What Is Vaginal Steaming? Chrissy Teigen's Instagram Is Hilarious, But Experts Are Skeptical
Self-care is taking a turn for the skeptical, and if I’ve learned anything from working in the health industry, it’s that you shouldn’t believe everything you read, and you probably shouldn’t do everything Hollywood tells you to, either. Case in point, and I’m not trying to blow up her spot or anything, but as funny as Chrissy Teigen’s vaginal steaming Instagram photo is — you know, the one where she’s thrown her hair up in a messy top knot, her face covered with a sheet mask, legs squatting over a steamer — vaginal steaming isn’t exactly something your OBGYN would suggest you add to your nighttime routine. It’ll make for an interesting Sunday night, that’s for sure, but your vag is going to be feeling the effects long after this so-called cleanse, and not in a good way.
I have to hand it to her, though: Teigen’s totally candid about pretty much everything in her life. Whether she’s rattling off her political views on Twitter or freeing the nip on social media, this 32-year-old mama is keeping it real and living her best life. And, listen, just because someone’s in the spotlight, that doesn’t automatically mean they have their sh*t together, or that they're an expert in, well, anything, except of course the career they're pursuing. For the record, Teigen even throws a disclaimer in her Instagram caption by saying she doesn’t know whether or not vaginal steaming actually works, but that she’s going to try it anyway and see what happens. After all, the only way to really know if the latest so-called “health” trend works for you is to read up on it, use your best judgment, and try it out for yourself.
Unfortunately, this time around, Teigen probably should have just stuck with a face mask, because according to experts, vaginal steaming has more cons than it does legitimate pros.
OK, so if you don’t follow Teigen on Instagram (and if that’s the case, um, why?), or if you just nonchalantly gave the photo a like in passing without even realizing something was going down underneath that fluffy white towel, allow me to clarify: No, Teigen wasn’t just chillin’ in a towel and tube top post-shower; the new mother of two decided to switch up her self-care routine with a vaginal steam session and — because pics or it didn’t happen, right? — document her efforts via Instagram. TBH, Teigen’s IDGAF aesthetic is probably all of us on a Sunday night, and while self-care is super important, this new addition to her routine isn’t exactly something that most doctors would recommend to their own patients, if not for any reason other than the fact that it’s just kind of unnecessary.
Women’s Health reports the concept behind vaginal steaming is to take care of any funky discharge that might be coming from your nether regions, and according to the outlet, some women even swear by the treatment's healing powers against painful menstrual cramping. But here’s the thing about vaginas: They’re self-cleansing, and according to Dr. Gunvor Ekman-Ordeberg, an OBGYN and medical advisor to DeoDoc Intimate Skincare, that discharge you experience is 100 percent normal. In fact, she tells Elite Daily, that discharge is what’s doing the “housekeeping” for you down there, so attempting to dry it out via vaginal steaming actually doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Sure, vaginal steaming sounds like some kind of exotic spa treatment, and I’m sure it feels nice in the moment, but as far as Dr. Ekman-Ordeberg is concerned, there’s really no reason for it, and the side effects could potentially be grueling. “There is no need to wash, douche, or steam the inside of the vagina, as these methods pose risks of infection, yeast infection, and pH alteration,” she tells Elite Daily. What's worse, though, is that your vag is super sensitive and can’t really take a lot of heat, so there’s even a chance that vaginal steaming can leave you with burns down there, according to Healthline, and you really don’t want to be dealing with that kind of pain.
So Teigen’s vaginal steaming trial might be an error in judgment, but not every part of the vagina is self-cleansing, so she's on the right track.
I find it really wild that, even though there’s literally no scientific evidence that says vaginal steaming is beneficial to the female reproductive system, or any other physiological woe for that matter, according to Healthline, some upscale spas will charge customers top-dollar for the service. Still, if an OBGYN is telling you to steer clear, I’d listen.
However, Teigen isn’t totally in the dark. It’s true that the inside of your vagina cleans itself naturally, but the vulva, which is external, “has pubic hair with sweat glands and possibly trapped urine,” Dr. Ekman-Ordeberg tells Elite Daily, so you should be cleaning that area regularly. Still, she says, steaming is definitely not the way to go. Instead, the OBGYN suggests using a pH-balanced intimate wash, noting you should look for formulas with a pH of 5 for optimal cleansing.
Bottom line: I don't know what inspired Chrissy to steam up down south, but if something about your vagina feels off, your first order of business should always be to make an appointment with your gynecologist so they can check it out first. This way, you'll not only know what's happening, you'll know if it's normal, and how to treat it. In any case, steer clear of steam; it's really not worth the potential side effects.