The following article about the role of female hygiene in vulvovaginal health is created by three employees of Reckitt Benckiser LLC, a company that manufactures cleaning products. The Company produces cleaners, disinfectants, and deodorizers for household use. Reckitt Benckiser’s products serve the chemical and household products industries.This means that there are conflicts of interest. Despite that, I publish it to offer an interesting read, to create awareness about all the facets concerning female hygiene. Cretan-Garden soaps are not chemical, but natural, and are safe to be used for also intimate hygiene, if you use the soap in the right way: rinse with much water. If you never used Cretan-Garden soaps before, observe how your skin reacts. In case you suffer from vulvovaginal health problems, I advise not to use any kind of soap or detergent, but to contact first your general practitioner, or an officially registered naturopath.
Role of female intimate hygiene in vulvovaginal health: Global hygiene practices and product usage https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1745505717731011 Role of female intimate hygiene in vulvovaginal health: Global hygiene practices and product usage Review by: Ying Chen, Elizabeth Bruning, Joseph Rubino, Scott E Eder First Published: September 22, 2017
Women use various feminine hygiene products, often as part of their daily cleansing routine; however, there is a paucity of published medical literature related to the external vulva and how personal hygiene practices can affect it. This review article provides background information on the physiological changes that occur during women’s lives and reviews the relevance of transient and resident microbiota as they relate to common vaginal and vulvar disorders. It also discusses the need for female intimate hygiene, common practices of feminine hygiene from a global perspective, and the potential benefits of using suitable external, topical feminine vulvar washes to minimize the risk of vulvovaginal disorders and to improve overall intimate health in women around the world.
Supported by international guidelines, daily gentle cleansing of the vulva is an important aspect of feminine hygiene and overall intimate health.
Women should be encouraged to choose a carefully formulated and clinically tested external wash that provides targeted antimicrobial and other health benefits without negatively impacting on the natural vulvovaginal microbiota. Read on here.
[Additional by the admin. A.J.: daily washing with herbal olive oil soap is safe, when using the soap in the right way, which means: using enough water to rinse.]
Shampoos are just another kind of soap, a liquid soap, and with as many chemicals as the most of the industrial soaps and detergents. Even the neutral shampoos can contain chemicals. Read therefore the information on the box or container before buying a soap or shampoo. Soap is per definition alkaline. Shampoos therefore as well. To make a shampoo more neutral, by lowering the alkalinity, the industry uses mostly chemicals, acidic chemicals. To make a shampoo lather the industry adds special chemicals, named sulfates. An informational article about it: The facts about shampoo lather. Lather is not a guarantee that your hair and scalp become clean though.
Shampoos, all sorts of shampoos, the many brands, all are claiming to be the best for your hair, offering for every hair type another shampoo, another conditioner, another hair mask. I have used for as long as they exist pH nautral shampoos, hair conditioners, masks, but my hair was, despite the neutral pH of the shampoos, and the beautiful natural conditoners, and masks, never really okay. My hair is thick, curly, dry, fluffy, and now I am becoming grey it is even dryer. I have tried everything. Because of the mentioned characteristics of my hair it is impossible to have it long. Not even half long.
Herbal olive oil soap as a shampoo bar
I have started lately to use my own herbal olive soap for hair washing, to see what happens. It looks better and better. . The most significant difference is that I do not need to wash my hair more than once per week. My hair looks and feels normal, is so much easier to be dressed. I was wondering why.
Though pH neutral shampoos can be used every day, the question is if washing your hair every day is really okay for hair and scalp. My thoughts go far back in time when hair was washed just once per week. That had a reason: the skin of the scalp is not the same skin as on the rest of your body. Every single hair is growing out of the scalp-skin and it is the skin that keeps the hair in a good condition. We need indeed hair conditioners and hair masks when we wash the hair daily. But if we offer the skin of the scalp the time to do their work in their own natural way, and if we do not immediately destroy their work, by daily taking away what the skin itself produces, namely sebum, we do not need hair conditioners as we do now. Daily washing the hair is maybe okay according to shampoo manufacturers, but it is a matter of logic thinking that the natural resistance of the skin and the hair will decrease because of exhaustion, or will become overactive at the very beginning, when the daily shampoo attacks start, even when the shampoo is pH neutral. Using a neutral shampoo once per week was for me not the solution. Reason to use it more. And that did not work either.
