My journey to natural beauty products started in 2013 when I changed all my toiletries, skin care and makeup to natural plant based products to avoid harmful toxins such as SLS, SLES, petroleum and parabens. Since then I’ve started also choosing vegan, cruelty-free and organic products. It wasn’t until 2017 that I started using organic and natural pads and tampons. In this blog post I’ll share the reasons why you should always choose natural and organic feminine wear.
Choosing natural and organic beauty products and feminine care
I will be honest and admit that one product I haven’t been able to switch is my anti-perspirant deodorant. I still use a mainstream deodorant, but I really hate having to use it. I tried for around 1-2 years to find a natural alternative and tried several natural brands including crystals that you wet and apply as well as handmade blocks that you rub on and nothing has been effective. I suffer with hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) so I need something that is really effective. Even going for a walk in a t-shirt in ice cold temperatures will make my underarms sweat, so it’s not your usual sweaty pits, but a little more extreme! It’s affected my life for a long time and in particular the clothes I wear – often dark clothes or something with a pattern where sweat patches won’t show. Anyway, if anyone knows of a highly effective natural alternative please do let me know! For the 1-2 years I did try natural deodorants I was massively sweaty and stank by the end of each day, only able to wear a top for one day at the most.
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So aside from my deodorant, I make sure everything else I use beauty-wise is natural, but surprisingly I hadn’t given much thought of my feminine care products until 2017 – four whole years after I switched to less toxic products. It had never crossed my mind that I could go natural with sanitary pads and tampons too.
I also hadn’t made the connection that regular sanitary pads and tampons could also be toxic. Surely big brands, which I used to use, only used the safest ingredients? Just cotton, right? I was pretty horrified to discover that might not be the case and that, shockingly, not using a natural organic tampon might increase your risk of TSS.
The type of tampon you use may increase your risk of TSS
I’d never before questioned the materials and ingredients used in my tampons and pads. I mean, why would I? I’d automatically assumed the huge well-known and often advertised feminine-wear companies would only use the best and safest ingredients, especially considering the delicate areas they are used for! Plus I never thought of them containing ‘ingredients’. I just assumed they were 100% cotton with a cotton string.
Unfortunately this isn’t necessarily the case, especially with the well-known mainstream brands.
Many conventional tampons and pads contain chlorine, plastic, dioxin, synthetic fibres, fragrance, dyes and non-organic cotton. In my opinion the non-organic part is dangerous enough, as you are putting traces of pesticides and toxic chemicals directly into a very absorbable part of your body, mixed with the other cocktail of synthetic fibres, plastics and toxins and we have no idea how many of these chemicals are being absorbed into our body and what damage they are causing.
I eat organic food whenever possible as I don’t want to consume pesticides, yet I was still using non-organic tampons for years after switching to organic food, without giving it a second thought. Doh.
Dioxin is a result of the chlorine process and I’ve read before that it’s one of the most carcinogenic toxins on the planet and our body doesn’t know how to rid itself of it, so stores it in fat cells which allows it to build up.
There’s some more information about how harmful dioxin is here: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dioxins-and-their-effects-on-human-health
My realisation that I should change to natural sanitary wear came about after reading an article about it online and then researching the ingredients used in tampons. There are a lot of articles that suggest there is a lower risk of TSS if you use natural organic tampons.
The natural tampon brand I have used for the past two years, Natracare, found this to be the case with their natural tampons in independent research:
‘Independent research, conducted at New York University Medical School, suggests that the use of 100% cotton tampons may reduce the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome compared with tampons that contain rayon. Natracare 100% cotton tampons were included in this research, and in the tests they did not produce the bacteria which leads to Toxic Shock Syndrome. All brands containing rayon did produce the bacteria.’ – Natracare
Although there are lots of articles online and a study that suggests a higher risk of TSS with non-natural tampons, this study found that you are still at risk of TSS no matter what tampon you use, and you’re potentially even at higher risk if you use a menstrual cup, so you are still at risk no matter what and need to be careful with whatever you choose to use.
But even if the risk of TSS is no different, I’d personally now still choose to use organic cotton tampons and pads, especially considering they are going inside my body and I don’t want there to be any risk of other damage from chemicals.
Plus it just makes sense to me to use a natural tampon over an artificial and chemical-laced one.
5 reasons to choose Natracare natural tampons and pads
Here are several reasons why I prefer to choose organic and natural brand Natracare over conventional brands and some reasons from their website too:
- Chlorine free – ‘Totally Chlorine Free’ (TCF) products are produced without chlorine bleaching at all. Apparently even if it states ‘chlorine free’ bleaching then the method might use chlorine dioxide instead of chlorine gas which can still create toxic and carcinogenic dioxins as a byproduct.
‘A study by the FDA office of Women’s Health, published in 2005, found detectable levels of dioxins in 7 brands of tampons.’
- Organic – We are living in a toxic world and I am a big advocate for organic food and beauty products and so this also stretches to sanitary wear. Why would we want to put all those toxic pesticides in our own bodies? No thanks. Not only are non-organic foods and beauty items dangerous to our own bodies, but pesticide use is also devastating to wildlife and polluting to our air, water and soil.
- Biodegradable – not only are they biodegradable, but they are compostable too. Even the wrappers the pads come in are made from starch and are compostable.
‘Every year, over 45 billion menstrual pads are disposed of! Most are full of synthetic materials such as plastic that do not break down in the environment for hundreds of years. So, we ensure Natracare products are between 95% and 100% biodegradable and always compostable.’
- Reducing plastic production and waste – we all now know the devastating effects of plastic on the environment and how many plastics will never fully decompose. Natural, organic brands like Natracare use only organic cotton, wood pulp and bioplastics (made from plants) in their products.
‘Single-use plastic pollutes the environment and can irritate the skin. We use over 99% biodegradable and compostable plant cellulose instead of super absorbent polymers.’
- Vegan – they are free from containing any animal products and are not tested on animals with certification from The Vegetarian Society.
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