Underwear While Exercising: What's The Deal?

2Photographed by Justin Namon.
Workout clothes are kind of the best. They're breathable and soft and really let you move. (Okay, everything except for sports bras.) So, when it's time to hit the gym, should we be changing our underwear, too? Women's Health investigated. The glossy spoke to Sandra Lee, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and Kenneth Mark, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist, to see if we do, in fact, need special underwear for exercise.
Here's the thing. You wear underwear all day long (we think). So, you're likely trapping perspiration down there, which can cause irritation and even infection. Plus, you're probably familiar with the, ahem, olfactory complications that comes with it. So, when you're adding a workout to all of that, just imagine the vaginatastrophy (yes, we just made that word up) that could occur.
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For your next gym trip, try avoiding 100% cotton panties, says Dr. Mark. Instead, look for ones that have a wicking quality. Don't worry — it'll say so right on the label. Of course, if you want a more natural option, you can get ones made of organic bamboo (which are super soft, we might add).
Regardless of the fit you prefer for your underwear, you should get seamless ones to avoid chafing. "Chronic irritation and rubbing can cause abrasions that could go deep enough to cause darkening of the skin or permanent scarring," explained Dr. Lee. Um, yikes. New weekend project: panty raid. (Women's Health)
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