What Causes Pad Rash And 14 Home Remedies To Treat It

With the onset of menstruation in a woman's life, she starts taking necessary measures to help her hormones run smoothly. But, periods often become painful, inconvenient and messy, as a lot happens in your body during these few days.

Sanitary pads come to the rescue for managing a woman's monthly menstrual flow. While the pads serve a useful purpose, some women tend to develop a rash in their vaginal area while using them. This can be due to the fragrances, synthetic materials and chemicals present in the pads that can irritate the sensitive area and the inner thigh area.

pad rashes

What Causes Pad Rashes?

One of the most common causes of pad rashes is contact dermatitis which means that the vulva has come in contact with something irritant in your sanitary pad. This contact dermatitis of the vulva is known as vulvitis.

Pads are made up of many layers of different materials such as back sheet, absorbent core, top sheet, adhesive, fragrances, and each of these can irritate your skin.

A study showed that about 0.7 per cent of skin rashes were caused from allergies to an adhesive in sanitary pads [1] . Another study found that the incidence of irritation from maxi pads was only one per two million pads used [2] .

In addition to contact dermatitis, another cause of pad rashes is the chafing and dampness that occur from wearing a pad. This can irritate the skin and lead to a rash.

Changing the pads regularly will work, but you can also try some other methods to get relief from a pad rash.

ALSO READ: World Menstrual Hygiene Day: 9 Basic Menstrual Hygiene Tips

Home Remedies For Pad Rash

1. Apple cider vinegar

The main component of apple cider vinegar is acetic acid which contains anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. All of these have the potent ability to treat a pad rash and can help ease the itchiness and redness of the skin [3] . It can also inhibit the growth of bacteria on the skin.

How to use:

  • Take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and add it to a half cup of water. 
  • Dip a cotton ball in it. 
  • Apply it all over the rashes and let it dry. 
  • Use it thrice a day.

2. Ice

Ice will reduce the pain and inflammation in the inner thigh areas. Furthermore, it will soothe the itching area and numb it, giving you a pleasing sensation.

How to use:

  • Take an ice pack and place it on the area for few minutes.
  • You can also soak a washcloth in ice water and place it on the area for 10 minutes.

Note: Avoid placing ice cubes directly on the skin.

3. Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is high in antioxidants and is well-known for its powerful antiseptic and skin-soothing properties. Pure tea tree oil has volatile components like eucalyptol, limonene and linalool which have the potent ability to soothe itchy pad rashes [4] .

How to use:

  • Take a shower first and clean the area properly. 
  • Soak a cotton ball in pure tea tree oil and apply it on the affected area.

4. Neem leaves

Neem leaves contain beneficial compounds like nimbin, nimbinen, nimbolide, nimandial, and ninbinene and a bunch of other compounds which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial properties. The usage of neem leaves or its oil will provide relief from pad rash and reduce the redness and inflammation [5] .

How to use:

  • Boil water and add 20 cleaned and washed neem leaves into the water. 
  • Seep it for 10 minutes and take the water off the flame.
  • Allow the water to cool and then wash the affected area with the neem water.

OR

  • Take a few drops of neem oil and with the help of a cotton, apply it directly on the skin rash.
  • Leave it for 30 minutes and wash it off.

5. Coconut oil

Pure virgin coconut oil contains antibacterial, antioxidant, analgesic and antimicrobial properties [6] . These help in soothing the skin rash, keeps the skin moisturised and prevents the pad rash from occurring again. In addition, coconut oil will keep the affected skin area hydrated and prevent dryness of the skin.

How to use:

  • Take a little coconut oil in your palms and rub it together.
  • Slowly apply it on the affected skin.
  • Leave it for 30 minutes and wash it off or you may keep it overnight.
home remedies for pad rash infographics

6. Olive oil

Extra virgin olive oil is loaded with powerful antioxidants, and it is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial in nature. All of these help in healing and rejuvenating the affected skin, thereby aiding in soothing the skin and reducing redness and inflammation [7] , [8] .

How to use:

  • Take few drops of extra virgin olive oil and mix it with a few drops of honey.
  • Apply this on your skin rash a few times daily till the redness reduces.

7. Castor oil

Castor oil contains ricinoleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid which is known to have antimicrobial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. It works by inhibiting the growth of bacteria, reduces dry and irritated skin, moisturises the skin and lowers the growth of fungus [9] , [10] .

How to use:

  • Take each 2 teaspoons of castor oil and coconut oil.
  • Apply it on the affected area and leave it on for 30 minutes.
  • Wash it off.

8. Aloe vera

Aloe vera can help soothe your pad rash and prevent the skin from itching due to its antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and emollient properties. All these help in treating skin rashes, itchy dry skin, allergic reactions and contact dermatitis [11] , [12] .

How to use:

  • Scrape aloe vera gel from the aloe vera plant.
  • Apply it directly on the skin rash and leave it for 30 minutes and wash it off.

9. Petroleum jelly

Petroleum jelly has the potent ability to reduce dry, itchy and inflamed skin. As chafing is one of the causes of pad rash, applying petroleum jelly in the inner thighs can help prevent chafing which when not treated can form blisters. Also, applying petroleum jelly whenever you change your pad, will keep the area hydrated by acting as a protective barrier to help protect the skin.

How to use:

  • Take a small amount of petroleum jelly and apply in the affected area.
  • Leave it on and keep applying again whenever needed.

10. Manuka honey

What sets manuka honey apart from traditional honey is its antibacterial properties which come from the active ingredient methylglyoxal. In addition, manuka honey has anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antioxidant properties which reduces redness and swelling and also restores the pH balance of the skin [13] .

