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Our Picks for the Best Vaginal Moisturizers

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Understanding vaginal dryness | Do vaginal moisturizers work? | How to choose the best vaginal moisturizer | Our top recommendations | Revaree vs Replens | When to get help from a doctor

Moisturizers are commonly used to minimize dryness and wrinkles on the face, but did you know that they can also help improve the condition of the skin in the vagina? We’re talking about vaginal dryness, a hallmark symptom of what’s medically known as vaginal atrophy or the genitourinary syndrome of menopause. A common but often overlooked issue, vaginal dryness not only affects personal comfort but also intimate health.

At Interlude, our medical team helps explain why vaginal moisturizers can help alleviate vaginal dryness, what to consider when choosing a vaginal moisturizer, the difference between vaginal moisturizers and lubricants, and when to consider prescription treatments like vaginal estrogen cream for vaginal dryness.

Hyaluronic acid serum
Hyaluronic acid is a common ingredient in facial moisturizers. It's also been shown to be effective as a vaginal moisturizer.

Understanding vaginal dryness

Vaginal dryness is primarily linked to the depletion of estrogen, a key hormone that keeps the vaginal tissues healthy. As women transition through menopause, estrogen levels decline, causing the vaginal walls to lose moisture and become thin and dry. 

This is where vaginal moisturizers come into play, and they’re significantly different from vaginal lubricants. While lubricants provide temporary relief by reducing friction during intercourse, vaginal moisturizers work on a deeper level by increasing the water content in the vaginal cells. This addresses the root cause of dryness by rehydrating and repairing the function of the vaginal cells, leading to healthier more lubricated vaginal tissue.

Do vaginal moisturizers work?

Yes. Vaginal moisturizers can be highly effective at treating vaginal dryness that occurs during menopause. But a vaginal moisturizer probably won’t treat the many other vaginal and urinary symptoms that can occur.

Research and clinical trials have established that vaginal estrogen is the best treatment for vaginal dryness and other menopause-related symptoms such as painful sex, frequent UTIs, or incontinence. A handful of small studies have shown that vaginal moisturizers like hyaluronic acid can be as effective as vaginal estrogen for vaginal dryness.(1,2) But unlike vaginal estrogen, a vaginal moisturizer probably won’t help restore the depletion of protective bacteria in the vaginal microbiome during menopause. For this reason, a vaginal moisturizer won’t treat the full set of possible vaginal and urinary symptoms as effectively as vaginal estrogen does.

How to choose the best vaginal moisturizer

When seeking out the best vaginal moisturizer, it's essential to look beyond the labels. Many products that are marketed as vaginal moisturizers are actually lubricants or not meant for internal vaginal use. A true vaginal moisturizer should be long-lasting, designed for internal application, and formulated to increase the water content within the vaginal cells. 

Unlike prescription products that go through a rigorous FDA testing and approval process, manufacturers of over-the-counter products like vaginal moisturizers are not required to back up their claims. So, here’s how to look beyond the marketing labels and find a vaginal moisturizer that’s safe and effective:

  • Choose a vaginal moisturizer for internal use. Many products that are labeled as vaginal moisturizers are not supposed to go inside the vagina. Avoid products that are marketed as vaginal moisturizers but labeled for external use only. Any product that states “for external use only” may be used as an external vulva moisturizer, but not as a vaginal moisturizer. 
  • Beware of vaginal lubricants that are marketed as vaginal moisturizers. Many products are labeled as vaginal moisturizers when they are in fact vaginal lubricants. Now, there are some great vaginal lubricants out there that are highly effective in making intimacy more comfortable. You can and should choose a good vaginal lubricant to use during intimacy. Just remember that these products will not improve the condition of the skin like the best vaginal moisturizers. 
  • Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid or polycarbophil gel. There isn’t a lot of clinical data on the effectiveness of vaginal moisturizers, but there is at least some research to support using hyaluronic acid for vaginal dryness as well as polycarbophil gel.
  • Choose a moisturizer with optimal osmolality. High osmolality products tend to contain ingredients that pull water from the skin cells which leads to dryness and irritation. Ideally, a vaginal moisturizer has an osmolality below 380 mOsm/kg. Anything over 1200 mOsm/kg will probably dry out the skin. Not all manufacturers of vaginal moisturizers will display the osmolality on the packaging, and you can read more info on that in our top recommendations. 
  • Avoid products with added fragrances, botanicals, and glycerides. These additives do not have any clinical research to prove their efficacy and may instead lead to burning or irritation.
  • Consider if you would prefer to use a suppository or gel. What works for one woman may not work for another, but fortunately, there are many options to try. Vaginal moisturizers are available in a variety of formulations and applications, so experiment and find what works best for you!
  • Give it time. Even the best vaginal moisturizer will not improve vaginal skin overnight. It’s important to be consistent, apply the vaginal moisturizer at least two times a week, and give yourself at least four weeks to get to the point where the vaginal skin is improving.

