There’s nothing I enjoy more than getting into a nice warm bath after a long day. Stress seems to melt away, and I can enjoy at least a few minutes of uninterrupted bliss with my favorite book (and hey, maybe even a cocktail) before I have to get back to reality. And what better way to up the relaxation factor even further than with some bubbles?
But not just any bubbles, it turns out. “Traditional bubble bath, like soap, is an alkaline substance, with a pH around 9.5, while normal skin has an acidic pH, around 5,” says Lauren E. Adams, M.D., a dermatologist who is board-certified in lifestyle medicine. “Elevation of the skin’s pH can lead to disruption of the microbiome, dry skin, eczema, inflammation, and even fine lines and wrinkles.”
Plus, if you’re prone to yeast infections, or if you’re a woman in general, many bubble baths can be particularly problematic. “The vagina also normally has an acidic pH, around 4, and disruption of this balance with alkaline soaps, bubble baths, or douching can lead to infections like bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and urinary tract infections.” None of which sound relaxing.
“Looking for ‘pH balanced’ products is a good idea for bubble baths and all cleansers,” says Adams. Also consider products with ingredients that can help hydrate and soothe the skin, such as oatmeal and skin-friendly oils, she adds. Additionally, bubble bath products scented with natural essential oils can up the therapeutic factor (promoting relaxation, soothing muscles, boosting mood) while helping you avoid harsh artificial fragrances, which might actually mess with your hormones.
Happily, several companies are now creating bubble baths with gentle, natural ingredients that keep your skin (and vagina) top of mind. Here, we’ve rounded up six of the best natural bubble baths that will leave you feeling refreshed, relaxed, and certainly not itchy.
(Pro tip: Whenever you take a bath, don’t stay in the tub much longer than 15 to 30 minutes, otherwise you’ll dry out your skin.)