Image - Caroline South
There's nothing new about reusable period products, in fact cloth pads have been used for centuries. Mainly consisting of cotton flannel, the introduction to disposables wasn't until the 1920's when Kotex came onto the market with their cellu-cotton pad. From the 1930's Tampax introduced the first commercially successful tampon made from cotton.
It wasn't until the 1970's, when the adhesive strip was introduced to disposable pads, that plastic was established in period products. Between the 70's and 80's plastic tampon applicators increased their popularity. Not only were they more comfortable and easier to use, but they were also more convenient.
Lets be honest, it's hard to rival the convenience of modern day disposable period products. Their ease of use and the fact that they're cheap to manufacture and readily available to buy everywhere make them the obvious and sometimes only option for many.
But does convenience have to come at a cost to the environment and your health?
Plastic Tampon Applicators ranked number 5 in the top 10 plastic polluters of our worlds oceans.
But it's also important to note that with the introduction of plastic comes the introduction of chemicals and the concerns raised about potential health issues associated with their use.
While the vast majority of people who use disposable period products don't experience health problems, in recent years there have been concerns related to plastics and the potential health issues associated with them including hormone disruption, chemical leaching and allergic reactions, to name but a few.
So, what are the alternatives? What products exist, that can be equally as convenient and healthier for you menstruating teen?
Read on to find out
THE CLOTH PAD:
Cloth pads are made of cotton, they come in many sizes and absorbencies so they're perfect for any kind of flow and they're relatively straight forward to use consisting of a simple button closure.
Above all they are affordable and ethically made.
I'm delighted to stock Eco Femme. This amazing little brand not only promotes sustainable and ethical production of their cloth pads, but they also help educate young women and girls in rural India and provide them with their very own cloth pads through their Pad for Pad and Pads for Sisters programmes.
This is one of the main reasons I'm so happy to work with this iconic brand
The average menstruating person disposes of 136kgs worth of menstrual products in their lifetime
There’s also the fact that we don’t know what the ingredients are in disposables.
Not to mention the cost, which can be a huge problem for a lot of people who can’t afford disposables.
Cloth Pads, although they might seem like a costly option, are better for your pocket in the long term. They're easily washable in your machine, can last for up to 5 years if cared for properly and are a great alternative for younger people starting their period.
THE MENSTRUAL CUP:
The perfect alternative to tampons.
Positioning of a menstrual cup
Positioning of a tampon
They're made from Medical Grade Silicone, come in many different shapes and sizes and can be worn for longer than tampons, they also hold more than most disposable period alternatives.
One menstrual cup can eliminate up to 500 disposables a year.
Instead of €132 per year, spend €30 and use a cup for years.
It's easy to clean, Toxin-free and lowers the risk of skin irritation, infections and toxic shock syndrome.
It's a perfect alternative to Tampons. But for those not quite ready for the moon cup we have...
THE PERIOD PANTS
So there's nothing new about the cloth pads and even the earliest version of the menstrual cup was patented back in 1932 BUT Period Pants are definitely a revolutionary invention when it comes to reusable period products.
Absorbent, comfortable, available in many different styles and colours they are, in my humble opinion, one of the best inventions ever.
Designed to be worn for up to 12 hours, they're leakproof, moisture wicking, odour controlling and 100% machine washable.
From high waist, to bikini styles, shorts to boxers, thongs and even leggings and swimwear, we've come a long way in the last 10 years when it comes to period pant technology.
Like Cloth Pads, when taken care of properly they can last for 5 years or longer.
I'm absolutely delighted to reintroduce WUKA to Youme and this time around I've expanded the line to include their new Stretch teen sizes.
These come in two sizes that range from age 8 all the way to age 16
I think they're a great option for the pre teen.
Period Pants can be an extremely reliable option when used in conjunction with cloth pads or even a moon cup.