A natural conditioner: argan oil
My own experiences with my oily cold process herbal olive soaps are that washing my hair with it once per week is really enough. After making my hair towell dry I use a teaspoon pure argan oil and spread it over and through the towel-dry hair and massage it into the scalp and hair. I let the hair dry naturally. My fluffy, dry hair is gone, but I expect that hte condition of my hair will improve more. In a few weeks I will add an update here.
To make it more personal I have added about 20 drops of rosemary essential oil to the 50 ml bottle, and stirred it very good. Argan oil and essential oils can be bought at House of Deli, Crete:
Hairloss due to electromagnetic radiation from overuse of cellphone – ResearchGate
My personal experiences with EMF and hair loss: during the time that I was not aware of the impact of EMF on my health, not informed about symptoms of overradiation, I was indeed losing so much hair that I was wondering what was going on. I have written about this in my blog Multerland, in several posts[Archives 2017-2018]. It was the start of a private study about EMF. The consultation of an osteopath was helpful to stop my bad physical condition: she worked on my scalp, neck, and it felt as if a layer of glass broke and my scalp was back to normal again. After several treatments my hair was growing again. The new hair looked like baby hair, but after some months it was back to normal. The only way to get rid of the effects if wireless radiation is to live in an EMF free environment. I bought the Acousticom2. This calibrated device is able to measure EMF. In this way I could find the rooms where the radiation is almost zero, or at least the less, where to put the bed, where the desk with computer. Of course all wireless is turned off, the smart meter is turned off, the Wi-Fi is turned off, also in the computer and printer. All is cabled, I do not have internet on my cellphone and mostly the cellphone is on flymodus.
In September 2015 I was for a week on Crete and visited Knossos, and the Minoan Palace, the largest Bronze Age archaeological site. I had already seen many pictures of the palace on the web, but when there I was touched by the atmosphere in a surprising way. Because thousands of tourists visit this site day after day, and so many tourist buses and cars fill the parking places, I expected that it would become a noisy, stressy experience, but the visitors were silent, calm, and did not even talk with each other. The atmosphere was so intense peaceful that it is justified to comparethe site with a holy place. I remember what I once read about powerful energy spots on earth, in the magnetic field of the earth, in the soils, and all the layers beneath the surface.
Monasteries were also built on these special spots. Stonehenge is another example. The Minoans who lived in the palace of Knossos were highly civilized, not only rationally, but also spiritually. Priestesses were also living in the palace of Knossos, an enormous complexity of buildings with even four storeys. The Minoan Lady, also named La Parisienne, was a priestess. Continue reading below the picture.
When I decided to start a web shop to sell the seven soaps, made out of Cretan olive oil, herbs and essential oils, and searching for the picture that could be used for the logo, the icon in the media and blog, my thoughts went almost immediately to that one picture that I made in the Archaeological Museum in Heraklion, in 2015. It was an intuitive choice. For me the Minoan Lady was and is what I would like to represent in my products: ethics, values, respect, dignity, esthetics, beauty.
It is a pity that I lost the article that I once read about Minoan priestesses in Knossos and their role in the herb garden: only priestesses were allowed to pick the herb salvia fruticosa, or Greek sage. For that sage ritual they had to wear a white dress, because that herb was holy. When I smelled dried Greek sage some years ago -for the first time in my life- I understood. Because of that intense smell I also understand why it is used in rituals to clean the atmosphere in rooms, in buildings with negative energies, graveyards, in a diversity of cultures, world wide.
The use of soap in the Minoan Civilization
It is not certain if the Minoan Lady has used soap herself. There is nothing written about the use of soap in the palace of Knossos, though the first soaps seem to have been made in Greece, during the Minoan time. Here are some articles with information that explain for instance the use of salt in bathing rituals:
“Before modern medicine, salt water treated patients as a healing remedy. Before modern spa day, firm believers of its healing created a concept of therapeutic bathing. In order to cleanse the body, they infused salt with herbal blends, lavender and bay laurel leaves that extracted daily toxins. Another contribution salt progressed into was basic soap making. Dated around 2800 BC, the Greeks were one of the first soap makers who created mixtures of alkaline salts with local vegetable oils, animal fats and wood ashes to form soaps and detergents. By contrast, today an individual uses soap for bathing or personal hygiene, in ancient times, it was produced for cleaning cooking utensils, goods and medicinal purposes.”
