You know that moment when you flip over a box at the pharmacy, you check out the ingredient list, and you’ve never heard of half the ingredients, or been able to pronounce them. When this box is condoms it’s pretty scary that we’re putting those foreign ingredients into our vaginas. Let’s be real, we’re pretty sensitive down there and with good reason, our vaginas have their own little ecosystem and we need to protect their natural balance. Natural condoms and organic condoms can help you maintain your natural flora, while chemicals used by most condom companies can put that natural balance at risk.
Why are chemicals in condoms bad for us?
Our skin is highly absorbent, so anything that comes into close contact with it is going to end up migrating to the deeper levels of the skin and potentially the rest of the body. Not to mention when your vaginal skin gets up close and personal with condoms, those chemicals can cause immediate reactions like irritation, pain and swelling. These symptoms are often confused with a latex allergy, though in reality less than 1% of the population are actually allergic to latex, which means that if you’re reacting to a condom, you’re probably reacting to the chemicals used to create that condom. So, what are those chemicals?
Conventional condoms contain...
Nitrosamine, which can cause tumour growth
Though research hasn’t indicated it can cause cancer, Nitrosamine can trigger tumour growth. The use of Nitrosamine has even attracted the attention of the World Health Organisation who asked condom brands to consider removing it from their manufacturing process, as it’s an unnecessary ingredient.
Glycerin, which can trigger yeast infections
Glycerin is a very popular lubricant added to condoms, that when left in the vagina can transform into sugar, which feeds yeast. Uuugh yeast infections aka. thrush are the absolute worst – it seems completely ridiculous to put something into our vaginas that’s going to increase our chances of having one of these painful infections. The worst part is, legally condom brands don’t have to put this on the packaging.
Spermicides, which can increase your risk of catching an STI
Nonoxynol is the most common spermicide, which is designed to kill the little swimmers. Unfortunately, Nonoxynol also damages healthy cells along the vaginal wall making you more susceptible to an STI in the future. Oh and an added bonus, you’re also more likely to get a UTI. Yeah, ya heard it here first, spermicides suck.
Benzocaine, a local anaesthetic which can mess with your hormones
Benzocaine is added to condoms to make men last longer as it minimises sensitivity. It is also an endocrine disruptor, which means it messes with the hormone messaging system that regulates some bodily functions like sleep and your sex drive. Unfortunately, the more you’re exposed to it, the greater the impact on your hormones.
Casein, a milk protein which isn’t suitable for vegans or people with dairy allergies.
If you’re vegan or trying to live a cruelty-free lifestyle, then most condoms aren’t aligned with your values. Even if you want to minimise the animal products you’re consuming/using, conventional condoms are a good place to start. Whilst none of these ingredients pose an immediate danger to your health, many of them cause problems over a longer period of time and are something to be wary of.
How are organic and natural condoms different?
Only ingredients you can pronounce
HANX condoms are made from natural rubber, cornstarch powder and silicon oil, & we use a vegetable binder thistle extract. Our rubber has been vulcanised from natural rubber latex using sulphur, zinc oxide, accelerators and soap. Our chemical input is the bare minimum and is the exact level needed to ensure our condoms are safe. As with any rubber products there are traces of nitrosamines in HANX, though these are minimal and we regularly test for the presence of nitrosamines. Aside from these necessary traces, HANX is free of glycerin, spermicides, benzocaine, and casein. HANX is also free from parabens, synthetic colorants and fragrances.
Plant-based ingredients & no animal testing
If you’re living an ethical vegan lifestyle or you’re an animal lover and want to minimise harm done to animals, then natural, vegan condoms belong in your home. HANX is both vegan and cruelty-free which means no animals were harmed in any part of the production process. Be wary of products which are natural but not necessarily vegan. Lambskin condoms for example are natural, though as they’re made from animal intestines, they’re obviously not vegan.
No fancy advertising promises
Condoms which offer special powers like ‘extended pleasure’ are basically telling you they’re full of chemicals. Avoid these and switch to a natural condom with one aim, to protect you.
Resources from organic/fair farming
While there are organic certifications for things like food, these do not apply for condoms so you can’t technically search for organic condoms. However, you can use vegan, fair rubber, sustainable condoms. HANX condoms are fair rubber certified as they’re made from latex which has been fairly sourced and traded. They’re certified condoms from fair rubber which means the way we source, grow and produce our condoms is with respect, compassion and care. The people who contribute to the manufacturing of HANX, on latex plantations work reasonable hours and earn a decent living wage.