There are several things we wish we knew before starting our periods, and one of them is that our vulva never needs to smell like perfume or flowers. We’d also like to have known that there’s absolutely no regulation around the ingredients of period products and there’s also zero requirement for period product brands to list their ingredients. This means you might have no idea what you’re putting in or near your vagina every month – including completely unnecessary artificial fragrances.
We’re trying to change that. Working with our partners at Wen we’ve launched a petition for all period product ingredients to be listed in full. We’re aiming for legislation change. We want brands to meet this basic standard: to acknowledge that you deserve to know what you’re putting inside your body and on your skin. Join us and fight for that right together!
What’s the issue?
When we use any product that doesn’t have a complete ingredients list we’re exposing our bodies to potentially unwanted chemicals and irritants. Even when ingredients are listed, they may be disguised under the umbrella term “parfum”.
When period product ingredients aren’t listed you have no idea what you’re putting inside your vagina or next to your vulva. This puts you at risk of:
- Being in sustained contact with ingredients that you’re allergic or intolerant to, or that cause irritation
- Having perfumes inside you or on your skin that you do not need
- Unknowingly creating plastic waste every single month
- Exposing your intimate skin to pesticide-treated cotton and other questionable chemicals
- Continuing the shame surrounding periods – especially when period products contain perfumes
Why is this important?
Everyone with a period deserves to be able to make an informed choice about the products they use and the ingredients in them, and you agree. When asked in our new survey, 85% of people said it was important to them to have full transparency of period product ingredients. But currently this isn’t the reality. Toothpaste, ready meals, and your favourite chocolate bar all require ingredients lists, so why doesn’t your go-to period product?
We’d like to think essential products like pads and tampons are by default made without any potential for irritation and with the best interest for our intimate health. Yet, 23% of people asked have experienced irritation when using period products with artificial fragrances. This suggests that products with fragrances are more likely to cause intimate irritation than products without, whilst reaffirming the shame around supposedly smelly periods. It pushes the idea that we need to cover any detection of our period through perfumed period products. Why should we have to endure this whilst managing something so natural and normal? It’s time that we know what’s in the period products we use, so that we can boycott those using questionable ingredients.
Recently, New York has passed a bill that means period product manufacturers must fully disclose intentionally added ingredients. This is a bill Natracare and our founder, Susie Hewson, are in full support and meet the standards of. It’s our hope that more states and countries will follow in New York’s steps.
What can you do?
If you want period product ingredients to be listed in full, here’s how you can get involved:
- Sign our petition
- Get in contact with period product brands who don’t list their ingredients or do contain perfumes to tell them the change you’d like to see and why
It’s also worth checking out the Chem Fatale report which analysed some of the ingredients found in pads with alarming results. This report also helps to exemplify the intersections of this issue, and how some people, including Black women, are more exposed than others to scented intimate care products.
Have you experienced irritation or been infuriated by period products without ingredients lists? Let us know in the comments below.