How bad is it when vloggers recommend products that aren't good? | Belicons

How bad is it when vloggers recommend products that aren't good?

Posted on: 
Wednesday 8 March 2017

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How bad is it when vloggers recommend products that aren't good?

Photographer: Wikipedia, yours truly

Several hygiene agents are being sold for women to cleanse their vagina. Last Saturday, it was questioned in consumer program Kassa whether this is really healthy. (Dutch spoken) A doctor said that it isn’t. Meanwhile, many vloggers do advice people to use these products and because of that the producers of this broadcast blame vloggers for how often these products are being used.

But instead of being criticial on these vloggers, I think that there are reasons to be critical on this broadcast first.

What do the doctors say in the broadcast?

Hanna Bos is a doctor and specialized in infectious disease control. She explains that cleaning the inside of the vagina is a bad idea. The vagina has a mucous membrane on the inside and if that is off balance one could get a fungal infection, other infections, itchy feeling, irritations or even a sexually transmitted disease.

The pH of the vagina needs to be a bit acid (pH 4-4.5) and restores itself after a menstruation or sex. For that reason Bos is opposed against hygiene agents for the inside of the vagina. But she doesn’t like the hygiene agents for the outside either. According to her it hasn’t been proven that they are effective, but there is a chance that they will harm the vagina because, these agents could enter the vagina anyway.

The Dutch Association of General Practitioners is also critical. They agree that it’s sufficient to cleanse the vagina with water. They think that the douches are very wrong, but they also advice against vaginal soaps. The Dutch Society for Obstetrics and Gynaecology confirm this statement.

What do the vendors of these agents say?

The vendors of these agents didn’t want to answer to these accusations during the broadcast, but they did respond in emails. The manufacturers of products that should be used on the outside also say that cleaning the vagina on the inside isn’t a good idea. Only Kruidvat, Ethos and Multi-Gyn so sell products to clean the inside too and they claim that their products are tested, meet the European norms and are just something extra that women may like.

Only Lactacyd claims that their product, which should only be used outside the vagina, is necessary because only water won’t clean it enough. They compare this to shower gel for the skin.

What all these vendors also say is that their product doesn’t contain any soap. The pH of regular soap is higher, about 7, but these cleansing products have a lower pH that fits the environment of the vagina. That is why they think it is according to them better than regular soap.

Peiling: Er moeten regels komen voor wat vloggers mogen aanprijzen

Peiling: Er moeten regels komen voor wat vloggers mogen aanprijzen

Lees de blog bij deze peiling

Poll: We need rules about what vloggers can recommend

Poll: We need rules about what vloggers can recommend

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Body 2: 

Unfortunately Kassa didn’t ask the doctor who was in the broadcast how she feels about the explanation of the vendors that the agents for cleansing the outside of the vagina have a lower pH than soap. I’m curious whether that would change her mind. Since we don't know that, I'll focus here on the agents that are meant to cleanse the inside of the vagina 

The explanation of the doctor and the responses of the vendors do make clear that cleaning the vagina on the inside isn’t a good idea.

Nevertheless, these products are often recommended in vlogs. In this broadcast they say several times how bad it is that vloggers do this. But even when they are the ones who are sharing this information, I think that we cannot blame them for this. They are born in an age too in which we think that we cannot be too clean and in which vlogging is very popular.

From no hygiene to too much hygiene

Healthy and unhealthy bacteria

Over a century ago people didn’t know much about hygiene. And that wasn’t only a problem of poor people. Take in mind the great palace of Schönbrunn in Vienna, in which once an emperor lived who reigned over a large part of Europe. That big beautiful palace was once very unhygienic on the inside. Back then most people didn’t know yet that bacteria and other pathogens cause diseases and that they can be transmitted from one to the other person.

In this age, we do know that. However, in this age we take this a bit too far. Many people take a shower each day and sometimes even more often. What we don’t realize is that most bacteria in and on our bodies are good and even important for our health. If we are too clean, then we have fewer of these bacteria and because of that our bodies cannot defend themselves as well any more against pathogens.

The same thing happened a few years ago when colon cleansing was very popular. It sounds logical: our colons are full of bacteria, we see what comes out of them, and therefore it sounds good when they can be cleaned. Nevertheless, this isn’t good at all, for in that case you would take away much natural protection and that increases the chance that you’ll get problems with your health. Too clean isn’t good.

But is isn’t easy to explain this to people. Our feelings tell us something else. For example, if we would only start to shower three times a week, it would be a lot healthier. But still many of us would feel very dirty during the other four days. This is something we don't just change.

And thus we want to cleanse, cleanse, cleanse...

And that feeling is what the vendors of hygienic agents want to appeal to. Next to antibacterial soap and colon cleansing there are vaginal douches too.

Nobody used to think about whether the inside of a vagina was clean. But since manufacturers of these products sat that the vagina could get unbalanced and that this can be restored with these douches, women suddenly get the idea that they can be dirty on the inside of the vagina and suddenly feel the need to use these products.

And because not only manufacturers tell us about these products but vloggers too, this information spreads even quicker.

The speed of sharing ‘knowledge’

At this moment we can communicate with each other very quickly and also collect a lot of information in just a few moments. When I’m not feeling well I can just take a quick look on the Internet to find out what may be wrong with me and what I should do about it. Very conveniently. But this has downsides too. What if I read false information? I might just do the wrong thing.

That is what we see happening in vlogs about vaginal douches. They don’t mean wrong. These vloggers just do what they think is right. Precisely because of that I don't think that we should blame them for this. If we really want to do something about this, then we need to think about the next few things:

  1. Teach people to be critical about ‘facts’ on the Internet

    This doesn’t only apply to information from vlogs, but to fake news in general. In this era one can say anything, and as long as it sounds spectacular enough, there will be people who will believe it. So we need to learn that not everything we read on the Internet is true. Do we want to know more about something? Then we need to go to a website or a person who has more knowledge about it.

    Vaginal douches are medical and thus a doctor is a very good source. Do you want to know more about this? Then look at the website of some society of general practitioners in your country or send them an email. You can also ask your own general practitioner.

  2. Learn that we can be too clean too

    Just like people needed to learn what hygiene is so that they could live more healthy, we now need to learn that being too clean isn’t healthy either. There should be more attention for this in schools. But it would also be good if for example salesmen in drug stores would have more attention for this. For we cannot remember everything we learn as children.

  3. Higher norms for approval of the EU

    It is a strange idea that these products can lead to infectious diseases and still got the approval of the EU. It happens much more often that a product actually isn’t healthy, but they are approved anyway. The norms of the EU should thus be a lot higher so that we can trust that what has their approval isn’t bad for us.

What do you think? Should vloggers do more resaerch before sharing information? Or do you see other ways to do something about the spreading of false information. Share your opinion, below, or on the forum!

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