Water-based[ edit ] Water-based personal lubricants are water- soluble and are the most widely used personal lubricants. The earliest water-based lubricants were cellulose ether or glycerin solutions. Products available today may have various agents added for even dispersal, moisture retention, and resistance to contamination.
The viscosity of these products can be altered by adjusting their water content and concentration of cellulose or other gel-forming hydrophilic ingredient. Because water-based personal lubricants absorb into the skin and evaporate , most water-based lubricants have a tendency to dry out during use, but reapplication of the lubricant or application of water or saliva is usually sufficient to reactivate them.
When the lubricant eventually dries out, it may leave behind a residue derived from the other ingredients in the formulation. Some newer water-based lubricants are formulated with natural skin moisturizers, such as carrageenan , and may not leave a sticky residue after evaporation. Carrageenan has also been shown to be a potent inhibitor of human papillomavirus infection. Scientists are testing whether anti-retroviral lubricants or gels can be applied to aid in the prevention of transmission of HIV.
The Population Council , in a study, tested commercially available water-based sexual lubricants, and found that many damaged human rectal cells and that some of them - those containing polyquaternium - appeared to actively increase HIV replication in cell cultures and therefore could raise one's risk of HIV transmission. Water-based 'lubes' have been recommended for use in safer sex because they do not weaken condoms like oil-based lubricants do. They also cited silicone -based lubricants as a potential alternative, although they did not test any silicone lubes in their study.
Oil-based[ edit ] Oil-based lubricants, for example petroleum-based lubricants such as petroleum jelly , can increase the likelihood of breakage and slipping of latex condoms due to loss of elasticity caused by these lubricants. Silicone-based[ edit ] Silicone -based lubricants are usually formulated with fewer than four ingredients and do not contain any water. Silicone lubricants offer a different feel from water-based personal lubricants. Silicone-based lubricants are not absorbed by skin or mucous membranes and consequently last longer than water-based lubricants.
Many different silicone lubricants are commercially available, with varying quality and performance. Not all silicone-based lubricants are certified latex-safe, but silicone-based lubricants have not been shown to increase the risk of HIV transmission during anal intercourse , as some water-based lubes have.
In most cases, a warning is listed on the product label. Silicone-based lubricant is also used in the manufacture of pre-lubricated condoms, due to its long-lasting properties and superior latex compatibility. Vaginal lubricants[ edit ] Vaginal lubricants are used to reduce vaginal dryness and pain during intercourse, and by couples trying to conceive.
During fertility interventions, the use of a lubricant eases sperm specimen collection by masturbation. Commonly used lubricants include saliva , oil such as baby oil, olive oil , canola oil , or mineral oil or commercially available lubricants that are either water-based or hydroxyethylcellulose-based. Often, this is simply a thicker gel rather than a liquid.
This thicker consistency is preferable because it helps the lubricant stay in place. Some anal lubricants contain numbing agents to relieve discomfort during anal sex, although it is generally inadvisable as a lack of sensation makes accidental injury more likely. Additionally, a commonly used numbing agent benzocaine can cause an allergic reaction in those with an allergy to PABA 4-Aminobenzoic acid.
Some lubricants are conveniently packaged for ease of application. Because of strict FDA guidelines for medical devices, organic personal lubricants were no longer allowed to carry a USDA seal for Nude Personal Lubricant, and that it should be very careful about using the term organic anywhere on its label. Many of these types of lubricants also market themselves as "natural" and do not contain paraben, glycerin, DEA or animal-based ingredients. Some contain botanicals such as aloe vera or plant extracts.
ANSI and NSF have partnered with organic certifiers around the country in order to provide a definitive set of compliance guidelines for organic lubricants and other personal care products. Their certification process calls for transparency in the ingredients used and the processes utilized to turn those ingredients into finished products. Breathing on these types of lubricants may increase the effect. Some lubricants are sold together, such as "hot and cold", or are marketed for a specific use or effect.
Other[ edit ] Other products that have been used as personal lubricants include vegetable shortening , which is durable and inexpensive but damaging to latex. Sexual activity[ edit ] A personal lubricant can be used to increase pleasure and reduce pain during sexual intercourse or other activities and may be used for lubricating the penis , vagina , anus or dildo or other sex toy before or during activity.
Personal lubricants are particularly useful for intercourse when a partner experiences dryness or excessive contraction tightness of the vagina or anus. Anal sex generally requires more generous application of lubricant since the anus does not have natural lubrication sufficient for most sexual activity.
There are specific lubricants which may be used in male masturbation but are not suitable for vaginal or anal use or for use with condoms. Masturbation creams are lubricants specifically for male masturbation. Medicine[ edit ] Personal lubricants are not used to treat or cure any disease or illnesses. Products used to treat or cure would be considered a new drug and not fall under the personal lubricant category.
Rectal use of lubricants is viewed by the agency as an off-label application. Increased herpes transmission was more than ninefold when compared with animals not administered lubricant.
In it was demonstrated that certain lubricants can cause significant damage to the rectal tissue of human study participants - major shedding of cells from tissue samples biopsied 60 to 90 minutes after lubricant application was observed. Certain lubricants containing the ingredient chlorhexidine, an antibacterial agent, has been shown to kill three species of Lactobacillus and has been shown to unbalance the natural flora in the vagina, which might lead to infections such as bacterial vaginosis.
Lubricants with osmolalities closer to that of the body, such as agar-based lubes, did not damage the tissue samples or boost HIV infection rates. Some lubricants as mentioned above under 'Water-based' have been found to damage cells or even increase the replication of the HIV virus.