If you have very sensitive skin like I do, sometimes it seems like almost any household item can cause a reaction: from itchy bumps on my skin to a full-blown rash.
The main problem with the average toilet paper you find on the store shelves is the process used to make it. Manufacturers including chlorine and formaldehyde can use several different chemicals. To make toilet paper look nicer and sometimes give it a more pleasant smell, dyes and fragrances are also sometimes added. Bleach is often used to give the paper the pure white color that we’ve come to expect from a fresh roll of toilet tissue.
There are toilet papers on the market made to be non-irritating using unbleached paper with no dyes or perfumes. There are also a few alternatives that use bamboo, which can be a good solution for people that have a reaction to the wood itself traditionally used to make toilet paper. One of the best options is this Seventh Generation Unbleached Toilet Paper. For people who are allergic to tree products we recommend this bamboo toilet paper from Caboo.
While there is a lot of talk about soap for sensitive skin and other bath and body products designed specifically for people with skin sensitivity, there seems to be less written about toilet paper for sensitive skin.
Luckily for us, there are now several brands of hypoallergenic toilet paper available, which are easier on your skin. The best alternatives tend to be products made of bamboo (actually a kind of grass, not a tree). This is a tree-free toilet solution that looks exactly like conventional toilet paper (which is typically made of tree pulp or recycled paper) and is surprisingly soft. Let us take a look at a few kinds of toilet paper that are hypoallergenic and good options for people dealing with sensitive skin:
Best Hypoallergenic Toilet Paper for Sensitive Skin:
Seventh Generation Unbleached Toilet Paper
This hypoallergenic toilet paper is made of 100% unbleached recycled paper. It also uses mostly recycled paper, so it uses fewer trees and energy, and water to produce. When some people here ¨recycled¨they immediately think of coarse and rougher tissue. However, Seventh Generation has come up with a way to make this environmentally friendly toilet paper while still keeping it soft to touch and easy on the skin.
People with very sensitive skin due to dyes, fragrances, or softeners would find it quite convenient to use this toilet paper because it has this caressing feel while used without the chemical irritants, inks, or perfumes that can irritate your skin. Its made of roughly 80% post-consumer materials.
The presence of dyes and other substances are often the main reasons why there are skin reactions to toilet paper.
Seventh Generation made sure to produce this toilet paper specifically for people with very sensitive skin with this hypoallergenic, unbleached paper.
It is a two-ply tissue that is durable and cleans softly, although two-ply tissues are the least durable. The fact that it is a two-ply tissue makes it very ideal for RV’s. It dissolves in water easily making it less likely to clog pipes if you live in a rural area on a septic system. It can also be used in low-flow toilets such as campers. Overall it scores high marks on softness and is a top pick for value for money.
Aria Premium, Earth-Friendly Toilet Paper
If you are looking for a thicker, stronger recycled toilet paper you may want to take a closer look at the premium bath tissue by Aria. While it’s still two-ply like the option above, the sheets are about 50% thicker and noticeably stronger than other recycled options on the market while still being soft and easy on tender skin.
Softness factor: this is non-bleached, recycled tissue. If you are used to bleached and highly processed paper- this may seem a little rough. However, it does score slightly higher on softness compared to 7th Generation. When shopping for this type of toilet paper it’s often finding the balance between soft touch and the absence of dyes, bleach, and fragrances that can irritate your skin. This paper by Aria scores well for softness while hitting all the marks for being irritant and chemical-free.
Aria Mega Rolls: these rolls have much more footage compared to standard paper rolls, each having 308 sheets of 2-ply tissue but they are still made to fit standard-sized toilet paper dispensers.
One of the biggest selling points of this paper is the way that it’s made. Georgia Pacific manufactures toilet paper using factories using 100% renewable, biomass power. It also plants 3 new trees for every tree they cut down. Aria is also certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) to promote healthy forest practices.
One complaint from some customers is that the rolls themselves (sold in packs of 12 or 24 count rolls) are wrapped in plastic. While it has the look and feel of plastic, it’s actually 52% plant-based, recyclable packaging.
