You can be allergic to your toilet paper.


I know, right now you’re probably thinking, “Man. Do we have to worry about being allergic to everything nowadays?” But it’s true, and I need to warn you.

Depending on your parent’s spending philosophy, you probably grew up using one of two kids of toilet paper: the most expensive toilet paper money could buy, or the cheapest. Those of you stuck with the individually wrapped sandpaper rolls probably didn’t appreciate your parent’s frugality at the time. Now you have a reason to thank them. They may have saved you from an unpleasant toilet paper allergy.

The soft, cushiony, snowy white toilet paper we see advertised by squeezably soft bears and clouds are more expensive for a reason. They’ve been through more processing to go from being something like a splinter, to something like a piece of paper, to something like a powder puff before hitting your grocery store shelf. Chemicals such as bleach are used to whiten, brighten, and soften the paper. Glue attaches the the paper to the roll and keeps the beginning end down so it doesn’t fray out.

And they have to be more expensive to cover the cost of all that advertising.

After repeated exposure over time, people can develop an allergy to either the chemicals used in the processing of toilet paper, or simply to the glue that keeps the ends in place.

Sensitization to the allergen occurs as your body gradually creates a more and more dramatic response to the “invader”  that is coming in contact with not just your skin, but with mucus membranes. Eventually your bottom may just decide it’s not happy with how it’s being treated, and it will Let. You. Know.

How can you and your family avoid developing a toilet paper allergy?

Here are a few tips:

  1. Buy “unbleached” natural toilet paper from specialty stores such as Trader Joes or Earth Fare.
  2. Toss out the beginning and end of your toilet paper roll to avoid wiping glue against your skin.
  3. Save money and your health by using the cheapest toilet paper you can find. The softer and whiter the paper, the more processed.
  4. If you or your child already has an allergy or irritation from your toilet paper, use hypo-allergenic baby wipes for a while. These will help you recover before switching to the scratchy unprocessed toilet paper. Just remember- unless they’re the flushable kind, don’t flush wet wipes down the drain!

So don’t be afraid to go for the cheap stuff the next time you’re strolling the paper aisle at your local grocer. If it could, your bottom just might thank you.


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