Good Clean Love® lubricants and vaginal moisturizers are built on the principles of Bio-Match®. You might have seen this phrase in their marketing materials, but what does it really mean, and why is it important?
The foundational principle behind Bio-Match is that products designed to be used on the body should – as much as possible – be developed with the same physical and chemical characteristics as the body part the product is supposed to be applied to. We believe this approach enables the body to operate within its normal parameters, supporting health of local tissues and larger systems. This common-sense approach is something that has been ignored by manufacturers of vaginal products. They have been able to get away with it because when vaginal tissues are damaged, there is often no sign or symptom. When they do occur, they can be slow to develop and overlap with very common conditions, so it is difficult to pin symptoms on a particular product. But research has shown that use of many commercially available lubricants is associated with development of bacterial vaginosis (BV) and susceptibility to viral and bacterial infections, in addition to the initial sloughing of layers of vaginal epithelial cells.
Bio-Match avoids these problems by developing products with three foundational principles in mind. First, vaginal products should be iso-osmotic with vaginal fluid. This prevents the product from drying out vaginal tissues, killing cells, and lowering the epithelial barrier effectiveness. Second, vaginal products should have a pH that matches that of a healthy vagina (less than 4.5). This helps suppress pathogenic bacteria that compete for resources in vaginal fluid.
Bio-Match is really about getting out of the body’s way and letting it do what it does best.
Third, vaginal products should contain lactic acid as the primary pH adjuster. Not only does it lower pH of a product to match vaginal fluid, lactic acid suppresses pathogens better than other acids, such as acetic acid1. This enables it to act as a natural preservative in the product without altering the vaginal microbiome upon use. Together, these three characteristics allow lactobacilli to flourish and support tissue health, creating an optimal vaginal microbiome. None of these is anything other than what a healthy, functional vaginal ecosystem would normally do. Bio-Match is really about getting out of the body’s way and letting it do what it does best.
Three separate independent studies have shown that Good Clean Love’s flagship product, Almost Naked, is safer than most other lubricants on the market. (“Independent” in this case means that Good Clean Love was not involved in the research in any way and did not have any knowledge of the study until after publication.) First, in 2012, the landmark paper by Dezzutti and colleagues revealed that hyperosmolar lubricants were damaging to vaginal epithelium, but Almost Naked – an iso-osmotic formulation – was not2. Next, in 2019, Wilkinson et al. showed that Almost Naked was safer than other products for epithelial cell immune response and barrier function3. And in 2021, Łaniewski et al. showed that Almost Naked was safer on vaginal Lactobacillus species than other products4. Together, these studies reveal that Bio-Match principles are critical for developing vaginal products that are safe for women’s health.
- O’Hanlon DE, Moench TR, Cone RA. In vaginal fluid, bacteria associated with bacterial vaginosis can be suppressed with lactic acid but not hydrogen peroxide. BMC Infect Dis. 2011;11:200. doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-200
- Dezzutti CS, Brown ER, Moncla B, et al. Is wetter better? An evaluation of over-the-counter personal lubricants for safety and anti-HIV-1 activity. PloS One. 2012;7(11):e48328. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048328
- Wilkinson EM, Łaniewski P, Herbst-Kralovetz MM, Brotman RM. Personal and Clinical Vaginal Lubricants: Impact on Local Vaginal Microenvironment and Implications for Epithelial Cell Host Response and Barrier Function. J Infect Dis. 2019;220(12):2009-2018. doi:10.1093/infdis/jiz412
- Łaniewski P, Owen KA, Khnanisho M, Brotman RM, Herbst-Kralovetz MM. Clinical and Personal Lubricants Impact the Growth of Vaginal Lactobacillus Species and Colonization of Vaginal Epithelial Cells: An in Vitro Study. Sex Transm Dis. 2021;48(1):63-70. doi:10.1097/OLQ.0000000000001272