So while it could have wrapped its product in the paper (like the company already does in its individually wrapped Envision line of toilet paper) it is a step up from other brands that still use 100% plastic wrapping. Top pick for softness and premium feel considering it’s recycled but comes with a slightly higher price.
Green Forest Premium 100% Recycled Bathroom Tissue
This bath tissue by Green Forest is made of fully recycled paper. As with the other options we’ve reviewed, it is also Hypo-allergenic. It also contains no added dyes or fragrances. It uses a process to whiten the paper but it is chlorine-free and certified as Processed Chlorine Free (PCF).
It is biodegradable and easily breaks down so is a good choice for people living in a home with a septic system or bathroom with heavy traffic (offices, restrooms, businesses) where it’s more important than the paper breaks down quickly and does not clog your toilet.
The company guarantees that the paper is made with a minimum of post-consumer recycled material of 90%, even higher than some of the other recycled brands that only hit 80%. Green Forest comes in various formats (12 rolls is the most common package found).
This does not feel as soft as Seventh Generation or Aria but the rolls are huge and if you work out the price you may save quite a bit over the other brands. You’ll trade of some softness and plush feel for a more affordable toilet paper.
The Green forest rolls are HUGE compared to Seventh Generation (click to see a photo from a customer on Amazon), of course, you’d have to check current prices where you shop and work out the best.
Caboo Tree-Free Toilet Paper
The Caboo Tree-Free Bamboo Toilet Paper is a septic-safe biodegradable paper made from organic bamboo and sugarcane stems. This combination of two materials is known for its softness and touch…it’s now being used more and more in baby towels and washcloths for sensitive skin.
It is biodegradable and safe for septic tanks. This 2 ply toilet paper is soft and easily dissolved in water, which makes it friendly to both the ecosystem and the septic system. Although we should not ignore that its soft feel is something one should consider, as this bath tissue is gentle on the skin so a good option for people who are prone to rash and irritation.
Its softness comes from the soft fibers of sugar cane, and this makes it ideal for those dealing with skin irritation since it has a softer touch and feel. The amazing fact here is that the combination of strength and softness in one tissue paper is impressive. This gives you a roll of tissue that is both soft and durable.
The strength of the tissue is from the toughness of the bamboo combined with sugarcane stems could not have done it better. This toilet paper does its job better than most recycled toilet paper of the same size and ply count. The 300 sheet rolls are sold in packs of 4 rolls, 12 rolls or a bulk option of 24 rolls. This is our top pick for a non-traditional paper.
The Cheeky Panda – Bamboo Toilet Tissue
Another tree-free alternative is “The Cheeky Panda” bamboo toilet paper making it another good non-tree option.
The Cheeky Panda is a cruelty-free B Corp that sources sustainable bamboo from the SW part of China.
Bamboo toilet paper is generally a safer option if you have sensitive skin. It is soft and gentle on the skin and has some similarities with the virgin tree toilet paper if not more advantages. It is eco-friendly and free of chlorine and other chemicals. The TP is vegan, FSC-certified, plastic-free and naturally hypoallergenic.
Buying Toilet Paper for Sensitive Skin:
- Allergies – Some substances present in the toilet paper; like the dye, perfumes or even the material used to make the toilet paper (wood), often lead to irritation. You really need to go to a professional allergist to get a prick test done to determine what reactions you have- but a simple and affordable at-home test is to switch to one of these brands of toilet paper and see if your symptoms improve.
- The number of plies – the ply count of the toilet paper has a big effect on the texture and could affect irritability. Toilet paper can range from single-ply (like camping or RV toilet paper) to plush four-ply. Toilet paper with higher ply counts is usually thicker, stronger, more absorbent, and softer. The number of ply plays is mostly a factor in touch and feel, however, a thinner rougher single-ply could be more irritating to your skin.
- Chlorine – Chlorine is often used to bleach toilet paper to give it its white color. However, elemental chlorine gas leads to the production of dioxins that can harm human health and the environment. Chlorine-free toilet papers are often bleached with chlorine dioxide instead, although using other alternatives like unbleached toilet paper or bleached with oxygen or hydrogen peroxide are often preferable.
