I was in Rite Aid the other day making my way over to the Epsom salts, when I found myself wandering down the feminine care aisle. I often end up in this section because of my curiosity about what’s new in the world of Always and Kotex. Apparently, I just can’t help myself. 🙂
What struck me this time around was the sheer number of feminine care wipes on the shelf – I counted nine of them! I remember the days when Summer’s Eve (so 90’s!) was the only brand on the market, but now Playtex, Always, Vagisil and even the drugstore brands have gotten in on the “my vagina should smell like flowers” game.
Obviously I’m not only talking about wipes here – douches (awful by the way), feminine washes, feminine deodorants like sprays and powders, and anti-itch creams are all contenders for the worst thing you could ever do to your vagina.
Ladies, you should NOT be using these feminine care products. Here’s why:
Feminine wipes are full of horrible ingredients.
These include synthetic chemicals and heavy fragrances (sometimes made up of 100’s of ingredients), preservatives like parabens and dioxin, which are all linked to hormonal disruption, cancer and infertility. In addition, wipes and sprays are regulated as personal care products, which means companies don’t have to disclose all the harmful ingredients, putting the health of MILLIONS of women at serious risk.
This is not okay. A report called “Chem Fatale“, done by Women’s Voices for the Earth describes these potential hazards associated with feminine wipes: “Hazardous ingredients may include Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, parabens, quaternium-15, DMDM Hydantoin and unknown fragrance chemicals. Exposure concerns include cancer and endocrine disruption. Studies link wipe use to allergic rash.”
Here are some of the ingredients you should look out for in feminine wipes and in a number of other products like pads, tampons, washes, douches and deodorants.
This is what’s in the regular Summer’s Eve wipes and to the right is the “sensitive skin” Summer’s Eve wipes. Not seeing a huge difference in ingredients I can’t pronounce – as in, the ingredients are totally identical. Unreal.
Your vaginal tissue is the most sensitive tissue on your entire body.
And using these products sets you up for irritation, dryness and infections. This is because harsh chemicals disrupt the vagina’s natural lubrication and remove healthy bacteria, setting the stage for infections and chronic irritation. I hear from women all the time who got UTI’s, yeast and bacterial infections after just one use!
Here are some other side effects from women I’ve spoken to (in their own words): Terrible rash that lasts for days, burning and itching, vaginal swelling, painful urination, stinging pain like someone had poured acid on my vagina…you get the point. There is no need for you to risk these crazy side effects.
Your vaginal tissue is exceptionally absorbent.
And in fact, there is a lot of interest in vaginal drug delivery systems because the vagina is sooo permeable. This is why you need to seriously consider what you put on this area. It’s similar to slathering chemical-laden lotion all over your body, but 100 times worse!
Here’s why: According to Chem Fatale, “one study found that a vaginally applied dose of estradiol (an estrogen proxy) resulted in systemic estradiol levels in the body 10 to 80 times greater compared to the same dose given orally. Similarly, vaginal exposure to hormone-mimicking chemicals that may be present in feminine care products may lead to higher than expected exposures in the rest of the body.”
Putting these ingredients on your vagina over the long-term can lead to some serious health consequences for you, and your children.
These are a few of the worst toxins in vaginal wipes…
- Phthalates – these are industrial chemicals that alter how the endocrine system functions. They have no business being anywhere near your vagina, but unfortunately you can find them in wipes and douches, or anything that has the word “fragrance” on it. These chemicals disrupt reproductive (estrogen, progesterone etc) and thyroid hormones. Phthalates should be a major concern for women of reproductive age because they appear to greatly impact the womb. In animal studies, phthalates have been linked to birth defects, and they also may contribute to abnormal development among children who are exposed in utero.
- Parabens – Parabens are a huge concern because they have been shown to have estrogenic properties. Parabens have been detected in breast cancer tissue, and their presence may be connected to this disease. And get this, a 2013 study found that higher levels of parabens in a woman’s urine is associated with ovarian aging, which leads to reduced fertility! This study wasn’t totally conclusive, but why continue to be a guinea pig right?
- Methylchloroisofthiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone (MCI/MI) – these were named “Allergens of the Year” in 2013 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society. They both cause excessive itching that almost completely resolves once use of the offending wipe stops.
If you’ve been using vaginal wipes or any of the products I mentioned above (douchers I’m lookin’ at you), then hopefully I’ve scared you straight! 🙂
These are the products I recommend…
I got your back girl, I know you aren’t always feeling fabulous “down there” so here are a few of my fave wipes…
1. Rosebud Women – A luxury vaginal skincare company with impeccable plant-derived ingredients. Their products are formulated for daily and specialty use, to meet your specific concerns and desires.
1. Healthy HooHoo Feminine Wipes (can’t get enough of this name!) – created by my awesome friend Stacy, Healthy HooHoo is a line of all natural products that are completely free of any crap. Stacy has dedicated herself to creating the BEST feminine care products out there! Healthy HooHoo has wipes, a foaming cleanser and a gel cleanser.
2. Natracare Intimate Wipes – I love that they share all of their ingredients and the actual source of those ingredients. They are 100% organic, biodegradable and don’t have any of the harsh ingredients I mentioned earlier in this post.
