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For a long time, I’ve been concerned about what happens down…there. During… that time. You know what I’m talking about. Our periods. But what I’m concerned about is what on earth we ladies are putting down there while we have them!
Since the beginning of time we’ve needed to find a way of managing the very natural occurrence of getting our periods, but the last 70 or so years has seen a disturbing trend towards big business making money at the expense of our health. Gradually, all manner of chemicals found their way into feminine hygiene products. According to Andrea Donsky, tampon and sanitary pad manufacturers aren’t required to tell us exactly which chemicals are in these products because they’re ‘medical devices.’ We aren’t eating them so we apparently aren’t entitled to know what ingredients are in them. Righto. Except that skin is highly absorbent, and chemicals that rub against the skin will find their way into our bloodstream.
So exactly which chemicals are found in common feminine hygiene products?
Conventional pads and tampons are laden with toxic chemicals. The biggest problem with this fact is that these chemicals are in direct contact with extremely thin skin tissue, making bloodstream permeation super quick and easy. Many conventional feminine hygiene products are filled with chemicals that increase absorption and lower odour. But which chemicals are found in sanitary products?
- Chlorine Bleach (which can create dioxin which has no safe level of exposure and can lead to hormonal and endocrine disruption, abnormals growths in the abdomen and reproductive organs and immune system suppression)
- Pesticides and potentially GMO’s.
- Polyethylene (PET), polypropylene and propylene glycol (PEG) (which can lead to birth defects, hormone disruption, cancer and infertility)
- Plastic Chemicals (which often contain BPA and BPS which disrupt embryonic development and can be linked to heart disease and cancer).
Is anyone else as scared as I was after reading this information? How many hygiene products had I used and unknowingly exposed myself to these toxins?
Once I’d started to consider the toxic nature of such intimate products, I decided enough was enough. I would not put such chemicals anywhere near me again. So, I began looking for alternatives. Soon I’ll be doing a round-up of all your eco-friendly and non-toxic feminine hygiene options, but today I am bringing you the solution that I’ve chosen and have fallen head over heels for!
THINX Period-Proof Underwear
For a while I’d heard, here and there, about ‘period-proof’ underwear. Frankly, I was always a little suspicious. Surely such a thing was too good to be true. Otherwise, why wouldn’t ever woman use them? And wouldn’t they be a bit… unclean?
I eventually came across THINX period-proof undies and was on the path to becoming converted. I read reviews. I stalked their social media. I read more reviews. All of which seemed to be five-star. After weeks of deliberation and research (I am nothing if not diligent to the point of insanity) I decided to ‘risk it’ and purchase three of their cotton briefs in black. They do various different styles, such as a gorgeous vintage style Hi-Waist pair with sexy side cut-outs, or the classic Hiphugger with waistband details. There isn’t a huge amount of information on their website about their ethics policy, so I shot off an email before purchasing and received an impressively quick response with plenty of information. Their manufacturer is Fair Trade Certified, is a founding member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and sustainability is clearly woven into every decision made by the company. So breathe easy, ladies. Your purchase goes to a good cause.
My underwear arrived from the US to Australia pretty quickly- around a week and a half. But, now Nourished Life have started stocking THINX here in Australia which is fantastic! I’m always super paranoid when I purchase clothing online that it won’t fit properly, so I immediately tried them on and they are definitely true to size! *massive sigh of relief* My initial impression was that they seemed just like…normal underwear. So far, so good. I showed my sister, who seemed intrigued but commented that surely they were too good to be true. Only time would tell.
So… I waited. The thing about finding out whether period-proof underwear works is that you have to have your period to find out. Fast forward two weeks and the results were in.
The question went from ‘will these work?’ to ‘how on EARTH did I survive each month before these?’
Seriously! These are brilliant. And so much easier. And cleaner. And so much more comfortable. I literally slept better while wearing them!
To be fair, the first two days I was as paranoid as my sister’s rabbit when our dog watches it through the window. I really needn’t have worried. Not one issue occurred. My mind is actually blown by how absorbent these underwear are. Obviously everyone has different needs when it comes to their period, and some readers might still require other sanitary products on their heavier days. But for me, I can now go my entire period just using THINX.
I will say that these undies aren’t cheap. But THINX period-proof underwear are reusable for years, and the cost of ‘normal’ sanitary products really adds up! And that’s just the fiscal cost. The cost of one-use plastic based sanitary products on the environment is shocking.
How do THINX Underwear Work?
So, now we know that THINX underwear works. Really well. But how does it work? These underwear have a four-layer technology:
- Moisture-wicking Cotton (organic in some of their underwear) for softness and comfort against your skin.
- An anti-microbial lining to fight bacteria and odour
- Super-absorbant fabric
- Leak-Resistant barrier
These four layers add up to highly-absorbent and extremely comfortable underwear that does the job of keeping you comfortable and clean throughout your period.
THINX do a number of styles of underwear and each has a different absorbency, so is worth reading the website to determine which combo will work best for you. I didn’t need to use any of their tampons or liners in conjunction with the underwear, but it does vary from person to person.
How do you use THINX Underwear?
How you end up using THINX underwear will all come down to how heavy your flow is. As mentioned, I can get away with them for my entire period and not need any other products. I use one pair during the day, and in the evening, wash them out and swap them for a clean pair to use overnight. Some women might need to use a menstrual cup or organic tampons or liners as well on heavier days- it really just depends on your body.
Once you’ve finished using the underwear, cold hand wash and then throw in with your normal wash. As always, I use Soapberries to ensure my laundry is cleaned organically. Line dry (preferably outdoors in the fresh air) and they’re a good as new. It’s that easy. It can be a little annoying doing so much hand washing, but given how much ease and comfort THINX underwear brings to my period, I barely notice it.
Ladies, I seriously encourage you to try this underwear. ‘Life-changing’ might seem like a dramatic label for undies, but these come pretty damn close.
*Fast forward a few months, and my boyfriend just commented to me how great these underwear seem to be for my period. As in, a guy actually noticed how much more comfortable and relaxed I am by wearing a certain pair of underwear. That really sums THINX up!*