizing melt, it's really best to check in with your ob-gyn first. A history of recurrent yeast infections or other irritation issues would be a definite red flag not to use this, says Dr. Greves, but your doctor may have other concerns.
"If you feel like your body will do okay with it and you really want to try it out, go ahead," says Dr. Greves. But, she adds, it's important to know there is some risk involved — and, even more importantly, that your vagina is not supposed to smell like fruit. (Or be filled with glitter, for that matter.)