0 thoughts on “Should you use those drugstore feminine wipes?”
Used huggies baby wipes for a week and now i have a bad yeast infection 🙁 it felt so refreshing a the time. Boy was i fooled
Thanks for the blog post. I really thought I was loosing my mind for a while. I am currently trying to rid myself of some kind of allergic reaction to wipes. I used Summer’s Eve and also a generic brand. NEVER, NEVER, EVER AGIN!!!
I have been to the ER, my PCP, and my GYN. I am currently on my second round of Diflucan (1per day for 10 days), Nystatin and Clorrimazole and it still hanging around. On top of that, now my stress hives have kicked in! Do you have any recommendations of other products I can try?
I myself recently bought the Summers Eve sheer floral cleansing cloths for on the go and on the day I first used it, I got a burning, itching sensation! As if my vagina was on fire! So I guess my vagina doesn’t like it? However, when I shower I use Vagasil odor block control wash and I get no allergic reaction or itchness whatsoever. Why is this? Also glad I’m not the only one who got a rash from using those products.
Thanks for your comment. It sounds like you are very allergic to whatever is in the Summer’s Eve and perhaps don’t have a sensitivity to the Vagasil wash. However, I would strongly recommend avoiding the vagasil product as well, because it is full of harmful chemicals based on my own research. Consider switching to a more natural product like the ones created by Healthy Hoo Hoo – http://amzn.to/2h10mrR
Hope this is helpful for you!
oh just another thought I had: how did this woman do like in the old days in the past? I mean they didnt had all those things and were still healthy,right? anything you know about this Nicole?
hi Nicole 🙂
Wonderful Blogpost :). I m using a bio organic vagina cleaner but I m not sure if this is realy having any impact or even if it harms. As I anyway have a lot of infections and couldnt figure out yet what the source is. I bought a “special” deo this day….but also not sure if its really good…is a natural cosmetic one but as I do not understand the ingrediants well I m kind of lost…as I tend to sweat more then others so I thought I use a anti transpirant, but the lady in the store was honest and told me the aluminium is not very healthy in it, right? . Someone told me it s the hormons too that make you “oversweating” or do you know more about this?
I would be happy if you could explain more about ingrediants , cause I still confused how to interpret the various one ? You used to have recommends on your old site about products? Is this somewhere here again? Or is there a site in Europe where I can find product or ingrediants recommends which are good for me?
Thanks a lot Nicole; I am very grateful even if it sometimes doesnt sound like it :), as I tend to question and question. I think something is moving :)…
Natalie from Switzerland 🙂
Great post! Also really important to realize that we don’t need wipes. Cervical fluid is normal !! It changes consistency throughout the month and does not mean you are dirty or have an infection! If you observe your fluid and how it changes you will know when you have an infection.
thanks sarah for the explanation about the fluid…I tend to have infections all the time but I recommend it when its itchy…is there something I can do to generally stop this in that moment?
Great blog Nicole, thank you! What products do you recommend for vaginal or anal itching? Are there all natural products that can be used?
Great post Nicole! Not enough thought is given to products we use on our body, even people who are organic eating advocates seem to forget that what we put ON our body is just as important as what awe put IN. I personally love the Natracare wipes and always have these in my bathroom. Xx
Thanks Xandi! It is amazing how many women I encounter who eat organic but are either still on the pill or using conventional pads, tampons or other feminine care products. It’s just a matter of continuing to educate women about the potential dangers of the ingredients in these products. xoxo!
Even though I ultimately started healthy hoohoo to be a successful business (aka make a profit) I also want to be an advocate for vulvovaginal health and cannot stress that less is more. Better said, the vagina is a “self-cleaning oven” so no products go in her. Use wipes sparingly (post workout, travel, period) and wash the vulva with water …but when you want something more please consider healthy hoohoo 😉
You are awesome Stacy! <3 <3
Thanks for the article and resources. How do Seventh Generation baby wipes stack up?
Jill that’s a great question. I’d recommend you check out the Skin Deep Database at http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/
It’s a massive database on all kinds of personal care and cosmetic products. You should be able to find info on Seventh Generation wipes there. If not, I’d check the label for ingredients and search for the ingredients on the SDD to see how harmful they are.
I also used to use these for fear of being “dirty” down there, but there was always something in the back of my mind that told me it wasn’t right. Thank you so much for posting this. I hate that these companies can get away with these ingredients and still make consumers think that they are in their best interest!
I hear you Natalie! Media continues to perpetuate this crazy idea that our vaginas are supposed to smell a certain way! It’s ridiculous. So glad you are not using them anymore 🙂 xox
I think it is outrageous that the ingredients in these products aren’t regulated. Reading labels is the only way to protect ourselves and make informed decisions about the products we use and the food we eat. Thanks very much for this post!
Agreed Kate. As consumers, we must take total responsibility for our health and wellness by being very discerning about what we buy. Of course, that is what prompts change. xoxo
Thanks for writing about this Nicole! Just like some of the women you described, I used these awful things just once and got the worst yeast infection of my life! I will never put any synthetic products near my vagina again!
Marissa, I can only imagine how awful that was for you! Thankfully you now know and can educate other women xoxo