As our bodies’ largest organ, skin is a miraculous thing. It blocks out disease, germs and environmental irritants. It allows us to regulate our body temperatures. And it gives us the pleasurable sensation of touch. But, our skin can also be a great source of discomfort when improperly cared for, and few places of sensitive skin that are as prone to irritation as the intimate regions surrounding genitalia.
Part of the reason skin is so sensitive here is because it is thinner than elsewhere on the body. This is also what happens to give the skin in these areas greater sensitivity to touch, heat, moisture, etc. With relatively little between skin’s surface and nerve endings, what would be a small nuisance elsewhere on the body becomes quite uncomfortable when down there. It is for this reason that caution is advised when introducing any cream, lotion, lubricant or other foreign compound to skin in this area. What may have been a very mild tingle on the back of the hand can feel like a serious chemical burn where skin is thinner and more delicate. As well, because this skin is routinely exposed to friction, there may be chafing, small cuts, or other abrasions that don’t become evident until an outside irritant is introduced. To avoid this problem, stick with non-alcohol-based lotions and creams (water-based is best). Stay away from perfumes or fragrances, and always test on a small patch of skin like the inside of the wrist before using in greater amounts.
Additionally, this skin spends a lot more time surrounded by moisture (in the form of sweat) and darkness and a lot less time surrounded by clean dry air. This can lead to various fungal or yeast infections that are uncommon on other parts of the body. Making sure to dry skin well after showering and/or wearing clothing made of breathable fibers like cotton are good ways to avoid such issues.