When celebrities and bloggers tell you to do something unusual to your vagina, don’t.
Steaming it, like Gwyneth Paltrow, is a bad idea, as is contouring your vulva with an electrical current. You shouldn’t waste your money on a trendy “yoni massage” and stuffing satchels of herbs into your nether regions can only end badly.
And now, thanks to Khloé Kardashian, we can add another trend to the list: using vitamin E on your lady parts.
As an editor for the lifestyle website YourTango reported, the 32-year old reality star released the exclusive beauty tip to subscribers of her app last week, writing, “No joke: Vitamin E may strengthen vaginal lining! Moisturize your labia and vagina with Vitamin E oil to combat dryness and soothe irritation.”
And if there’s any doubt that there are women out there who will blindly follow Khloé’s advice, the YourTango editor wrote: “When Khloé Kardashian tells me to put Vitamin E on my vagina, I am absolutely going to do it.”
Generally speaking, you should absolutely not do this, says San Francisco Bay Area OB/GYN and writer Dr. Jennifer Gunter.
“I would not recommend this nor is there any study that looks at this for healthy, premenopausal women,” she told The Daily Beast. “If you are 32 and have a dry vagina, see your doctor and try a silicone-based lube.”
In addition to her other writing and activism, Dr. Gunter has become the internet’s resident voice of reason during these celebrity-driven genital crazes. She has debunked it all on her blog—the steaming, the contouring, the massaging, the satchels of herbs—and, at this point, she wants the ill-advised vaginal health suggestions to stop.
A good rule of thumb: “If your vagina is fine, leave it alone.”
Not only is there no hard proof that vitamin E can “strengthen vaginal lining,” putting the oil in your vagina or on your labia without a doctor’s recommendation can cause some serious grief.
Oils like vitamin E can break down latex condoms, increasing the risk of unintended pregnancy among Khloé’s young fanbase. And if you fail to do a patch test on your skin before applying vitamin E to your vulva or vagina—which, again, you almost definitely shouldn’t do—you may end up discovering a new allergy in a very sensitive place.
Recent studies have also shown that routinely taking high doses of vitamin E could even shorten your lifespan, so using it on your vagina in addition to “slather[ing] it on your face and eyelashes—as Khloé Kardashian also recommends—may come at a cost.
“The optimum dose is pretty low,” Gunter explained. “Antioxidants in high doses may well be harmful.”
Khloé Kardashian, seemingly unaware of this harm, also suggested that her app users take vitamin E capsules orally on top of applying it to their faces, vaginas, and eyelashes. That’s a lot of vitamin E.
But the vulvar and vaginal use of vitamin E isn’t restricted to the Keeping up with the Kardashians star. It has also gained a fair amount of traction online on blogs, forums, and Q&A sites. Women have touted it as a holistic treatment for yeast infections and as a non-hormonal option for alleviating vaginal atrophy during menopause.There is some limited evidence to suggest that vitamin E suppositories can help menopausal women who cannot take HRT and, as Gunter told The Daily Beast, “there are a couple of papers that suggest [it] may help prevent against radiation injury during cancer therapy.”
But given Khloé Kardashian’s appeal to the 18-34 demographic, it’s unlikely that many of her followers are in a position to even consider using vitamin E oil down under.
“At 32 years of age, Khloé Kardashian should not be experiencing vaginal dryness,” said Dr. Gunter.
And if she is, she should see a doctor instead of telling other young women to try vitamin E.