Silk has a reputation for being the ultimate nice fabric. Cotton? Sure, fine. Polyester? That's for riff-raff! But silk — especially for intimates and lingerie — seems to be the gold standard. But, your gyno may not agree.
Truth is, even though silk sounds and feels luxurious, the best fabric for your vagina may actually be plain old cotton. "Cotton in general tends to be non-irritating to your skin," Raquel Dardik, MD, of the Tisch Women's Health Center says. "The external skin around your vagina is like regular skin, but just a little bit more sensitive. So if you have material that irritates your skin normally, you might have minor inflammation to the area."
It's not just a skin issue, though. Cotton is known to be one of the most breathable types of fabrics out there, which makes it better for your skin — and also your vagina. "Most of the synthetic fabrics, as well as silk, are not that breathable," Dr. Dardik says, "and for women who have sensitive skin and yeast infections, the most breathable material is really what works best."
Why? Well, yeast thrives on moisture — so if you trap moisture in your fussy silk underwear, you're creating a prime breeding ground for an infection (ouch). "Of course, if you're the kind of person who never has issues with vaginal irritation and infections, you can wear whatever you want," Dr. Dardik says. But if you're prone to annoying vaginal problems, opting for an all-cotton underwear — or at the very least with cotton lining — is your best bet.
Still, we wouldn't want to deprive you of buying cute lingerie, chill boy shorts, even the thongiest thongs that your underwear drawer needs. So we went ahead and rounded up pretty — and breathable! — underthings for you, your wardrobe, and of course your vagina.