How to use:

  • Mix a tablespoon of manuka honey with two teaspoons of olive oil.
  • Apply this mixture on the affected skin and leave it on for 30 minutes before washing it off.

11. Carrot juice

Carrots are excellent sources of vitamin A which is known to promote skin health. Drinking carrot juice will help treat skin problems like skin rashes, moisturise the skin and prevent dryness [14] . Additionally, the intake of vitamin A is associated with skin problems such as rashes, acne, psoriasis, and eczema.

  • Drink a glass of carrot juice daily till the skin rash subsides.

12. Chamomile

Chamomile has antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties which are very effective in soothing skin irritation, inflammation and acne [15] . The application of chamomile in the form of tea or oil will help in the healing process of sanitary pad rash.

How to use:

  • You can either soak a cloth in chamomile tea and place it on the affected skin or you can apply a few drops of chamomile oil.

13. Calendula

Calendula flowers have antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties which are known to reduce inflammation and redness caused by a pad rash [16] . These calendula flowers can treat various skin diseases as well, ranging from eczema to skin ulcers.

How to use:

  • You can either apply calendula oil on the affected area or add some calendula oil to bath water and soak in it for 15 to 20 minutes.

14. Coriander

Coriander leaves have antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, antibacterial, antifungal, and soothing properties which give it the potent ability to heal a skin rash caused by sanitary pads [17] . It is also a great disinfectant and a detoxifier which soothes and cools the skin at the same time.

How to use:

  • Wash and grind 10 coriander leaves into a paste.
  • Smear on the affected area and leave it on for 20 minutes before washing it off with cold water.
View Article References
  1. [1] Williams, J. D., Frowen, K. E., & Nixon, R. L. (2007). Allergic contact dermatitis from methyldibromo glutaronitrile in a sanitary pad and review of Australian clinic data. Contact Dermatitis, 56(3), 164-167.
  2. [2] Woeller, K. E., & Hochwalt, A. E. (2015). Safety assessment of sanitary pads with a polymeric foam absorbent core. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 73(1), 419-424.
  3. [3] Yagnik, D., Serafin, V., & J Shah, A. (2018). Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression.Scientific reports,8(1), 1732.
  4. [4] Kim, H.-J., Chen, F., Wu, C., Wang, X., Chung, H. Y., & Jin, Z. (2004). Evaluation of Antioxidant Activity of Australian Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) Oil and Its Components. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 52(10), 2849-2854.
  5. [5] Schumacher, M., Cerella, C., Reuter, S., Dicato, M., & Diederich, M. (2010). Anti-inflammatory, pro-apoptotic, and anti-proliferative effects of a methanolic neem (Azadirachta indica) leaf extract are mediated via modulation of the nuclear factor-κB pathway.Genes & nutrition,6(2), 149-60.
  6. [6] Intahphuak, S., Khonsung, P., & Panthong, A. (2009). Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic activities of virgin coconut oil. Pharmaceutical Biology, 48(2), 151–157.
  7. [7] Lin, T. K., Zhong, L., & Santiago, J. L. (2017). Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils.International journal of molecular sciences,19(1), 70.
  8. [8] Chaiyana, W., Leelapornpisid, P., Phongpradist, R., & Kiattisin, K. (2016). Enhancement of antioxidant and skin moisturizing effects of olive oil by incorporation into microemulsions. Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology, 6, 184798041666948.
  9. [9] Vieira, C., Fetzer, S., Sauer, S. K., Evangelista, S., Averbeck, B., Kress, M., ... & Manzini, S. (2001). Pro-and anti-inflammatory actions of ricinoleic acid: similarities and differences with capsaicin.Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's archives of pharmacology,364(2), 87-95.
  10. [10] Vieira, C., Evangelista, S., Cirillo, R., Lippi, A., Maggi, C. A., & Manzini, S. (2000). Effect of ricinoleic acid in acute and subchronic experimental models of inflammation.Mediators of Inflammation,9(5), 223-228.
  11. [11] Tabassum, N., & Hamdani, M. (2014). Plants used to treat skin diseases.Pharmacognosy reviews,8(15), 52-60.
  12. [12] Vázquez, B., Avila, G., Segura, D., & Escalante, B. (1996). Antiinflammatory activity of extracts from Aloe vera gel.Journal of ethnopharmacology,55(1), 69-75.
  13. [13] Gethin, G. T., Cowman, S., & Conroy, R. M. (2008). The impact of Manuka honey dressings on the surface pH of chronic wounds.International Wound Journal,5(2), 185-194.
  14. [14] ROLLMAN, O., & Vahlquist, A. (1985). Vitamin A in skin and serum—studies of acne vulgaris, atopic dermatitis, ichthyosis vulgaris and lichen planus.British Journal of Dermatology,113(4), 405-413.
  15. [15] Miraj, S., & Alesaeidi, S. (2016). A systematic review study of therapeutic effects of Matricaria recuitta chamomile (chamomile).Electronic physician,8(9), 3024-3031.
  16. [16] Panahi, Y., Sharif, M. R., Sharif, A., Beiraghdar, F., Zahiri, Z., Amirchoopani, G., … Sahebkar, A. (2012). A Randomized Comparative Trial on the Therapeutic Efficacy of TopicalAloe veraandCalendula officinalison Diaper Dermatitis in Children. The Scientific World Journal, 2012, 1-5.
  17. [17] Hwang, E., Lee, D. G., Park, S. H., Oh, M. S., & Kim, S. Y. (2014). Coriander leaf extract exerts antioxidant activity and protects against UVB-induced photoaging of skin by regulation of procollagen type I and MMP-1 expression.Journal of medicinal food,17(9), 985-95.
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