Bleaching or Lightening

Your skin is


Fact: vulvas don’t need to be lighter skinned. They vary in skin tone, from pink to brownish black, and whilst there’s no ‘normal’ colour, it’s normal for both the inner and outer labia to be darker than skin elsewhere on the body after puberty.

Labia can get darker as time goes on, as they are affected by hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy or ageing.

People with a darker complexion will naturally have darker labia than those with lighter skin. This is completely normal and yet some people worry theirs needs to be lightened – why? Some believe it’s because a lot of people only see other vulvas in porn and popular culture. As the majority of porn performers are white and are more likely to have pink vaginas, this may cause them to worry that their darker vulva needs to be lightened.

Vaginal bleaching (which technically should be called vulval bleaching, as the procedure is applied to the vulva, not the vagina) is a procedure that may involve using topical creams, chemical peels, or laser treatments to lighten the skin of the vulva. It can result in vaginal burns, scarring and pain while having sex.

If you’ve considered vaginal bleaching, please know that there’s no need to change your skin to fit an unrealistic expectation. It’s natural for vulvas to be darker. If you feel uncomfortable about yours, ask yourself why. Perhaps it is because you haven’t seen a body that’s similar to yours? (In which case, know that it’s unfair to compare yourself to other people and images— we’re all wonderfully different and that’s a great thing.) Or maybe someone has said something which has made you question your body? (In which case, that was mean and insensitive of them. It is not your responsibility to change your body to find acceptance from critical people).

Vulvas come in a whole variety of tones, as you can see below.

Photos of labia with darker skin tone to the rest of the body

If you don’t have a vagina but your partner or friends do, it’s important to celebrate their body as it is. Nobody should ever shame someone for the colour of their skin by commenting on it or pressuring them to change their appearance. Vulvas don’t need to be lightened or whitened – that’s the truth.