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Do you ever get that whiplash feeling when you totally understand what a bunch of words mean individually, but once they're strung together in a certain way, you have absolutely no idea what's being said? I felt like this when I spent four years getting fluent in schoolroom French and then went to live with a bunch of teenagers in basically Belgium and could understand exactly zero of the slang I was hearing.
I also felt this way when someone in a Facebook group asked if any of us had tried hyaluronic acid condoms.
OK, so that is not a typo. Apparently.
I found the website for the one brand that makes them, but there's not a ton of information on the site. Plus, my first reaction when I see ~sex innovations~ is generally "Is that safe?" There's lots of bad lube; unregulated and fraudulent products (don't buy a Hitachi off of Amazon, FYI, unless you want to waste your money and possibly get electrocuted); and dumb ideas out there in Sex Toy Land, so research is important.
Okamoto says their condoms are coated in "hyaluronan," which is basically a trade name for hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a pretty buzzy beauty ingredient, especially in K-beauty — it's in a lot of serums and sheet masks. Though that shouldn't automatically make you think this is OK for your bits, since I certainly wouldn't want to use a condom coated in AHAs or a retinoid.
A little bit of digging on the internet brought up some reassurance (is finding scholarly sources before you buy a specific brand of condom neurotic? Maybe!) from WOUNDS: A Compendium of Clinical Research and Practice. The study details using hyaluronic acid as a treatment for pressure ulcers, more commonly known as bedsores.
(Sidebar: I really hope the next guy I go on a date with googles my name beforehand and finds me talking about bedsores and condoms all over the internet.)
The study states: "Reports suggest that the therapeutic use of hyaluronic acid favors tissue regeneration by modulating the hydration and osmotic balance. [...] Different studies show that hyaluronan and derived-hyaluronic acid products are safe and free of adverse effects."
OK, great. If it's safe to use on an ulcer, it's probably safe to put inside me.
I was pretty convinced, but I did a little more digging (Google Scholar is your friend) and found a clinical study for a product called Hyalofemme, which, maybe you guessed it, is a hyaluronic acid gel used "for improvement of vaginal dryness." Five pages of study criteria later, I hit the abstract, which said: "No serious adverse event occurred, and the AE that were related to the test product or suspicious were in mild level."
No serious adverse events, you guys! Mild levels! How reassuring. Honestly, I'm super into the idea of a moisturizing condom — it was one of the things I really liked about using coconut oil as lube, and it makes me side-eye all those articles about putting sheet masks on your bits a little less.
I welcome the K-beautification of all our condoms, and I'll bet you anything snail essence is next to hit the market.