“The oldest archaeological findings in Europe related to bathing habits date from the Bronze Age (2,400–800 BC). In the palaces of Knossos and Phaistos in Crete, the population of the Aegean Minoan civilization has left traces of special chambers devoted to bathing. Alabaster bathtubs excavated in Akrotiri (in Santorini Island), as well as wash basins and feet baths, showed how people from the Minoan civilization maintained their personal hygiene.”
“Lustral Basins were first identified by Arthur Evans at Knossos and consist of a sunken rectangular room reached by an L-shaped or dog-legged stairway. There is often a balustrade running alongside the stairway, normally ending with a pilaster supporting a column. All of the examples at Knossos, like the one at Mallia (above) were lined with gypsum and so Evans thought they were used for bathing—a clay tub was even found in one of them. However, a few of them were found in areas of the palace, the Throne Room for example, where relaxing in the tub seems unlikely. In those cases Evans believed they were used for ritual purification through lustration—hence the name”
Sources and additional information
Minoan woman or goddess from the palace of Knossos (“La Parisienne”) – Khan Academy
When writing this post it is July 2021. We, humans all over the world, have an experience with skin and pH(power of Hydrogen) values, while knowing maybe not anything about pH and if not being aware of the fact, why the skin of the dorsal of their hands looks so incredible bad since the last year. Most probably this is caused by the antiseptic sprays (high percentage alcohol) at the entrance of all shops. Not one doctor, dermatologist, talks about it. However, when one uses a soap to wash hands it has to be skin neutral. They say.
The pH value of the skin is on all places of the body different. Therefore one uses an average pH value, which is about 5 or lesser. What exactly is causing the pH value of the skin? First one needs to know what exactly is “skin”. Skin is an organ which covers and protects all what is beneath the skin, and outside the skin. The skin is nourished by the food we eat. If we never eat a balanced food, concerning pH levels, acidic and alkaline, the skin will not be able to have a healthy pH level. The influence of too much acidic food, which is the most popular among humans in the “civilized” countries, influences of course the constitution of the skin, and its pH values.
Also influences from outside the skin, like air pollution, artificial electromagnetic radiation, burning sun rays, extreme temperature, contribute to the condition of the skin, and its pH. On health websites one claims that only soaps with a pH value that is similar with the skin pH are healthy for keeping a healthy skin. This would mean that swimming in the salty sea pH 8,2), or ocean (pH 8,2), even bathing in tap-water (pH value between 6,5 and 8,5) or taking a shower should be avoided.
The neutral pH level soaps are a mix of the normal alkalinity of soaps, and mostly several chemicals to achieve a lower pH level. These chemicals are more skin damaging than a normal soap ever can. With other words: a lot of industrial propaganda for their so-called neutral pH products should be suspected.
The term alkaline is a sort of curse in the ears of many, because of the industrial propaganda for their self created myths that a soap must have a neutral pH value. How can they explain the alkalinity of for instance breast milk(pH of 6,35-7,35), the alkalinity of the skin of new-borns(pH value 7), the alkalinity of the amniotic fluid(pH value 7,1-7,3) in which the foetus swims before it is born? The foetus is extremely sensitive: imagine the damage that could be created in its development of organs, brains, eyes, blood vessels, nervous system, bones, skin…. Nature however found it better to let it swim in alkaline fluid, not in neutral fluid, neither in acidic fluid. The pH value of blood ranges between 7,35 and 7,45. It is the blood that nourishes the skin from inside, and the lymphatic fluid in the skin pours out the acidic waste to the surface of the skin. If the food habits of the human being are not healthy, unbalanced, too acidic, of course the blood will be more acidic and the skin as well. How high was the pH level of the skin of our ancestors? They washed with alkaline soap, without any problem. Skin problems occur because of an unhealthy life style, bad hygiene, the poisonous environment we live in, and the poisonous food people eat.
