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Should you buy products that are “gynecologist tested”?


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Photo: Stocksy/Mosuno

Food and cosmetics labels are a double-edged sword: Yes, they’re helpful for understanding what’s in your skin-care products and your produce, but they can also be used as a deceptive marketing tactic. Some examples of this? Calling out a product for being gluten-free when it wouldn’t naturally include gluten in the first place or labeling chemical-filled foods as “natural.” So what exactly does it mean when a beauty product is acknowledged as “gynecologist tested”?

Your vagina is a delicate and complex organism that’s pretty self-sufficient (it literally self-cleans) and relays information about your health via secretions and the color of your period blood. But still, vaginal-focused products abound, and since many (like a douche) can wreak havoc on your body, reading that something is “gynecologist tested” might feel like a sigh of relief.

However, according to obstetrics and gynecology professor Lauren Streicher, MD, “gynecologist tested” means, well, pretty much nothing, Refinery29 reports. The way this designation usually comes to be, Dr. Streicher adds (hyperbolically, I hope), is that a company hires a gynecologist to “test” the product, and the scientific expectations are very low, with the doctor being instructed to, “Give this to five patients and see if their vaginas explode. If they come back and say, ‘Nope, no vaginas exploded’, great; it’s gynecologist-tested.”

Basically, the label tends to exaggerate the level and scope of health benefits a product may offer, leaving the consumer to assume. And, given the self-diagnosis problem so many of us already have with Dr. Google, it’s probably best to leave as little room for medical interpretation as possible.

So, if you really want to know if a product is OBGYN-approved—and, more crucially, actually recommended—just call your doctor and ask.

Celebrate your vagina by learning everything you need to know about your flora and with this neon work of art celebrating the body part

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