The skin of the vulva is also colonised by natural microbial flora including lactobacilli. In addition, the skin produces a protective hydrolipidic film from its own lipids (fats) and moisture binding substances. The hydrolipidic film has an acidic pH of about 5.0–5.5 and is also known as the protective acid mantle of the skin. By this means a natural defence against pathogens (disease-causing micro-organisms) is also given in the vulvar area.
A healthy system can compensate for external influences and, for example after washing, restore the hydrolipidic film and the skin’s protective mechanisms and defence against infection.
In case of sustained or long-lasting disruption of the hydrolipidic film, the skin cannot regenerate itself quickly enough, which can result in skin irritation and damage. Skin damaged in this way can be more susceptible to pathogens, which can spread and also enter the vagina.