Read this if you’ve ever contemplated an airier approach to undergarments.Wearing clothes sans underwear — a.k.a. going commando — is getting increasingly popular among folks who prefer an, ahem, breezier feel on their body throughout the day. And just like that, they have zero visible panty lines! But some people who skip panties all together claim underwear is not just inconvenient at times, it can actually be bad for you.
According to several women interviewed by the Daily Mail, not wearing underwear is the “key to good health” because underwear could lead to “embarrassing infections and other health problems.” So, how much truth is there to this theory? We asked Elizabeth Eden, M.D., President of NY Gynecological Society and Women’s Sexual health expert at the VSPOT to find out.
“There is no one explanation as to why people wear underwear, but the most common reason is that it’s viewed as a societal norm,” explains Dr. Eden. While some people opt to wear underwear as a barrier between their skin and the clothing’s fabric, she also says that the idea of wearing underwear makes many “feel more secure both physically and psychologically.”
So, we know why people might want to wear ’em, but do we know if they’re actually harmful in the way the aforementioned women believe? Here’s some relief for underwear lovers: “There is no correlation to increased infections with and without underwear,” says Dr. Eden. Phew!
Still, some underwear is better than others. “I recommend underwear — at least, the part in direct contact with the genital area — be made of cotton or silk, natural fabrics which allow exchange of air and moisture.” Because synthetic fabrics can be more occlusive, they can increase the chance that you’ll develop a yeast infection and potentially inflammatory reactions. And if you happen to have a a yeast infection already, Dr. Eden warns that wearing tight underwear or a thong could exacerbate the symptoms of a preexisting infection, as “excessive moisture over a prolonged period of time can increase the chance of getting a yeast infection.”
As for sleeping in your underwear, Dr. Eden says that it doesn’t increase the likelihood that you’ll get an infection, but suggests picking cotton panties to pop on before bed, as the material is more breathable than polyester pairs that tend to lock in moisture. And if your skin or vagina are feeling a little irritated, you can simply go without for a few days (and nights, too).