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From organic cotton briefs to period panties to lacy thongs, the options are legit endless when it comes to underwear types. But as much as you may want panties with style (hi, flattering cuts and fun colors), it’s important to prioritize comfort and, well, vaginal health when it comes to your panty purchases.
And yes, you can totally find cute and breathable underwear that are vagina-friendly—and you’ll find all of the best *and* ob-gyn-approved recommendations right here. But first, let’s get a little more info on how exactly your underwear affects the vagina.
How do underwear materials affect vaginal health?
Being mindful of what your skivvies are made of can save you from a host of vaginal health issues like infections and irritation. That’s because yeast and bacteria tend to thrive in moist, dark places, says Alyssa Dweck, MD, an ob-gyn in Westchester County, New York.
Certain underwear materials can create that damp environment. “Breathability is really important,” Dr. Dweck says. “Synthetic materials like Lycra and nylon can be confining and non-breathable and can lead to irritation, rashes and infection, especially if you’re already prone to those things.” That’s not to say that you’ll definitely get an infection if you wear underwear made of these materials. But there are fabrics that are airier and will make your vagina much, much happier and cut down on your risk.
What material should my underwear be made of?
Cotton is the best choice when it comes to everyday wear, according to Dr. Dweck. It’s the most absorbent material and the best for promoting breathability. (And, yup, they’re usually pretty affordable too.) If you have sensitive skin or you’ve been dealing with recurrent, persistent infections or irritation, opting for *organic* cotton or other natural, more-pricey materials may be helpful, says Dr. Dweck. Otherwise, conventional cotton is just fine.
The exception to the cotton rule? When you’re working out. It’s fine, and probably even beneficial, to forgo cotton when you’re exercising. The best underwear to wear while working out tends to be any kind made of moisture-wicking materials, as those will feel most comfortable, says Dr. Dweck. But you should still be sure to change out of your sweaty clothes as soon as possible post-workout. Going commando can be easier in this regard as well, as most workout bottoms either have a built-in liner or are designed to be worn without underwear anyway.
Are thongs a good choice?
The good news: Thongs aren’t any worse than full-coverage underwear as far as promoting or decreasing the chance of infection or irritation—as with other styles, it’s ultimately the materials that matter. Still, if you opt for a thong, go for one that fits properly and has a cotton crotch panel, as a too-tight thong can lead to chafing, particularly if it’s a g-string style, says Dr. Dweck. (Ouch.) And for anyone out there who loves forgoing undies altogether: Occasionally going commando is even *better* than opting for cotton, says Dr. Dweck. If you’re prone to vaginal infections, sleeping without underwear may help to curb them. Nude sleepers rejoice!
Whew! That was a lot of (v important) info. But let’s get to the good stuff: The breathable underwear options ahead are all approved by Dr. Dweck, that will keep you healthy and feel like butter on your parts down there.
1Women’s Boy Shorts
If you prefer to lounge or sleep in your underwear versus going commando, these certified organic cotton boy shorts will keep things comfortable, airy and issue-free.AD
2Viscose Cotton Bikini Women’s Breathable Panties
$33.99$22.99 (32% off)SHOP NOW
These basic low-rise bikinis come in a variety of fun colors and prints, and, most importantly, and as the name suggests, they’re made primarily out of expert-recommended breathable cotton.
Q3Organic Cotton Basic Panties
If you’ve got sensitive skin and want to opt for organic cotton, this four-pack of comfortable panties comes in a variety of sizes at an affordable price point.
4Rael Organic Cotton Period Panties
Period panties are a pretty genius idea for keeping your clothes stain-free without adding the bulk and additional layer of a pad or liner. While there are a ton of menstrual underwear options out there, several are made of the same materials that could potentially cause the vaginal health issues you’re trying to avoid. These panties, however, are still made of trusty organic cotton to keep you feeling comfortable and protected.
5Hipster Cotton Panties
$24.99$21.99 (12% off)SHOP NOW
If you’re on the hunt for panties that are more pretty than plain, the lace trim on these 95-percent cotton undies adds a touch of style that won’t add discomfort. You really can’t beat their price point, either.
us Size Pure Cotton Full-Cut Brief
Comfort ChoiceSHOP NOW
With full coverage, fun prints and expert-approved materials, these panties check all the boxes for those looking for comfortable underwear that actually comes in larger sizes.
7Seamless Thong Panties
Balanced TechSHOP NOW
If you’re not comfortable going commando while wearing leggings, but don’t want your panty line to be on display while you’re crushing your workout, these thongs are just the ticket. The lightweight spandex blend will keep your crotch area dry, while the seamless design will help prevent painful chafing
8Invisible Cotton Full Brief
If you’re convinced that cotton and “invisible” formalwear panties don’t mix, think again. This 86-percent cotton pair provides full coverage and comfort while remaining perfectly hidden behind that formal dress or pair of dress pants.ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW9Period Proof Sport Panties
While the outer panels of these undies are made of the stretchy nylon and polyester you likely expect from workout wear, the middle layer and inner lining are made of 95-percent cotton. With this pair, you can stay fresh and healthy without sacrificing comfort, even when exercising during your period.
As the brand name implies, this cotton thong is the next best thing to wearing nothing at all. Not only that, but it’ll look that way too, as its lack of elastic means no panty lines and less potential irritation and chafing.
Fruit of the Loom
$15.83$11.99 (24% off)SHOP NOW
Along with cotton, mesh is another material that’s not only breathable, but keeps you cool and dry while you’re wearing it. These high-waisted, moisture-wicking panties are made up of both and are perfect for everyday wear.
12Bamboo Viscose Fiber Panties
Warm Sun$23.99SHOP NOW
Another option for those with sensitive skin are panties made from natural materials such as bamboo. These silky, high-waisted panties come in neutral and bright colors, and go up to size 3X.
$24.95$19.92 (20% off)SHOP NOW
If you prefer a low-rise style that’s still no-frills, these colorful hipsters are great for wearing under everyday jeans, shorts or skirts. They’re also made with cool moisture-wicking fabrics (a blend of cotton and polyester) for added comfort.EMILIA BENTONEmilia Benton is a Houston-based freelance writer and editor.This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses.