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We ask that all individuals over 12 years of age wear a face mask when attending our practice in person. Videoconsultations are conducted via our dedicated virtual clinic to maximise patient and staff safety. Long consultations and our See and Treat service remain adjusted under our COVIDsafe plan to include the use of telehealth to minimise face to face time. We require that all patients provide a referral prior to booking an appointment so we can identify and manage urgent and emergency conditions in a timely manner, and so that Dr Tomlinson can assess your suitability for a telehealth appointment and identify any further information or investigations that might be required before your consultation. We are currently booking routine, non-urgent new patient appointments seven months ahead, and as such we recommend that patients with suspicious skin lesions (not biopsy proven skin cancers) seek biopsy and/or treatment from a provider with a shorter waiting list.  If you are eligible to get vaccinated and/or boosted, please do so. 

Vaginal lightening, vaginal tightening & hymen repair

Written by Dr Jill Tomlinson on .

 Dr Jill Tomlinson does not provide vaginal lightening, vaginal tightening or hymen repair services. The following information is provided to assist individuals who have come to our website seeking information on these services.

"Vaginal" lightening

There are many myths and misconceptions about female genitals. The term “vaginal lightening” itself points to a misconception – many individuals mistakenly think that the word “vagina” refers to everything between a woman’s legs. In fact, the vagina is an internal tube like structure – the place where a woman puts a tampon (if she uses a tampon), and the pathway through which a baby is born (if the baby is delivered naturally). The vagina is a tube connecting the uterus (womb) with the outside world.
The diagram on the right (from a Queensland Health website) shows the anatomical terms for the different parts of the female anatomy. Other terms that you may hear health professionals use are “vulva” or “perineum” which are used to describe the outside parts of the female genitals.

Certain websites promote myths about female genitals. For example, this website, which talks about natural methods of vaginal lightening, suggests that women can have darker labia “due to sexual experience over the years". In truth, sexual intercourse does not affect labial pigmentation. Being sexually active also does not cause permanent changes in the size of your labia. Masturbation also does not affect the pigmentation or size of your labia. 

“Natural” products that we do not recommend that you use to attempt to lighten the skin of your labia, anus, nipples, scrotum, vagina or other body parts include lemon juice, milk, rice powder, turmeric, yoghurt, gram flour, orange peel, almonds, mint leaves, lime juice, tomato juice and cucumber juice. We also do not recommend that you try to lighten your vagina or other body parts with Vitamin E, Vitamin C, L-glutathione soap, papaya soap, bleaching cream, baby oil, or mineral oil.

We are not aware of any evidence that you can prevent darkening or reduce pigmentation by wearing a particular type of underwear, or by shaving rather than waxing, or by using soap or other cleansers, by eating a healthy diet, by avoiding fatty foods or by drinking lots of water.

There is evidence that your skin can become more pigmented through sun exposure, but unless you regularly go out in the sun with your genital region exposed there is little reason to think that using sunblock on your genitals will be helpful.

We do not recommend that you spend money purchasing Bleach Babe Vaginal Bleach, My Pink Wink Cream, Pink Daisy Labia Bleaching Cream, Biofade Anal Bleaching Cream, Dr. Pinks Anal Bleaching Cream, Honey Bare Premium Butt Bleach, Clean and Dry Intimate Wash, Vigala, Pink Privates, Biofade, Secret Bright, Lakshma Maxxi, or Lick & Luck Butt Bleach.

We’re sceptical about any before and after photo of “vaginal” bleaching where the images show pictures that are clearly of different women, as on this website (the clitoral hood and labia minora depicted in these images are very different).

If you notice a new or growing pigmented spot on your labia it is recommended that you see your GP to have it checked out, just as you should if you have a lump or a spot elsewhere on your body that is changing or concerning you. But in general, if you are concerned about the pigmentation of your labia (and many women are), the most important thing to understand is that every woman’s genitals are different and that it is quite normal and natural to have pigmented labia. Changing the pigmentation of your labia is about as achievable and necessary as permanently changing the natural colour of the lips on your face, or your eye colour.

Vaginal tightening creams & surgery

We do not recommend that you purchase or use vaginal tightening creams. These creams generally "work" by counteracting your natural lubrication. As such they do not tighten your vagina, they just make sexual intercourse more uncomfortable.

Dr Tomlinson does not perform vaginal tightening surgery. If you have concerns regarding your vagina we advise you to discuss this with your General Practitioner, who may refer you to a qualified gynaecologist who is trained to deal with these issues. 

 Hymen repair

Dr Tomlinson does not perform hymen repair surgery. Hymen repair surgery is not taught as part of the plastic surgery curriculum in Australia and although it is technically simple for a fully trained plastic surgeon to repair or reconstruct a hymen there are philosophical reasons that many surgeons elect not to perform this surgery. There are doctors in Australia who offer this service (including doctors who are not qualified surgeons), even to women who have previously delivered a baby vaginally, but we do not recommend hymen repair. There is no way of telling whether a woman is a virgin from inspecting her hymen or vagina.

Website Disclaimer

This website is authored by Dr Jillian Tomlinson, a fully qualified plastic, reconstructive and hand surgeon who practices in Melbourne, Australia. This website aims to inform patients and health professionals about hand surgery, illness prevention and the practice philosophy of Dr Jill Tomlinson. This website's content is designed to complement, not replace, the relationship between a patient and his/her own doctor. The information is not intended to replace the advice of a health professional. This website does not host or receive funding from advertising or from the display of commercial content.