In Pakistan, we have limited sanitary ware available for women, of which only some are good quality products which leaves us with very few options.
Butterfly sanitary napkins are one of the best available sanitary napkins readily available. Under the non-essential luxury items ban, the government of Pakistan has banned core raw materials required to produce the brand. As a result, the factory that produces the Butterfly sanitary napkins will likely have to shut down once it runs out of its current supply of materials.
This is one of the biggest inconveniences but if anyone is worried, Butterfly Breathables are locally made pads that are really good with a soft cotton top and no “perfume”, unlike Always that have a plasticky mesh top that causes rashes. Butterfly liners are good too. https://t.co/wwlZpPYxmX
— Nuzhat. (@guldaar) May 20, 2022
The ban has been imposed under the’ emergency economic plan,’ by the Government of Pakistan which has been put into place following the growing current account deficit, the dollar witnessing a meteoric rise against the rupee over the past few weeks on account of the country’s rising import bill, and depleting foreign exchange reserves.
Under the plan, at least 38 items have been banned, including sanitary ware, tissue paper, saloon items like hairdryers, etc.
Together we will overcome all the challenges with resolve and determination, InshaAllah! 🇵🇰 https://t.co/gIM7lqcjls
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) May 19, 2022
Adding ‘Sanitary Ware’ to the non-essential luxury items ban list seems unfair.
Women require sanitary pads each month during their period, which means the item in question is essential and not a luxury. Depriving them of using the item that works for them will prove to be difficult and hence, affect their daily activities.
Limited Options Available in Pakistan’s Sanitary Napkin Market
Speaking of Pakistan’s sanitary napkin market, at least 84 percent of the share is held by two major brands: P&G’s Always and Santex’s Butterly.
Always Left Most Women with Painful Rash
Always has been the first choice of women in my circles until the rash situation that occurred sometime two years ago. At first, I thought some women were experiencing the rash due to other external factors. Gradually many women began complaining and started exploring other brands in the market.
In women-only groups on Facebook, the discussion around Always pads available locally was also initiated. Thousands of women agreed the brand gave them a bad rash. For some, it was other health conditions. The chemicals present in these pads sometimes irritate your skin on the vaginal and inner thigh areas. However, it is less likely that so many women will have an issue. Women on social media concluded that there was a problem with the quality of the product.
Butterfly Pads to the Rescue
very important thread! please please please do not buy or use #ALWAYS pads! so many women I know have had rashes and irritation from using them. I didn't realise how uncomfortable they were until I switched to Butterfly with the cottony top sheet, the only good pads out there https://t.co/lkwa5UoCD8
— bis (@itsokaybis) August 10, 2021
Some women have from the beginning preferred Butterfly over Always for being softer (didn’t give them a rash) due to the cotton sheet, are leak-proof, and odorless. They recommend others also to give the Butterfly pads a try. Especially those who were having trouble with ‘Always.’
Butterly pads do not have the plasticky feel to touch and do not contain perfume either that usually ends up irritating the skin. On Twitter, Pakistani women have tweeted about their experiences with Always pads.
A user wrote, “… it was actually a eureka moment for me when I realized pads didn’t have to feel like scratchy diapers”.
yeah i don’t have a heavy flow but i haven’t leaked w butterfly either, it was actually a eureka moment for me when i realized pads didn’t have to feel like scratchy diapers
— shy fawkes ♡ (@aloovibes) March 15, 2020
A user highlighted that the Butterfly pads reduce wastage, too, as you require less number of pads even on days when your flow is heavy, compared to the Always pads.
Ladies, use butterfly pads instead of always because it reduces wastage. Always is so trash and flimsy that you'll end up using 6-7+ on heavy flow days as compared to 2 butterfly ones.
— Meph⚓ (@UnitedsFreak) January 19, 2020
Another user on Twitter highlighted how severe her condition got by using pads with scented toxic dioxins that cause health-related problems and cancer. The person developed skin problems and also Bartholin Cysts.
In October 2019, Kenyan women also took to Twitter to express outrage over the Always brand of sanitary pads. They said sanitary pads produced by the brand cause rashes, burns, and discomfort under the hashtag #MyAlwaysExperience. The Twitter user quoted the tweet by BBC News Africa, which conducted a detailed investigation and reported the case.
I used Always for years. I not only developed skin problems but also Bartholin Cysts. It got so bad that my doctor had to ask me to use anything but this brand.
After research I found how to make pads scented they were using toxic dioxins that causes cancer and other problems. https://t.co/c2JyP2PeGv
— Javaria (@JavariaWaseem) October 20, 2019
While she was getting treatment, she used cotton pads that were handmade for 2-3 months. She later switched to Butterfly. “No rash, no cysts, no infections,’ she wrote.
I had to shift to handmade cotton pads for 2-3 months. The damage was that bad. Later I switched to butterfly. Honestly I'm so better now. No rash, no cysts, no infections.
— Javaria (@JavariaWaseem) October 20, 2019
Butterfly truly changed my life. Always was always an added discomfort. 😡 https://t.co/oSgmfEVUUn
— Mahnoor Tanveer (@MahnoorTanveerA) August 11, 2021
“Always Pakistan makes shit and substandard products,” wrote someone else in a tweet.
READ THIS IF YOU’RE GIRL. I’ve been through this and I really really don’t want anyone to go through this experience. Always Pakistan makes shit and substandard products and pleaseeeeee switch to some other brand for your own safety! Try using Butterfly as its much better https://t.co/uGNdQI2NLt
— aksuuu (@aksaJ19) August 13, 2021
Several women up to date believe that the rashes and inflammation are normal, which is problematic in itself.
WTF????? I THOUGHT GETTING RASHES AND INFLAMMATION WAS JUST “NORMAL” AND PART AND PARCEL OF THE MENSTRUATION EXPERIENCE!!!!! why must everything make us SUFFER https://t.co/jgp3UnPfSj
— Fizza Qureshi (@purpleside24) August 11, 2021
— Alina Halai (@alihoenahoe) August 11, 2021
Keeping in mind that so many Pakistani women rely on Butterfly pads to comfortably carry out day to day activities monthly, such as attending classes at school, college, or university, going to work, going outdoors, for sports-related activities without worrying about leaking or getting a rash – it is absurd to ban core raw materials that are required to locally produce the sanitary napkins preferred by thousands of women in Pakistan.
Other options in the market include Molped, Trust, and Sincere, which can be used as a substitute. The price of the mentioned brands varies on the kind of napkins and the size of the packet. In most places, the difference varies between 15- 30 rupees while value-added packs cost more.
The substitutes can be used once the factory runs out of raw material. However, the trust women have placed in the Butterfly pads can not be replaced.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. It is based on social media comments and opinions from personal contacts.
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