If you've been looking for another item to file under "trends that should never exist", you may be delighted — and equally horrified — to learn to learn that women are now giving themselves a cucumber vagina facial. Yes, you read that correctly.
A quick Google search of "cucumber vagina cleanse" yields instructional YouTube videos and blog articles that claim the cucumber can naturally flush out and "sanitize" the vagina. The blogs wrongly state that cucumbers can "keep away STDs because it can be highly acidic", when in fact, experts say this "cleanse" can actually increase your chances at an STI.
So how does this ~magical~ vagina facial work? It involves peeling a cucumber, inserting it into your vagina, and twisting it around for 20 minutes. While this sounds like just another trend that will soon go away, it should be taken seriously, because the cucumber vagina cleanse can actually be extremely dangerous.
Horrified by the cucumber craze, Dr. Jen Gunter, OB/GYN and pain medicine physician, wrote a blog post denouncing the supposed benefits of the cucumber vagina cleanse on Wednesday. She explained that douches, cleanses, and steams do nothing other than potentially harm the good bacteria in your vagina. Yet, there's this huge misconception that vaginas need to be cleaned, when, in reality, vaginas clean themselves.
"I just don’t think anything capable of getting blossom end rot should go in a vagina."
"It is a modern 'faux natural' riff on vaginas are dirty," Dr. Gunter tells Bustle. "The natural being, leave vaginas alone as they are not dirty. I have told women all day, every day for 25 years that vaginas don't need cleaning, but yet store shelves are filled with hygiene products so my message is easily countered with slick advertising preying on or amplifying the institutionalized misogyny about vaginas health. People sadly think if it is the drug store it is safe or good, but my answer is always 'They sell cigarettes.'"
When you clean your vagina, you run the risk of hurting the very things whose job it is to clean it. "By damaging lactobacilli and the mucosa attempts at vaginal cleaning increase a woman's risk of contracting HIV or gonorrhea if she is exposed. Paradoxically, it will also cause odor," Dr. Gunter wrote.
Women aren't taught enough about their own bodies and this just serves as one example of this lack of information. If you still aren't convinced your vagina can take care of itself, let's take a trip back to 1987 when someone used a cucumber as a dildo replacement and ended up with a vaginal and bladder perforation. The cucumber went through the vagina and into the abdominal cavity. While their intention may not have been cleaning, it still goes to show that inserting vegetables into your vagina, for whatever reason, is just not a good idea.
Plus, who knows where that cucumber has been? "Cucumbers seem prone to all kinds of nasty fungi and I just don’t think anything capable of getting blossom end rot should go in a vagina," wrote Dr. Gunter. "There has been an increase over the past few years of opportunistic fungal infections, organisms that typically don’t cause human infection making the jump to humans when the right opportunity presents itself. An opportunity like say direct inoculation into a vagina. All in all I’d say it’s probably wise to not introduce an object with unknown plant microorganisms into your vagina. And no, a little wash in the kitchen sink it’s going to sterilize the cucumber."
Thankfully, it's not just doctors who realize how awful this is. Twitter users are also shocked — and sad — over the news. Here are the best twitter reactions to women putting cucumbers in their vaginas.