What Makes Silicone Safe? A Look at What Exactly ‘Medical-Grade’ Means
Do you love your menstrual cup or personal massagers (or both!)? Do you also care about your health and safety?
Assuming you answered ‘yes’ both these questions (because really, who wouldn’t?) then it’s time to strap in, because we’re about to talk about something super important that has to do with all of these: silicone.
What is Silicone?
Silicone has been working its way into multiple facets of our daily lives since its early stages of commercial development in the 1930s. Comprising chains of silicon molecules with side-groups of other molecules, it can take the form of a liquid or solid.
Not only is it durable, silicone is also resistant to bacteria buildup – making it perfect for things like menstrual cups and other intimate products like your vibrators.
What Does ‘Medical-Grade’ Mean?
Silicone is a versatile material that can be used for a ton of stuff, including things like medical implants. ‘Medical-Grade’ means the silicone has been tested and approved by the FDA for biocompatability – so it’s designed to be worn safely inside the body for long periods of time. Medical grade silicone is hypoallergenic, latex-free and containing no toxins, and is also nonporous and so resists bacterial growth.
Why Is it Important to Use Body-Safe Materials like Silicone?
Certain categories of products (think food, children’s toys) are heavily regulated when it comes to what they can be made out of, which makes sense because they usually end up in someone’s mouth.
Products that end up in our other sensitive areas (or, also your mouths – we’re not judging), well, not so much.
Many products, such as lower-end sex toys sold as ‘novelty items,’ are made from plastic that has been softened with phthalates, and they can have adverse effects on the reproductive process and are linked to increased instances of birth defects and sperm damage. Not only this, but the same kinds of toys that use phthalates (and other suspicious chemicals) can be porous, and thus difficult to effectively clean between uses.
How Can I Tell if My Product is Made of Silicone?
There are a few main ways to make sure your new massager or menstrual cup is made out of silicone.
1. The Smell
If you have ever won an adult product at a bachelorette party and found it had a very strong plastic-y/ ‘new car’ smell, then chances are it has some nasty chemicals lurking in it.
2. The Color
There is a misconception that products that turn white when stretched contain filler and are not 100% silicone. Stretching ANY silicone it will go white at some point, depends on thickness, color pigment mix, and shape and size of the product.
A trained eye – like those of our lovely folks in production and quality assurance – can judge the quality of the silicone by the stretch and the type of white they see – but of course we rely on more exact testing and certified materials!
Is it True You Can’t Let Silicone Touch Other Silicone?
The idea that you can’t store silicone products together has been floating around for about as long as people have been slapping a ‘made of silicone’ sticker on mystery material sex toys – aka far too long.
To put it simply: no, there’s nothing wrong with storing your 100% silicone products together…
But (Isn’t there always a but?)
If you’re unsure as to whether your product is in fact made of what it is supposed to be (that is, it hasn’t been mislabelled or is touted as some sort of silicone blend) then you should not take the chance. A quick Google search of ‘melted sex toys’ will reveal the unholy consequences of such a disaster.
Many of these products consist of a bunch of toxic chemicals you don’t want in your body anyway, might as well give them all a miss and stick to quality you can count on!
At Intimina, we our commitment is to enhancing intimate wellness, so whenever we make a product, we involve our Medical Advisory Board to offer advice and support, so whichever of our menstrual cups you end up choosing, it’ll be a safe choice!
A collective group of “lady experts” at Intimina who love sharing our personal experiences, even when they are a little too personal. We believe it’s time to start breaking down the taboos around menstruation, motherhood, and menopause, and start owning our female health.