Ingredients that make condoms

Ingredients that make condoms

Whether it’s a ready meal, shampoo or toilet cleaner, these days most products are made using an unpronounceable wealth of different chemicals. But how often do we ever top and seriously consider what has gone into them, how they were made or the reason for those chemicals being used? Um, never.

And when you think about condoms, you no doubt think about the common materials that are used to make them – latex, lambskin, etc – but little thought is often given to the other components that go into the process.

In fact, you’d be entirely forgiven to looking at this blog post with wide eyes and an open mouth, confused as to what we are talking about. Most people don’t even realise that there is more than one material involved in their production but, obviously, there definitely is.

In today’s blog post, we are going to be taking a closer look at that ingredient list and discusses exactly what each component does.


This is a common chemical that is often used in the production of condoms, as it is a spermicidal detergent that can help to prevent pregnancy, whilst also killing of any STDs. But, despite its various benefits, it’s a chemical that can sometimes have other unwanted side effects.

It can actually cause inflammation inside the vagina or rectum and in doing so, create issues with the cells in those regions. Over time this damage can cause an increased chance of catching STDs It has also been linked to urinary tract infections amongst women. So, yeah, it’s far from ideal.

However, that said, many condom companies are now trying to move away from using this chemical and are seeking to opt for other, less bothersome alternatives.

Parabens |

Parabens are a type of preservative that can often be found in lubricated condoms in your local super store. This chemical is used to help prevent bacterial creation inside the packaged condom and also helps to extend the condoms shelf life.

Glycerine |

This is another kind of preservative and is sweet-tasting, often used in flavoured condom ranges and that’s the most common reason for it being used. In the long-term, it’s a chemical that can actually increase the chances of STDs being contracted and can cause yeast infections inside women.

As it contains sugar, it can encourage the growth of bacteria, much in the same way as sugar which has been added yeast creating fungi growth. Not the kind of ‘fungi’ you were hoping to meet on a Saturday night.

Casein |

If you’re vegan, then you will undoubtedly have already heard of this chemical, as it is the one that is most likely to affect your condom decisions. This chemical is derived from milk and is used to help make condoms feel smoother. Whilst it’s a particularly risky chemical for those from the vegan lifestyle, there’s also a chance of an allergic reaction for some people.

Benzocaine |

This chemical is actually a type of aesthetic and is used to decrease sensitivity of the condom user and is therefore most commonly found in condoms that claim to help users last that bit longer. Whilst side effects are very rare, these condoms can sometimes cause irritation and dry skin but nothing that some cream won’t solve.

So, next time you purchase a new pack of your favourite condom, take a peek at the ingredients on the back. You could even impress your date by reeling off knowledge of the numerous chemicals involved, just go lightly on the chemicals side effects, nothing kills the moment like a yeast infection.

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Stuart Brown

Stuart Brown

I'm Stuart, senior Editor at British Condoms. I am an expert in all areas of sexual health and have a passion to drive knowledge to youth in the UK. Any questions for me or media enquiries, please feel free to tweet me @britishcondoms. Always open to engagement.

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