Healthy lymph have a pH that ranges between 7 and 10. The lymphatic system, part of the immune system, is a network of ducts that carry the lymphatic fluid (LF). LF also contains white blood cells called lymphocytes, fats, and proteins.. The lymphatic system, made up of lymphatic fluid, tiny vessels, nodes and organs, is responsible for removing excess fluid, infections and acidic waste.
Viruses, Corona and pH
There are several publications about viruses and how they react to low or high pH values. The most of the publications contradict each other. Some write: Viruses thrive, like bacteria, in an acidic environment. Viruses infect body cells by binding to the proteins in the cells and then multiplying. Scientific research shows that this process mainly takes place at a low pH value or in an acidic environment. An acidic environment has a pH of 0 to 7. As the pH becomes more basic, the activity of viruses decreases sharply. Scientists have established this in various studies in numerous viruses in both humans and animals. The relationship between pH value and infection-increasing activities has been demonstrated in, among others, influenza1, corona2, hepatitis C3, foot-and-mouth disease4 and other viruses in animals. By increasing the alkaline buffer in your body, which improves the pH value of your body cells, the sensitivity to viruses in the body could decrease More: 
Since scientists are not unanimously concluding that alkalinity of food, or body care products, create a not virus-friendly environment it is necessary to wait for more research.
The skin is an utterly sensitive organ that is kept healthy because of a constantly regenerating, ingenious circulation system of water, lymph, blood, and fats. Because of the complexity of the skin, to understand how the skin is built, how this organ functions, it is helpful to watch one or more educational videos about it. I collected these in a playlist.
How to maintain a healthy skin?
Since the nourishment of the skin takes place in the skin itself via the body systems and not on the surface, it is essential to eat healthy food and drink enough water (1-2 litres per day) next to other liquids like coffee, tea, soup, juiceses, etc.. Coffee and black teas de-hydrate the body. Breathing fresh air, being also physical active, contribute to an optimal digestion and therefore for a healthy skin as well. Daylight is also part of the natural skin care. Daylight creates a natural vitamin D that is adopted and transported by the skin into the body. The maintenance of the skin from the outside is part of the daily hygiene to keep bad smells, bacteria, viruses and fungi away, to avoid illnesses. Skin-friendly body oils moisturize the skin, and together with exfoliating the skin and massages a way to keep it vital, elastic, and shining.
It is astonishing that soap manufacturers of for instance the so popular Aleppo soap, Savon de Marseille, and Castile soap do not offer information about the pH value. The pH value of all natural soaps is 9. The Cretan Garden soaps are natural soaps, comparable with the Aleppo soaps, and have a pH value of 9 as well. This pH level is related with the formula for handcrafted natural soaps according to old traditions. There are manufacturers of the so-called neutral soaps, or so-called ecological degradable soaps who do not offer any information about that either. There are natural soap manufacturers who add natural acidic substances of for instance aloe vera to lower the pH level. For me its has been a conscious choice to follow up the old traditional methods and formulas. Though the Cretan Garden olive soap is alkalic, the skin needs just 15 minutes to come back to its own pH. The benefits of the olive oil, herbs and essential oils in the soap are all still present in the thin film that remains on the skin, nourish, protect and keep the skin elastic.
*Advice. In case the soap is used for scalp and hair washing: use argan oil after washing, on the towel-dry hair if you have dry and/or curly hair. Grey hair can be very dry as well. Argan oil is also used in the so-called Moroccan oil, but argan oil is pure oil, does not contain perfumes, or any other kind of chemicals. To make the argan oil more yours you can mix one drop essential oil with the argan oil in the palm of your hand before spreading it over the hair, and rub it in the hair and the scalp for about a minute.
*Advice for the use of soap on the skin of the face: Do not use soap too often. Use luke warm water and pat the skin of the face dry.
