SEPTEMBER 2017 UPDATE: Recently there has been a LOT of noise about certain brands of sanitary pads being under investigation regarding safety to use. The claim is that certain companies have been putting (injecting.. I don’t know) hormones into the pads which have in turn been causing women to have cystic acne breakouts, more intense cramps and periods lasting 1-2 days only (I know, this last one sounds dreamy but its probably not the right way to go about it.) A lot of the information I am finding online is in Korean (Obvs) and not validated but someone posted this link on Facebook the other day which might shed more light on the situation. I’ve heard tell that if you fork out for the organic cotton pads then those are safe (an example is pictured belo – apparently Olive Young is going to stock them this month but I’m yet to find any), but nobody can say that definitively. The upshot is that a lot of women in Korea are either turning to reusable organic cotton pads, such as Hannahpads, menstrual cups or getting pads sent from home (I’m stocking up next week when I head to London. Better safe than sorry). You can also buy pads online at iherb.com and amazon.com but obviously you have to factor delivery time into your order and I believe iherb.com is currently out of stock of EVERYTHING. Do your research and stay safe ladies xxx
Here’s a post just for the girls out there – if the word “period” makes you blush more than tomatoes dried in the sun then stop reading now. If, however, you have a girlfriend, wife, daughter, female friend or relative that might visit you, stick around for the ride.
One unavoidable fact of life is that if you are a pre-menopausal woman, you’ll have a period or two while you are here. Now I know I harp on and on about how everything is so expensive here but sanitary products are the worst. Whilst some women have said tampons are more readily available in Seoul, I’ve only seen them in Olive Young (next to Awesome International) and they cost about 70 million dollars for 5 tampons (ed: slight exaggeration but you get the point.) And sanitary pads don’t feel a lot cheaper except when they are on 3 for 2 – and then you end up being the weirdo walking down the street with 6 packets of pads in your arms because you don’t want to take a bag (go green!) and they will not fit in your already full trolley. Yikes. Recently however, Lotte Mart has launched its own brand to rival Emart’s ‘No Brand’ brand – helpfully called ‘Only Price.’ The red & white packaging can be found across a variety of items in store, including, you guessed it, sanitary pads. For a mere 2,000 won per packet – Yes ladies, English prices have hit the South Korean Peninsula! – your monthly needs are covered. Having just road-tested the ones pictured below (TMI? That’s how dedicated I am to the task of making your life easier here people…) are comfortable and pretty much the same as the more expensive counterparts found in other stores. The 41.5cm long one is HUGE and they have one more, slightly less long size not pictured here. As an aside, you want to buy your regular-day liners from Daiso – the same brand is sold in every shop, but its only 1,000 per packet in Daiso.
Birth Control: Now if you are from the UK and used to getting it for free, then be prepared for a shock. Or stock up from home. The pill costs about 7,000 won per month here – you can (and should) take your packet from home to the pharmacy (I recommend the one I refer to here ) so that they can match the active ingredients and hey presto you’re set. Once again, I will direct your attention to Facebook: the women’s groups (such as Expat Women in Korea, mentioned in my post about social media ) are full of information about other types of birth control and female doctors in Seoul. Use the search function / check out the files on the group before you post a question, because chances are that somebody has already asked it and all the information you need it just sitting there waiting for you! I’m yet to find a women’s doctor in Songo/Incheon, mostly because I haven’t looked, but I’m sure the Asian Tigers hotline will be able to help and there is bound to be someone at the Inha University Hospital too.
I think a separate post on the various skin care and beauty stores here is called for but I’ve had a couple of questions on periods and birth controls from readers, so I thought this would be helpful.
Happy Monday folks and speak to you again soon 🙂