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Pad rash: what causes it and how to avoid it

Written by: Mooncup Team

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Time to read 1 min

It’s safe to say that you have an intimate relationship with your period products. If you’re suffering with a rash from a pad, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know about pad rash, what causes it and how to avoid it…

What is pad rash?

Putting it simply, pad rash (also known as contact dermatitis) is a skin irritation or rash that can occur as a result of prolonged contact with a pad. The rash is usually red, itchy, and bumpy and can appear on the skin surrounding the vaginal area.

What causes a rash from a pad?

Pad rash is usually caused by excessive friction or sweat whilst wearing a pad. Most pads on the market are made from unnatural materials that aren’t breathable and include nasty chemicals like bleach & plastic. You know it can get pretty hot and sticky during your period, mix that with a pad that just sits there getting hotter and stickier as the day goes on, it’s the perfect combination for an irritating rash to form. 


Some of the ways you can get pad rash include:

  • Allergic reaction - some people may have an allergic reaction to the adhesive or materials used in some types of pads, so it’s important to always know what’s in your pads.
  • Moisture - prolonged exposure to moisture from menstrual blood or sweat can cause irritation and lead to pad rash.
  • Yeast or bacterial infections - if you have a yeast or bacterial infection, pads can trap the moisture and create a warm environment that allows the infection to thrive, leading to a rash.
  • Chafing - prolonged wearing of pads can cause chafing and irritation of the skin.

How can I treat pad rash?

  • Keep the affected area clean and dry, you can also apply a soothing cream or ointment that you can purchase over the counter. 
  • Avoid materials that cause irritation, switching to pads made of breathable materials
  • Ensure you’re changing pads frequently to help prevent sanitary pad rash. 
  • If you’re suffering every time you wear a pad or the rash is incredibly painful, make sure you see a medical professional who should be able to prescribe specific medication.

How to avoid pad rash

Make the swap to organic cotton pads, they’re breathable, hypoallergenic  and contain zero bleach, plastic or synthetics. 

  • Avoid using scented or deodorant pads. 
  • Make sure you change pads frequently.
  • Think about swapping to reusable period pants, they’re designed to work just like your regular undies and can be worn for up to 10 hours!

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