2. A skin-friendly body-oil
Make your own skin conditioner: Buy organic olive oil, and the essential oil used in the soap. Add 200 ml olive oil / 20 drops essential oil [for external use only!] in an empty and well cleaned fluid soap bottle with pump. Add just a little hand full of the homemade body oil immediately after washing to the wet and warm body from face to toes, spread it all over the skin. Then dry yourself with a towel. A very thin film is left. It offers a matt effect to skin, without weighing it, without leaving oily traces. It improves skin elasticity while preventing moisture loss that can contribute to the aging process. It keeps the skin smooth and soft, while leaving a natural healthy glow, younger looking result, and the wonderful scent of the essential oil. You can buy essential oils at House of Deli, Crete.
Attention: the advised total of drops essential oil on 200 ml olive oil, for a body oil is a safe total. On the website of the Aroma Therapy Foundation is written that the total depends on the power of each single essential oil: they are all different in weight, which means that one drop of lavender is lighter than one drop of oregano, for instance. They recommend for a body oil 20 – 40 drops on 100 ml olive oil. I recommend the maximum of 20 drops on 200 ml olive oil, to be used on body and face. Your skin could react on it anyway. Advice: try your home made body oil on a small spot on your arm, and wait to see how the skin reacts, before using it on the entire body. Do not use the body oil as a sun-oil. You can use it as an after-sun treatment. Protect your skin against the sun with a high protection factor cream. The best protection however is to avoid direct sunlight, by wearing a sun-hat, or to sit in the shadow.
3. Exfoliating the skin
Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the outer layer of your skin. If you do this well, in the way that fits with your skin type, this creates a bright, healthy looking skin because the circulation in the skin has improved. The right way of exfoliating allows a better absorption of body oils and creams. See also the Cretan Garden blog post: Exfoliating the skin.
*Advice: the skin of your face may not be exfoliated in the same way as the skin of the body. Because the skin of the face is constantly uncovered, dealing with variations in temperatures, air pollution, overdose of aggressive sunlight, dry air inside the house in winter, airco in summer and winter, the skin of the face needs a mild maintenance Not any kind of exfoliating is mild, unless one uses a wash cloth carefully.
Because Wikipedia offers a very excellent article about massage, types of massages, massages in history, and therapies with massages, I only would like to add some notes.
Massages stimulate the muscles, blood circulation, organs, metabolism in the cells, are balancing the body systems, unblock chakras, create a bridge between your mind and your body, and activate the skin as well, because the skin is the medium between the hands of the therapist and the body beneath the skin. To get used to a therapeutical massage one could start with foot massages. Videos: playlist 1, playlist 2 The Thai yoga massage is a possible next step: you wear comfortable clothes. Videos: playlist.
The skin is our natural border between our inner physical body, our inner world, our self, and the outside world, The human eveolution, related with the so-called civilization, brought changes in habits, also in clothing. Our ancestors did not wear clothes, they used the skin and fur of the animals they killed for food, to protect against cold. They did not live in closed houses but in caves, huts or tents. Fresh air was a constant factor. The air was not polluted in that time. The skin could bath day and night in clean air. Fresh air, oxygen, is necessary to keep the skin in a good condition. Opening windows, at least for an hour or two per day, is a must to keep the air-hygiene optimal. In summer I do this every morning, after waking up at about six o’clock, and close the windows after an hour or two. During winter I do this twice per day, for just five minutes: it is extreme cold in the Norwegian mountains.
Taking a daily walk, also in winter, in an environmentally healthy area, creates a healthy blood circulation. The blood is enriched by breathing in pure oxygen. The blood system transports the oxigen to also the skin.
We are the offspring of the humans who were living in the open air, with abundancies of daylight. We must realize that our skin did not change so much during evolution as our habits in clothing and living. We live almost constantly in a closed house, office, working place, car or any kind of public transport, with artificial light. Natural light, daylight, is essential for our well-being, and to keep a healthy skin. Note: daylight is created by the sun, but being in the full heat of a burning sun is not healthy. Also the shadow offers natural daylight
7. Water and healthy food
What you eat and drink can significantly affect your skin health. Drink at least a liter water per day, next to all other liquids like coffee, tea, juices or soup. Healthline offers excellent information about good food for a healthy skin.
