For the past 12+ months I have shared ways to make safer choices with your personal care and home products. Making changes of such a personal nature can feel daunting, but none of them stack up to what I am going to talk about today. 

Today we are going to talk about feminine hygiene.

Now before anyone signs off, let me encourage you to read through this. There is a good chance you know a woman who has a period who could benefit from this information. No conversation need be had; a simple sharing of this link would give them a jumping-off point to start researching for themselves. Consumers use feminine hygiene products on some of the most sensitive skin and organs in the entire body, and as such need to be aware of what is in them. 

When it comes to feminine hygiene products, the first thing you need to know is that they are considered medical devices and regulated as such. What this means for the consumer is that you will rarely find a list of ingredients (although there are ingredients) on a box of tampons or pads. Labeling requirements typically show up in the form of toxic shock syndrome warnings and absorbancy information. This begs the question, “What is in my feminine hygiene products?” 

Unfortunately, the answers to that question are pretty grim. Phthalates, dioxins, furans, parabens, pesticide residues, plastics, fragrance ingredients and more have been found in traditional feminine hygiene products. In plain English: hormone-disrupting, cancer-causing and irritation-inducing chemicals are the norm in products women use monthly. Quite frankly, we deserve better.

The good news is that we can choose better. A few ways to make cleaner choices (most of which can be found on the aisles of every local store) include: 

1. When choosing tampons: look for 100% organic cotton, fragrance-free, unbleached tampons. Further eliminate the leaching of plastic chemicals by choosing a cardboard applicator or go applicator-free. 

2. When choosing pads or liners: look for organic cotton or other natural fibers that are fragrance-free and unbleached. 

3. When choosing menstrual cups: look for cups that are 100% medical-grade silicone and that are not dyed.

4. When choosing reusable pads, liners or period panties: look for 100% organic cotton, free of plastics or plasticizers, and avoid anything labeled as “antimicrobial” or “antibacterial.”

Every small step makes a big difference, especially when we talk about items that are used as frequently as feminine care products. You are worth it!


Heather Disarro is the author and creator of Heather’s Dish, a clean beauty educator, a health coach and social media boss. She loves spending time with her family doing almost anything outdoors, eating great food, reading and enjoying everything Arkansas has to offer.