The clean beauty movement is no longer just a trend; it’s a full-on legitimate division of beauty and wellness products with numerous organic and non-organic brands competing for your business.
What started out as simply questioning the safety and necessity of certain product ingredients has blossomed into outright consumer demand for more natural, organic, safer product ingredients. Consumers are no longer satisfied with being told an ingredient in their products is safe and effective, they want proof of that safety and proof it needs to be there.
At Rael, we couldn’t be happier.
Our company was founded on the belief that women should have access to safe, effective, holistic period care. We incorporate that foundational belief into every product we create, from our line of clean skin care to our organic, all-natural period care items.
Not sure what’s considered “clean” in terms of personal care items? We can help. We’ll talk about personal care items, what makes the majority of them not-so-great, and how you can find cleaner alternatives.
Personal Care -- What Is It?
Personal care items are items you use to stay hygienic and comfortable during your period. Everything from tampons, pads, pantyliners, to feminine washes and wipes, are considered personal care items.
Personal care items are necessities, which makes it especially important that the items we use are safe. Unfortunately, the personal care items we’ve been using for decades can contain harsh chemicals, environmentally unfriendly ingredients, and even toxins that could harm our bodies.
Because we use personal care items every month, maintaining transparency in ingredients is important. That’s where the clean beauty movement overlaps into personal care.
Clean beauty demands:
- Safe, non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, non-sensitizing ingredients.
- Extreme effectiveness.
- Intentional ingredients.
- Nature-based ingredients with minimal processing.
- Environmental safety.
If you’re wondering what could possibly be toxic in your box of tampons or pads, read on.
What’s Wrong With My Usual Personal Care Items?
Maybe nothing, but it’s way more likely the brand of personal care items you use (especially if they’re a popular commercial brand) contain ingredients you don’t want or need near your most intimate areas.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the toxic ingredients you can find in your period care products.
- Dioxins and furans. These chemicals are the result of the bleaching process most period care items undergo to give them their bright, white appearance (which as a side note is completely unnecessary for a period care item).
The chlorine used to bleach the polymers that make up tampons and pads leaves dioxins and furans in the products. These chemicals are byproducts of the bleaching process, so they haven’t been intentionally added.
Dioxins and furans have been linked to reproductive and developmental issues, and have been suspected as carcinogens and hormone disruptors.
- Pesticides. To avoid chlorine bleach, you might opt for unbleached cotton tampons or pads, but unless your products are made from organically grown cotton, you could expose yourself to unwanted pesticides from the growth of the cotton.
Pesticides in your personal care products have been linked to acute toxicity, cancer, and hormone interruption.
- Fragrance ingredients. In the U.S. fragrance is proprietary, which means a company is not required to disclose the exact ingredients it uses to make up its products’ scents.
This means you never really know what you’re getting when you buy a product that is scented. There could be chemicals included in the fragrance that at the very least are irritating to your skin, and at the very worst are known toxins or carcinogens.
The most concerning aspect of these ingredients is that you won’t know they’re in your products. For instance, a sanitary pad that has been bleached with chlorine won’t state that it contains dioxins or furans on the packaging, since those chemicals are byproducts of the bleaching process.
If you want to be completely safe, the best way to protect yourself is to opt for clean, natural, organic personal care items.
Better Personal Care Solutions
Thankfully, the success of the clean beauty movement combined with consumer demand for ingredient transparency has prompted many companies to change the way they source their ingredients and manufacture their products.
However, toxic ingredients are still in most personal period care items that don’t explicitly state they don’t contain them.
Here’s how you can make better choices for your period care items.
Tampons can contain the chemical ingredients above, they can have applicators that contain BPAs. BPAs have been proven to cross the skin barrier and have been shown to cause developmental problems in children, and reproductive problems. In fact, baby bottles and cups are no longer allowed to contain any BPAs.
Tampons, however, are a different story. They can contain BPAs, and you won’t know if your tampons contain them unless you do some research or buy a brand that specifically says they don’t contain them.
Rael’s organic cotton tampons are a great option for natural, organic period care that won’t expose your body to toxins or carcinogens. Our tampons are made from 100% organic cotton that is never bleached.
We’ve got applicator options, too. From BPA-free applicators, to biodegradable cardboard, we’ve got you covered. Our tampons are all free of dyes, bleach, chemicals, or fragrance.
Pads are also a favorite hiding spot for chemicals and toxins. Some of the most popular sanitary pad brands were tested by womensvoices.org, a watchdog group that helps expose toxins in feminine care products. They found carcinogens like styrene, chloroethane, and chloroform, along with toxins like chloromethane, and irritants like acetone.
There are zero reasons these ingredients should be in a product that rests against the most sensitive area of your body. The possibility of these ingredients being absorbed by your skin is extremely high, and exposure over time can be harmful to your health.
Rael’s organic cotton pads are a better option for sanitary pads. Our pads are made from 100% organic cotton and don’t contain any dyes, fragrances, chemicals, bleaches, or other irritants. Organic cotton pads are great for sensitive skin types and super absorbent so you never have to worry about leaking.
Rael’s disposable pads are available in different sizes depending on your flow, and you’ll get the same, chemical and toxin-free product for each one.
An even more earth-friendly option is Rael’s reusable pads. Reusable pads can be worn up to 120 times before they need to be replaced. They’re convenient, easy, and completely sanitary. You can save a little green while going green by investing in reusable pads that will save you numerous boxes of disposable personal care products throughout your menstruating life.
Better Washes and Wipes
Feminine washes and wipes that are commercially available can contain some pretty harsh ingredients. If you’ve ever used a wash and felt itchy or irritated afterward, chances are the wash contained an ingredient that is a known skin sensitizer, like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).
Sulfates in body washes and feminine care products can irritate your skin, strip it of its natural moisture levels, and leave you feeling uncomfortable.
Washes and wipes are also prime real estate for dyes and fragrances. Most of us use feminine washes and wipes to get relief and feel refreshed, but if you’re using a wash or wipe that contains harsh ingredients that could disrupt your pH balance, you could actually end up feeling worse.
Look for feminine washes and wipes that are all-natural, and contain clean, pure ingredients. Plant-based, botanical ingredients are the best option for both washes and wipes. Your wipes and washes should also contain some type of hydrating and/or soothing ingredient like aloe extract or Camellia sinensis.
If you’ve got particularly sensitive skin, Rael even offers an organic cotton disposable feminine wipe that is saturated in only purified water. It’s the most effective, yet gentle wipe you can use and can help you wipe away sweat, your period, or just help you feel refreshed during the day.
The Bottom Line
Clean beauty and personal care intersect in a way that helps you find personal care products that are safe and non-toxic. You won’t always know what’s inside your personal care items unless you do some research or buy from a company you trust.
You deserve to have a happy, healthy, non-toxic period, and to do so, you need reliable and effective products that don’t contain chemicals that could threaten your health or leave you dry, itchy, and irritated.
Rael’s natural period care items are the perfect solution for keeping you safe, clean, and protected all period long.