The great Paraben debate

Banner parabens

By this time most people have at least heard the word “Paraben” and have an inkling that it’s something to be avoided, hence the cascade of products, including Whet Lubricant, that have labels (ex)claiming that they are “paraben free”! But how much of this is based on fear-mongering (or Green-washing) and to what extent should be really be concerned about our products containing Parabens.

Firstly, let’s clarify what Parabens are and how they are used. In a nutshell, Parabens are derived from para-hydroxybenzoic acid (PHBA) which occurs naturally in many fruits & veggies including blueberries, carrots, cherries and onions.  They have been used since the 1950’s in many products to prevent the growth of bacteria, yeast and mould, which is almost inevitable without the use of some type of preservative. According to the Chemical Safety Facts Organization, these are the same PHBA’s found in our bodies naturally due to the breakdown of certain amino acids, and the “Parabens used in cosmetics are identical to those found in nature, and the human body quickly changes them into natural PHBA and eliminates them”

Back in 2005 when we first started manufacturing Whet Lubricant, Parabens were the default preservative. Methyl and Propyl Parabens, in their specified and minute, quantities provided excellent protection for the product against microbial organisms, bacteria and mould and offered a highly acceptable shelf life, which appeared beneficial for both the producers and the purchasers.

At a point, studies* showed that Parabens COULD potentially mimic the activity of the female hormone estrogen, causing endocrine disruption. Estrogen has been implicated in the occurrence of certain types of breast cancer and has been found in breast tumours, so it is not surprising that they soon got a bad rep. These studies* were conducted in animals and involved dosing the animals with extremely high amounts of parabens (far greater that humans would be exposed to either under actual conditions or with repeated use. Most of these studies have since been largely discredited by scientists and no direct link has been found between cosmetic products containing parabens and cancer.

In the case of a personal lubricant, one is using it on some of the most sensitive and absorbent body tissue, so it makes sense to play it safe. For this reason we stopped using Parabens in any form several years ago (watch out for labels that list them as Alkyl parahydroxy benzoates). There are several preservatives that provide an alternative to Parabens, and from our perspective it seems wise to play it safe. We use a combination of Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate in our current Whet water-based lubricants and are continually in a process of research and development as guided by the latest research as well as the feedback from our clients and the increasingly knowledgeable and discerning consumer.

To purchase our paraben-free Whet Personal Lubricants contact Allure Sensuality for RETAIL orders and

WHOLESALE and CUSTOM BRANDED orders email Whet Personal Products; info@whetlube.co.za

Lube basics 101

3-pack-hiresLubricant is the ultimate sexual accessory in every vixen’s bedroom – it hints at playfulness and sexual confidence and that a woman knows her own body needs and plans ahead to meet them. Lubricant helps to make things a little more slippery and increases pleasure sensations. In fact, lubricant acts as a sensation conductor on the skin.

Lack of knowledge about personal lubricant is however still very common. Because lube has been associated with sex problems, many women are reluctant to use it, fearing that it implies frigidity or unresponsiveness. Most of us (and many of our partners) don’t realise the significant role that lube can play in great everyday sex, and in exploring new erotic territory.

Our bodies’ own love lotion is controlled by hormones and specific circumstances including our moods, energy levels and environmental factors. We all experience times of relative “dehydration” – it’s totally normal, and we all know that insufficient lubrication can result in painful intercourse. In fact, bacterial infections are often a direct result of too little lubrication coupled with penetration. The vaginal mucosa is a sensitive and delicate membrane, so chaffing can easily result in abrasions and irritation.

Many women tolerate significant discomfort during sex without knowing what to do or how to communicate about it. Since we’re often pressed for time and many of us struggle to communicate our likes and dislikes to our partner, penetration can often occur before our vagina is properly aroused and lubricated. So, it’s useful to have the choice of adding a lubricant when sharing a quickie. With a dab of lube you can also enjoy foreplay together until vaginal arousal is more fully felt.

Another great advantage of using lubricant is that it lessens the chance of condom breakage and condoms work and feel better when lubricated. It’s also fun to use on other erogenous parts of the body- like either partner’s nipples. Of course, lube is essential for anal play because unlike the vagina the anus does not self-lubricate and the anal membrane can be injured if there is too little lubrication.
Buying lube should be an easy everyday purchase. Here are a few options to consider when choosing our lubricant:

Petroleum-Based
These are made from petroleum jelly, mineral oil or petrolatum, such as Vaseline. The problem with petroleum-based lubes is that they quickly destroy latex and should never be used with condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps or latex toys. They may also be drying and toxic to mucous membranes and it is generally recommended that people avoid them.

Silicone-Based
The advantage of silicone lubes is that they do not dry out and that they are waterproof. They may be used with condoms but they do harm sex toys and anything else made of silicone as the two materials react chemically.

Water-Based
Water-based lubricants are the closest to your natural body fluids. They can be used with latex condoms and silicone toys, are non-staining and are commonly recommended by doctors and sex therapists. Marina Green, owner of Whet Personal Products researched and then formulated the first locally produced, premium quality, affordable water-based product called Whet Personal Lubricant.

With sexual health in mind, Green was careful to formulate a product that does not disrupt the natural balance of the vaginal mucosa, so it won’t cause thrush – even the Vanilla and Berry ones. In fact, she has only added the essence of vanilla and berry to the “flavoured” version of her lubricant in order to avoid upsetting the delicate health of the vagina. It doesn’t tingle or burn, washes out easily so that bacteria cannot flourish after sex, and is specifically designed to remain moist for longer, retain its viscosity, and does not become sticky.

Oil-Based
Oil based lubes are great for massage but they destroy condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps or latex toys containing latex and should never be used together with them. If used internally they promote bacterial growth because they coat the vagina and do not wash out.

First published by iafrica.com 2007 http://lifestyle.iafrica.com/love_sex/advice/731025.html