Our top recommendations

Best gel

Good Clean Love Bionourish Ultra Moisturizing Vaginal Gel

  • Contains hyaluronic acid
  • 1 tube of gel with reusable plastic applicators
  • $24.99
  • $1.66 per dose
  • Benefits: No irritating ingredients, ideal osmolality

              Good Clean Love Bionourish vaginal moisturizer
Best vaginal suppository

HYALO GYN

  • Contains hyaluronic acid
  • 10 vaginal suppositories
  • $40.00
  • $4.00 per dose
  • Benefits: Easy-to-use suppository, no irritating ingredients
Bionourish vaginal moisturizer

Replens Long-Lasting Vaginal Moisturizer with prefilled applicators

  • Contains polycarbophil gel
  • 8 pre-filled disposable applicators
  • $25.00
  • $3.13 per dose
  • Benefits: Convenient pre-filled applicators
Replens vaginal moisturizer

Revaree

  • Contains hyaluronic acid
  • 10 vaginal suppositories
  • $62.00
  • $6.20 per dose
  • Benefits: Easy-to-use suppository
Revaree vaginal moisturizer

Revaree vs Replens


              Revaree vs. replens

Revaree and Replens are two of the more popular vaginal moisturizers. Both Revaree and Replens are moisturizers (and not lubricants), but there are key differences in price and ingredients. 

Revaree is a hyaluronic acid gel, and it costs about $62 for 10 inserts, which is $6.20 per dose. Replens is a polycarbophil gel, and it costs about $25 for 8 applications, which is $3.10 per dose. Both Replens and Revaree contain glycerides, which can be irritating. 

Is Revaree worth the price? With Revaree costing twice as much as Replens, women may want to know which vaginal moisturizer is best. One clinical study has compared Revaree and Replens head-to-head and concluded that there is no advantage to using Revaree instead of Replens. Both products were shown to increase vaginal cell hydration and reduce pain with sex with no significant difference between each product.(3)

If you like the idea of hyaluronic acid, but are looking for an alternative to Revaree that does not have irritating ingredients, then HYALO GYN or Good Clean Love Bionourish Ultra Moisturizing Vaginal Gel is the way to go. Both products contain hyaluronic acid, and neither product contains irritating additives.

When to get help from a doctor

Estradiol vaginal cream

Choosing the right vaginal moisturizer can make a significant difference in managing the symptoms of menopausal vaginal dryness. Some people may find that a good vaginal moisturizer is all they need to relieve dryness, but many people will still probably need to use a lubricant during intimacy. 

Sometimes, the vaginal skin can be so dry that moisturizers and lubricants will not adequately solve the problem. For most women, vaginal estrogen treatments like estradiol vaginal cream will resolve the problem, but you’ll need a prescription from a doctor - like a board-certified physician here at Interlude. 

Lastly, while this guide aims to give you the information to help you make good choices for your health, it's always a good idea to consult a trusted healthcare provider for personalized advice. And, if you’re not sure where to start, our medical team is here to help! Learn more about how to get help with symptoms like vaginal dryness, take our quiz, or browse our treatment options.

Disclaimer: This information isn't a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should never rely upon this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.
References
(1) Ekin M, Yasar L, Kadir S, Muzaffer T, Mehmet U, Gencer I, Kivanc E. The comparison of hyaluronic acid vaginal tablets with estradiol vaginal tablets in the treatment of atrophic vaginitis: A randomized control trial. Archiv. Gynecol. Obstet. 283(3), 539–543 (2011).
(2) Stute, Petra. Is vaginal hyaluronic acid as effective as vaginal estrogen for vaginal dryness relief? Arch Gynecol Obstet (2013) 288:1199–1201
(3) Cagnacci A, Barattini DF, Casolati E, Pecoroni A, Mangrella M, Patrascu LC. Polycarbophil vaginal moisturizing gel versus hyaluronic acid gel in women affected by vaginal dryness in late menopausal transition: A prospective randomized trial. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2022;270:239-245. doi:10.1016/j.ejogrb.2022.01.021
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