Written by Yoppie
17 Feb 2020
Stay back, synthetics!
What’s a vagina gotta do to get a little comfort?! Not only does our menstrual cycle shake things up for our vagina each month, but when it comes to protecting it each day, we subject this sensitive area to underwear that could potentially be doing long-term damage. Here, we’re breaking down the best garments that will help keep your vagina happy…
It’s all about that breathable cotton. It can often be tempting to buy the cheapest underwear, since it’s probably not on show very often. Similarly, it’s easy to gravitate towards those colourful, sexy pants with the frills, because why not, eh? Actually, you may want to think about more than just the price and the way they look.
Opting for organic cotton underwear means you are avoiding those unwanted and potentially toxic chemicals typically used to manufacture underwear. Many include carcinogens, and while it’s hard to imagine how fabric dyed with harmful materials can ever affect your body, having your vagina (a sensitive and porous body part) rub against this kind of material day in, day out, can cause issues. By buying organic cotton underwear, you are also doing your part for the environment by avoiding fabrics produced using damaging chemicals. It's a win for both you and the earth!
However this doesn't mean you have to avoid sexy pants altogether. Silk underwear is another great choice for keeping your downstairs hydrated and irritation-free, while still being aesthetically pleasing. Silk is soft, breathable and hypoallergenic, and having those loose-fitting and breathable fabrics will reduce the incidence of vulvovaginal infections. Nice to know!
Bamboo fibre is often thought to be more eco-friendly as it’s a renewable source, however it’s important to know that the manufacturing of this produces quite a lot of chemicals, like sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide. These could potentially be staying on your underwear, so if you have to get bamboo fabrics try to stick to garments that are certified organic, as these are likely safer.
Synthetic materials are definitely the worst thing you can cover your bits up with every day, and yet it seems most underwear is made from the likes of nylon and viscose rayon. Their stretchiness and comfort is certainly tempting, but their production methods are questionable, often claiming to be more sustainable than they actually are.
Take viscose, for example. This material is primarily made up of recycled wood pulp - sounds pretty eco-friendly and safe for skin, right? But in order to make it strong enough to be regularly worn and washed, it is then treated with chemicals like caustic soda, ammonia and sulphuric acid. So, what was once a naturally-derived fabric is now laced with chemicals.
Another to watch out for is polyester, which is essentially plastic. It’s made from crude oil… need we say more?! Keep polyester far away from your delicate lady bits to avoid potentially damaging chemicals on your skin.
Plus, many of these fabrics are not breathable, meaning they trap in moisture and odour which increases your risk of bacterial infections in your vagina - your girl gotta breathe!
So you’re probably now looking at your underwear drawer thinking it’s time for a clear out. While you don’t need to replace everything right this minute, a good rule of thumb is to replace your underwear every year. Bacteria builds up, and some particles can even remain on clean underwear after washing - yikes! This is, of course, totally normal and nothing to be grossed out about, but it’s a good reason to consider a clear-out of your underwear drawer and some shopping for new, fresh knickers.
To avoid any sort of irritation or infection, and to keep your lady bits feeling fresh, stick to loose-fitting cotton undies where possible and replace them every year just to be on the safe side. Your vagina deserves only the best!
Got questions about materials? Want to tell us about the underwear brands you love? Head on over to our private Facebook group or drop us a note on Insta @itsyoppie. Don't forget that our personalised period subscription box can get organic tampons, pads, liners (and more) delivered easily and regularly through your letterbox. That's one less thing to get your knickers in a twist about.
Fact checked by Doctor Samantha Miller.
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