Do you know what’s in your period care products? Chances are you’ve probably always picked up your period essentials on autopilot, not thinking to question these trusted products. If this is the case, then you’re not alone. Our survey revealed 8/10 women aren’t aware of what their products are made from. In this blog, we are covering why it’s crucial to know what you’re using, by giving you the lowdown on 4 ingredients to be aware of in conventional period care.
Plastic can be found in both the product and packaging of mainstream tampons, pads and liners.
City to Sea revealed that mainstream pads contain up to 4 carrier bags worth of plastic. With pads being disposable items, this is plastic that will end up in landfill for 500+ years! Plastic in period care is not only damaging to the environment, but it could also impact your period health/wellbeing.
Plastic is a synthetic material that is linked to hormone disruption due to use of chemicals such as BPA (more on this here). Plastic-filled pads can also make your period super uncomfortable. Plastic traps heat and restricts airflow. It also doesn’t absorb liquid effectively, so your menstrual blood may sit on the top layer of the pad for longer. Menstrual blood can disrupt the delicate pH balance in your vagina therefore if blood is not effectively absorbed by your pads it can cause irritation and potentially thrush.
Tampons also contain plastic and conventionally come with plastic wrappers and plastic applicators, which is again bad for the planet. Plastic applicators are contributing to not only landfill waste, but also beach and ocean pollution.
Whilst this might sound like an important ingredient, ‘super absorbents’ are in fact artificial additives. They are sometimes referred to as ‘absorbing gels.’ This ingredient is commonly found in pads and is added to absorb more liquid. However, these absorbent compounds have been described as “highly toxic when inhaled or ingested, causing damage to your eyes, skin and lungs.”
Many conventional tampons contain rayon. This is a manmade material from cellulose wood pulp. When rayon is produced and bleached, this process produces dioxins as a by-product. Dioxins are linked to several health concerns including the reproductive health condition, endometriosis.
Rayon is also damaging to the planet, as toxic chemicals are used during the production process. It’s also associated with deforestation as the typical process for dissolving wood pulp for rayon wastes 70% of the tree!
Most mainstream pads contain fragrance and perfume chemicals. These products are marketed as making you feel ‘clean’ and ‘fresh’ on your period (side note: periods are NOT dirty). Fragrance is a chemical that can contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). These can disrupt hormonal balance which can lead to changes in your menstrual cycle and PMS symptoms.
Your vagina is a self-cleaning organ, so you don’t need fragranced products. Fragrance will often just throw the pH balance in your vagina off which can lead to a whole host of issues including itching, thrush or bacterial vaginosis (more on this here).
So, how can you avoid these ingredients?
Keen to switch up your period care for products that are kind to your body and the planet? Good news, there are plenty of alternatives now available! Including:
We hope this blog has inspired you to take a closer look at the products you’re using on your period and find what works for you! Next, catch up with switch stories from our community. Here, our customer Jenn shares her experience of using organic cotton pads.
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