Understanding Sanitary Pad Dermatitis

What is sanitary pad dermatitis?

Sanitary pad dermatitis is commonly known as pad rash. It is a condition that refers to skin inflammation around our intimate skin area, that can cause redness, swelling and itchiness.

The rash can be the result of irritation from what the pad is made from, and other times it could be the combination of humid and heat which led to bacterial buildup.

Based on statistic from Laurier, this condition is not limited to menstruator with sensitive skin, and 7 out of 10 women are reported to have experienced some form of skin irritation around their intimate areas during menstruation.


What are the causes of pad rash?

From a research paper lodged with the US National Library of Medicine, there is a clear pattern that pad rash is caused by contact dermatitis as far as dermatology aspect is concerned. What this means is your skin has to come in contact with something that irritates your skin in your sanitary pad.

A common structure of a pad is made up of several components:

1. Top sheet

This is what comes in contact with your skin most often and with direct contact. Examples of material used to product most commercialised sanitary product's top sheet is polypropylene ("PP") based perforated top sheet and polyethylene sheet, both of which are petroleum based polymers. These products may seem innocuous but may be laced with petrochemicals and dioxins. When these chemicals come in contact with the skin around our intimate area which is more sensitive and permeable than other skin area, it may get irritated.

On top of that, there were researches on dioxin which is carcinogenic and could increase risk of cancer, reproductive problems, damage to immune system and can interfere with hormones.


2. Absorbent core

The absorbent core is layered between the top sheet and the back sheet, and is commonly made from absorbent material and wood cellulose which are both highly absorbent.


3. Adhesives

Adhesives are on the back of the pad and help the pad stick to underwear. Some are prepared with FDA-approved glues similar to those in craft glue sticks. We opted to use the highest quality German adhesive for sanitary products on both our organic cotton pad and liner.


4. Fragrance

Many manufacturer product scented pads which are totally unnecessary and not required for our private area (it's another topic for another day!). Most of them are placed underneath the top sheet or absorbent core, which although does not come in direct contact, could still be a potential material that act as trigger to pad rash.


5. Humid and heat

Lastly, pad rash can also caused by combination of excessive moisture and heat between our legs, and overtime causes bacterial buildup leading to skin irritation.


Suggested ways to treat pad rash and to prevent future pad rash

While this may not render immediate result to pad rash situation that you encounter, many medical professional suggest:

1. Switch to an all-cotton pad that doesn't contain fragrance

2. Changing pad at a more regular interval

3. Wear loose cotton underwear to reduce friction

4. Try a different brand to determine if it causes fewer irritation.

And here are some reasons for you to try our organic cotton pad and/or liner, made from fully natural and 100% certified organic cotton top sheet sourced from the US. Organic cotton is the most advised raw material for sanitary pad because of its non-irritant, skin friendly and superior liquid retention properties, while is soft and breathable which provides comfort and dryness.

However, if the symptoms from pad rash persist, you should seek help and treatment from a licensed medical doctor.


Do you know?

You can now purchase our organic cotton pad and liner in a bundle to save up to 15%. Subscription option, that is flexible that you can customise according to your needs, can be planned for delivery (free shipping!) every 3 months to ensure that your menstruation needs is well stocked for. Subscription can also be put on hold or change according to your requirements when needed.




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