Outrage over ‘mediocre’ Always pads in Kenya causing rashes, burns
Shocking allegations of Always pads causing burns, rashes and skin irritation have characterised conversations on social media for the past two days.
On Wednesday, women continued to express their concern and disappointment with the Always brand with some revealing that they have had to seek alternative sanitary towels to use during their periods.
“Always pads back home are totally bad. The burning sensation, the rashes how it dries out skin totally bad. Also no variety i think they had only blue and pink.The scent just disgusting.However I haven’t experienced that as below is always pads from Canada,” Daphne Simaton said on Twitter.
Samatha Spooner, a writer and researcher at The Conversation Africa, also said the Always pads had resulted in vulvar itching and burning when she last used them.
“I want to highlight that in Canada in 1991 & 1994 Always sanitary napkins were a “potentially important cause of recurrent vulvitis”. Take this seriously,” she said on Twitter.
Another woman identified as Valerie expressed her dismay saying she thought rashes, itching or burning were normal reactions for those using Always pads.
“The worst part about
#MyAlwaysExperience is how most of us suffered in silence thinking it was our bodies that were acting up because of periods. We made excuses for a brand that did so well with having catchy songs on TV,” she said.
This one from Egypt is the bottom of the barrel trash pad. It's mostly used by girls who have limited access to resources as it's only 50 bob. We really appreciate you guys trying to serve that market, but please, improve on this product.#MyAlwaysExperience pic.twitter.com/Att6Ghe4cE
— Flojo (@Kamaitha) March 12, 2019
These are some of the comments that prompted Procter & Gamble that produces the Always pads to respond saying:
“The Always Ultra pads we have in Kenya are similar to the Always pads in other parts of the world including Germany, UK, US, South Africa. All our pads including the ones in Kenya are designed and developed in Europe and the US.”
The company’s response seemed to fuel the allegations of substandard pads as Kenyans from the diaspora chimed in saying the products sold abroad are different quality from those sold back at home.
Several men and women living abroad went as far as buying Always pads and posted pictures on Twitter for comparison with the Kenyan products.
Dr. Njenga Karugia, a lecturer at Goethe University currently in Germany, said: “Help! I am just about to purchase Always for your analysis @tugengirl But am confused which one you need me to purchase or just any? Will still be at REWE Supermarket for another 10 Minutes. Will send you pictures & some of my analysis later. #MyAlwaysExperience”
So, @Tugengirl, I bought Always in Germany after seeing your request for a global comparison. I bought Big Pack 26 pads Made in Germany by Procter & Gamble in a town called Schwalbach. Soft, perfumed absorbs 5 tablespoons wait 2Mins, no leakage. Here, a video #MyAlwaysExperience pic.twitter.com/X55LJ7qhDy
— Dr. John Njenga Karugia, PhD (@johnnjenga) March 12, 2019
— Lorraine Okinda (@Lorrlena) March 12, 2019
This is a pic of an always ultra pad(pink wrapping) and a pad purchased in the US. Even the packaging for always is just so bad. It really feels like you have plastic on down there. We demand better.#MyAlwaysExperience pic.twitter.com/ResxJaGdyi
— Victoria Gakii (@VGakii) March 12, 2019
On her part, Dr. Njoki Ngumi compared a packet of Always pads from Kenya with another that she said was from Germany.
In her analysis, the Kenyan one had a plastic overlay that was ‘obvious to the eye’ while the German one did not.
Ian Matindi also posted a message on Twitter questioning the quality of the Always pads after reading the comments from several women.
#MyAlwaysExperience movement makes me sad, listening to the stories of how women are forced to work with substandard products. Do the women working at Always Kenya use these subpar sanitary towels, do their influencers use them? Standardize the quality!!” he said.
Always Kenya however maintains that all their products go through ‘very rigorous regulatory tests and are also tested with real women to ensure that they are safe for use.’
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