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Lubes are crucial to ensure the most pleasurable experience with or without a partner, and with or without a toy. Here’s a rundown on the four main types of lubes and how to get the best possible quality for you.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration, TGA, is a part of the Australian Government Department of Health, and is responsible for regulating the import, supply, manufacture, export and advertising of therapeutic goods.
To get TGA approval on Personal Lubricants, manufacturers and distributors must meet strict guidelines regarding ingredients and quality, manufacturing procedure and conditions, safe transportation, expiration dates, pH levels and have any advertising claims backed through clinical trials.
There are four main types of Personal Lubricants: water-based, silicone-based, oil-based and hybrid lubricants.
Water-based personal lubricants
These are water-soluble and are the most widely used personal lubricants. The earliest water-based lubricants were cellulose ether or glycerine (sugar) solutions. Products available today may have various agents added for even dispersal, moisture retention, and resistance to contamination (preservatives). Because water-based personal lubricants absorb into the skin and evaporate, most water-based lubricants tend to dry out or become sticky during use.
Reapplication of the lubricant or application of water or saliva is usually enough to reactivate them. Allergies to water-based lubes are not uncommon and this is usually related to either the glycerine content or preservatives used. Water based lubricants are compatible with all toy materials. Water based lube is a great all-round lubricant for all types of intercourse and are safe to use with condoms.
These do not contain any water. They offer a different feel from water-based personal lubricants. Silicone-based lubricants are not absorbed by skin or mucous membranes and consequently last longer or until the user washes away with warm soapy water.
Many different silicone lubricants are commercially available, with varying quality and performance. Commonly used silicone molecules include, cyclomethicone, dimethicone, dimethiconol and trimethicone which are all found in hair and beauty products because of the way it softens and hydrates skin.
Quality silicone-based lube should be hypoallergenic as they contain no preservatives or glycerine, however spot testing on sensitive skin like your inner elbow is recommended to see if you have a silicone allergy – which is very uncommon.
Silicone lubricants are not safe to use with some other silicone blends found in Adult Toys and thus you should always refer to your product manual before use with silicone lube. Silicone based lubricants are particularly suited to anal sex because they don’t dry out but are safe to use with all kinds of intercourse. They are safe to use with condoms.
Oil-based lubricants may be considered desirable for people who are in relationships not requiring condom use and who wish to avoid certain additives and preservatives often found in other lubricants.
Oil based lubricants can cause blockages in pores and skin irritations that can lead to thrush amongst other skin conditions. Oil based lubricants may or may not be safe to use with Adult Toys so checking the product manual is always recommended.
These are water-based lubricants thickened with silicone molecules or natural oils. Hybrid lubes can vary vastly in quality, ingredient makeup and irritability to skin.
When using with condoms or Adult Toys, ensure that you check that either the silicone or oil content is compatible with the condom or toy in question. Sticking to TGA approved products is the safest way to ensure that your lubricant is made to the highest pharmaceutical quality.
When buying lubricants, the safest way to ensure you are getting a pharmaceutical quality, hydrating, pH balanced lubricant is to purchase TGA approved lubricants.
Avoid any lubricants advertising spermicide as no lubricant can be used as an effective method of contraception.
Steer clear of any numbing lubricants as pain is our natural defence mechanism against harm. Numbing reduces your ability to recognise and address pain, which shouldn’t be present during intercourse.
Remember to always do your research when purchasing lubes and to check its compatibility with you, your partner, and/or your adult toys so that you can choose what’s best for you.