Hygiene is a series of practices performed to preserve health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Hygiene refers to conditions and practices that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases.” Personal hygiene refers to maintaining the body’s cleanliness. Hygiene activities can be grouped into the following: home and everyday hygiene, personal hygiene, medical hygiene, sleep hygiene and food hygiene. Home and every day hygiene includes hand washing, respiratory hygiene, food hygiene at home, hygiene in the kitchen, hygiene in the bathroom, laundry hygiene and medical hygiene at home.
Many people equate hygiene with ‘cleanliness,’ but hygiene is a broad term. It includes such personal habit choices as how frequently to take a shower or bath, wash hands, trim fingernails, and wash clothes. It also includes attention to keeping surfaces in the home and workplace clean, including bathroom facilities. Some regular hygiene practices may be considered good habits by the society, while the neglect of hygiene can be considered disgusting, disrespectful, or threatening.- [Source]
Norway, Cretan Garden’s residence
The Cretan Garden website, blog and webshop are located in Norway and therefore following up the rules of the Norwegian Chamber of Commerce, and the so-called Matttilsynet, the Norwegian Food and Safety Authority. Cosmetics, whereto soap also belongs, are a department of this authority. Hygiene is a keyword.
The following texts are a translation of the term “hygiene” in the Big Norwegian Medicinal Encyclopaedia. When relevant I added information about hygiene within the context of making, curing, storing, packing and sending handcrafted soap. These extras are marked with “Cretan Garden’s additional information”.
“In everyday speech the word hygiene is about what is clean, fresh and promotes what is healthy, opposing to what is unhealthy and leads to disease. In traditional medical language, hygiene is often a collective term for health-promoting work and preventive medicine. Special emphasis is often placed on measures from the public sector to ensure public health. In the university teaching of medical students, the concept of hygiene has been replaced by preventive medicine or community medicine.” Source
“Hand hygiene is hand washing with soap and water or hand disinfection with alcohol-based disinfectant. Washing and disinfection remove large parts of the temporary, superficial bacterial flora on the hands, which consist of white staphylococci and diphtheroids.
Water and soap together with mechanical movements dissolve bacteria and dirt, and running water flushes it away. Wipe your hands with a paper towel and screw the tap back on with the used paper towel. Proper hand washing is the easiest, cheapest and most effective way to prevent the spread of infections. Avoiding sneezing or coughing by hand and instead using either a paper towel or elbow hook is also important to reduce the amount of bacteria or viruses on your hands at all times.” Source
“Food hygiene includes measures to ensure that water and food are suitable for consumption, and do not make people or animals sick. The supervision of this has been added to the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. The measures are largely based on common European rules.” Source
Handcrafted soap hygiene
Cretan Garden’s additional information: To be allowed to sell handcrafted soap in Norway one must be registered in the Norwegian “Brønnøysundregistrene“, an organization with strict rules about hygiene in the category “cosmetics” whereto also home made soap belongs. The rules about hygiene are created by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, Mattilsynet.
I strictly follow up their rules, not only about hygiene, but also about the information that has to be written in the information of the web-shop, and the packaging of the soap. Each Cretan Garden soap will be wrapped in a paper wrapper: the information is printed on the inside of the the wrapper.
“Through the World Health Organization (WHO), international agreements have been established on hygiene rules for persons traveling between different countries and in international goods transport. See international health regulations.” Source
General hygiene measures
“In practice, there is often a close connection between measures to ensure hygiene and what has been done for aesthetic reasons. This applies, for example, to workplaces and in public buildings where clutter and lack of cleanliness are the first signs that the condition can become unhygienic. Good technical maintenance, for example of ventilation systems, is also crucial for maintaining a hygienically sound indoor environment. It is important that measures are implemented in line with professional assessments. It can prevent excessive measures which in themselves can be harmful. In environmentally sound health care in the municipalities, the concept of hygienic judgment is central. These are discretionary assessments of what risk technical and environmental conditions may be for reduced health and the development of disease. Assessments of aesthetic conditions, such as clutter and lack of cleanliness, are central to this work, as mentioned above.” Source
Cretan Garden’s additional information: Cretan Garden soaps are created in a hygienic and well ventilated room. In a special for this purpose set up dust-free and dry, medium-warm room, the soaps can dry, to be stored hygienically when cured, and to be packed hygienically when ordered.