Many women with lichen sclerosus (LS) have found that a borax solution applied twice daily can work for a full reversal of fusing symptoms, at least temporarily, without worsening of the condition. There is also some good evidence to suggest that borax consumed daily in water may correct nutritional deficiencies of boron. This isn’t necessarily going to be the solution to your lichen sclerosus, but many of us may be unwittingly deficient in boron. It’s worth exploring.
What is borax?
Borax – also sodium borate, sodium tetraborate or disodium tetraborate – is a boron compound. It is NOT boric acid or boron, and should not be confused with these. Borax is a mineral and a salt of boric acid. Borax is a crystalline powder of clear crystals that easily dissolve in water. Boric acid is the result of borax being mixed with an acid, rather than an alkaline mineral that is mined from the ground, like borax.
Borax has a very alkaline pH, at 9.3. The higher the pH number, the more alkaline it is.
Where to find borax
Borax can be found in some countries in the laundry aisle of the supermarket or in markets. It may not be easily available in some countries, but should be accessible online.
How to apply borax to a lichen sclerosus fused vulva
- Saturate a glass of water with borax by adding a teaspoon at a time and stirring until the water is ‘saturated’ – that is, cannot dissolve any more borax in it.
- Using a cotton tip, gently apply the borax solution to the labia, ensuring to get into the cracks and crevices.
- Apply morning and night for as long as it takes to see results, but if you do not see results after a few weeks or a month, you may not be mixing the solution correctly.
- In the day, apply coconut, emu oil, or vitamin E as is your preferred moisturiser.
- LS seems to like a change of treatment strategy, so if this stops working, switch it up for baking soda or apple cider vinegar that contains the mother (Braggs is a good brand).
- Some of you may find taking a teaspoon of borax dissolved in a litre of water each day to be helpful. See below for rationale, and do your homework!
Why does borax work like this?
It isn’t clear exactly why boron – what borax is made of/turned into – works so well for lichen sclerosus either taken orally or applied topically, but there has been suggested that boron is an essential mineral that is often lacking in our food supply. Normally boron is found in our fruit and vegetables, but areas with poor or overused soils can be quite deficient in this mineral.
This is what the research tells us about boron.
- Boron is a trace mineral with vitally important roles in metabolism – it is necessary for all plant, animal and human health.
- Boron is essential for the growth and maintenance of bone.
- Boron improves wound healing
- Boron impacts the body’s usage of oestrogen, testosterone and vitamin D.
- Boron boosts magnesium absorption.
- Boron reduces inflammatory markers such as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and tumour necrosis factor-alpha
- Boron raises antioxidant enzyme levels (superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase)
- Boron protects against oxidative stress and heavy metal toxicity caused by pesticides
- Boron improves electrical activity in the brain, improving mental performance and short-term memory in older people.
- Boron influences key biomolecules like S-adenosyl methionine (SAM-e) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD).
- Boron has demonstrated preventative and therapeutic effects in several cancers (prostate, cervical, lung) and multiple and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
- Boron may help to reduce the negative impact of chemotherapy.
- No study found improvements in any medical condition at doses over 3mg per day, suggesting that 3mg per day would be a suitable dose for anyone at risk of low boron levels.
- No estimated average requirements (EARs) or dietary reference intakes (DRIs) have been developed for boron – we only have an upper intake level of 20mg per day for anyone aged 18 or over.
- There are no studies showing harmful effects of boron.
- You can look these research studies up yourself with Lara Pizzorno’s excellent piece in a medical journal here.
Is borax safe?
Borax has a muddled history with mixed safety messages. Ultimately this is a decision you will need to make for yourself, since using borax on the vulva just isn’t anywhere as a treatment protocol or researched remedy for lichen sclerosus fusing. Typically, borax is considered to be as safe as regular salt and baking soda, but may not be allowed to be in food products.
Skin irritation may occur with borax use, though many women have found it very tolerable and effective. Borax does not penetrate the skin and is not believed to accumulate in your body if you eat it or breathe it is. It would take a lot (eaten) to poison you, but in the same way you’d have to eat a lot of salt to poison yourself. Nobody is using borax in their poisoning plans.
Borax is not damaging to the environment, besides the mining process itself, for which you will need to make up your own mind about.