If you’re wondering why many women are switching to organic cotton pads, then we’re here to give you the lowdown.
Here we’re taking a look at the key differences between conventional pads and pads made with organic cotton.
Why it’s important to think about your period care
The vagina is one of the most absorbent and sensitive parts of the body. When you think about it, the tampons and pads you’re using on your period come into contact with your vagina every day that you bleed, for every cycle. It’s therefore important to care for your body and be mindful of what you’re using!
There are many differences between conventional and organic cotton pads, from what they are made of to the impact they have on the environment.
How it’s made
Organic cotton pads are a made with a sustainable material. Conventional cotton is a very water-intensive crop, taking an estimated 20,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of cotton. Organic cotton, on the other hand, is 80% rain-fed. It uses 71% less water to produce.
Farming methods for conventional cotton also use toxic pesticides and herbicides. It uses 16% of the world’s insecticides and 7% of the world’s pesticides. These cause harm to the farmers, pollute rivers and poison both the air and soil. Whereas, organic cotton respects the natural environment and aims to protect wildlife and farmer’s health. It’s grown without toxic chemical pesticides, uses more sustainable farming practice and produces up to 94% less greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also important to note that organic cotton is produced without GMO.
We, as consumers, are becoming increasingly aware of the amount of plastic we use in our daily lives. Tampons, pads and liners generate more than 200,000 tonnes of waste per year. So, it’s super important to consider what is in the products you’re using.
Some conventional pads were recently found to be around 90% plastic. This includes plastic packaging, wraps, backings and polypropylene/polyethylene in the actual pads. This amount of plastic has a big impact on the environment. Plastic takes 400-1000 years to degrade. This means that every single pad that you, your mum and your grandma have ever used is STILL in landfill. When you put it like that, it’s pretty shocking!
This heavy use of plastic can also increase discomfort and irritation during your period. Plastic is not breathable and is certainly not soft against the delicate vaginal area. The plastic in pads can also trap heat and bacteria, potentially leading to infection, irritation and itching.
When you use organic cotton pads, there is no plastic against your skin. They are often wrapped and packaged in eco-friendly alternative materials such as bio-film, paper and cardboard. Using organic cotton pads helps you significantly reduce the amount of plastic you send to landfill on your period.
Many conventional pads contain fragrance, deodorants and perfumes, marketed with the idea that this will leave you feeling ‘fresher’. However, fragrance is a chemical and can cause itching, irritation and soreness. Not only this, but fragrance can alter the vaginal pH balance. This increases the likelihood of you developing infections, UTIs and bacterial vaginosis. Organic cotton pads don’t contain fragrance, perfume or deodorant, which keeps the skin free from irritation. You can find out more about fragrance in period care here.
Organic cotton is naturally soft and breathable. Anecdotally many of our customers tell us they feel fresh and comfortable using organic cotton pads – no fragrance required.
Conventional pads can also contain superabsorbents. Sodium polyacrylate is one of these super absorbent compounds. It is known to absorb hundreds of times its own weight. This polymer is said to be “highly toxic when inhaled or ingested, causing damage to your eyes, skin and lungs.” Not something you want near one of the most sensitive parts of your body, right? Organic cotton pads do not contain superabsorbents. However, this doesn’t affect the performance. Organic cotton is naturally absorbent. The absorbencies for organic cotton products are in line with industry standards.
Some conventional pads have also been found to contain chlorine bleach. Bleaching creates dioxins as a by-product. Dioxins are a health concern, often linked to Endometriosis. Organic cotton products are sterilised without the use of chlorine bleach, so are again kinder to your vagina!
Our consultant gynaecologist, Ms Anne Henderson explains that organic cotton period care products “have a natural softness which is not present in synthetic fabric. It is extremely comfortable to wear in the delicate vaginal and vulval areas. Organic cotton is both highly absorbent and breathable and keeps the delicate skin drier and free from irritation than synthetic alternatives”.