- Cost – the products on this list are not the cheapest on the market. The process of making this type of paper, compared to the mass amount of conventional paper is more generally more expensive. While it’s most likely going to be more expensive than traditional toilet paper, for someone suffering from an allergic reaction, the benefits can be very worth the price. Buying in bulk or using automated ordering (subscribing to monthly order on Amazon or other services) can reduce the cost quite a bit. We’ve also selected a more affordable option, although prices are constantly changing and would depend on where you shop.
- Testing: One way to find the best match for your skin is to buy the smallest format available (usually 4 rolls) of 2 or 3 different brands, test them out (use one brand until you’ve finished the 4 rolls), then move to the next one to find the one that works for your preference on touch, feel and softness. Some people that really have bad skin conditions keep a log of their symptoms and jot down whether it improved or got worse with each brand. It’s a relatively small investment considering how much of a difference it can make if you are suffering from skin irritation.
Toilet Paper for Chronic Vulvar Irritation & Yeast Infections
It’s a sensitive subject that many people avoid writing about, but I’m guessing it’s the reason why quite a few women landed on this article. If you are specifically searching for toilet paper to alleviate irritation it’s likely some of you are dealing with the painful and irritating symptoms of some type of irritation in the genital area surrounding your vagina. According to this medical study, over half of adult women will suffer from at least 1 episode of vulvovaginitis discomfort.
While the causes could be quite varied, the itching, stinging and burning sensations are all similar and can reach the point of debilitating to the point where it’s difficult for women to run, bike or do other physical activities. As the study explains, many women are given inconclusive explanations by their doctors and resort to over the counter (OTC) creams, ointments or anti-fungal medications or sprays to try to alleviate the itching even when there has been no official diagnosis of fungal infection.
While there can be many possible causes, it has been found that skin irritation in the vaginal area (vulvar dermatitis) can be caused by all sorts of household items (including some that are actually meant to improve personal hygiene such as douche) as they may contain fragrances, preservatives antibacterial agents or agents to increase alkali or acid content.
The most interesting point of the study (if you scroll to the end of the article) is the advice it gave when an exact diagnosis or cause could not be determined or if lab results came back negative:
The study suggested that physicians recommend that “women should use unbleached or minimally processed toilet paper to see if symptoms abate” and that it was “an easy, low-cost, and noninvasive suggestion that might solve the patient’s problem.”
*I’m not a Doctor, nor do I play one on the Internet. If you are dealing with any of these issues, please see a medical professional. This article is just to help identify the best toilet paper for sensitive skin, based on the recommendations that these studies have found- that it could be an easy way to alleviate the problem- although as stated this was after a doctor visit and lab tests to try to find the actual cause of allergy.*
According to the Harvard Medical School‘s article on Managing common vulvar skin conditions, these are the most common irritants that could cause irritation:
Irritants (on exposure, can cause immediate stinging or burning)
- Soap, bubble baths and salts, detergent, shampoo, conditioner
- Adult or baby wipes
- Panty liners and their adhesives
- Nylon underwear, chemically treated clothing
- Vaginal secretions, sweat, and urine
- Spermicides, lubricants
- Perfume, talcum powder, deodorants
- Alcohol and astringents
People with sensitive skin should bear in mind that the chemicals of toilet paper may be having a direct effect. Bleach is one of the biggest culprits. While there are several brands available now, keep in mind the actual texture of the totally recycled tissue may not be what you are used to if you have been using a very soft, cushioned or “quilted” style paper as many of these are embossed and or treated with chemicals to make them softer. When shopping for toilet paper, you may need to balance your expectation on softness and the fact that these are chemical-free.
While you’d want to wipe coarse paper across your skin on more sensitive private parts, the options above are mostly quite soft and maybe, more importantly, have eliminated the irritating chemicals that could be the root of your discomfort.
Each of these tissues has a special characteristic that makes it suitable for different people. The type of material, the number of plies, the bleaching chemical used, and many other factors are necessary for considering the one that suits your needs. The user is to purchase any of the above-listed options based solely on his own discretion and personal interest.
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