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By Hein Kaiser


This type of underwear is best for your nether regions, says dermatologist

Cotton, nylon and natural fibers are considered healthy due to being breathable and light. Nylon fibers can absorb moisture without causing skin irritation.

While underwear can be sexy, it’s got a job to do. Most of it is functional if you think about it. It provides a measure of support for your tools and tackle and keeps them in place while bras are supportive of breasts.

Underwear protects your outer garments from some stains and, that’s about it. But we all have a lot of it. Boxers, briefs and everything in-between for guys while women collect lace, cotton, fashionables and could have everything from boy shorts through to thongs and G-strings in their closets.

But underwear can literally be a pain in the derriere in more than one way. Fabrics play a huge role in both comfort and wellness and choosing the right kind of underwear, for maximum comfort, is no easy decision.

Sometimes, and the trend is growing, it’s better just to go commando and ditch your undies. Dermatologist Dr Lushen Pillay takes us on an underwear journey.

What undies, especially in terms of fabrics, are the best for your genitalia?

Cotton, nylon and natural fibers are considered healthy due to being breathable and light. Nylon fibers can absorb moisture without causing skin irritation.

For men specifically, wearing tight underwear at night can increase the ambient temperature and pushes testicles against your body which affects sperm count. This can also increase risk of testicular cancer.

What happens when we choose the wrong kind of fabrics ?

Choosing tight underwear affect men and women differently. Tight underwear like briefs, thongs and bikinis should not leave an imprint on the skin as this already shows chafing and could lead to irritation. Shapewear can also affect circulation drastically.

Tight underwear on men increases temperature around the scrotum which again affects sperm count and contributes to difficulty in family planning. In females’ tight underwear and incorrect materials can cause regular yeast infections, with regular yeast infections, the skins barrier becomes increasingly compromises posing risks for further conditions.

Materials that are not breathable causes moisture to be trapped between skin and fabric and this creates a bacteria-thriving environment which can increase risk of urinary tract infections common in females.

What are some of the general rules of thumb to consider about underwear?

During all forms of exercise, it is important to choose material which inhibits the transfer of sweat to the genitals as this can cause an infection. Also, loose underwear provides a comfortable and light fit without causing chafing or irritation.

Making sure that your underwear is made from natural fibers assists in absorbing moisture and discharge, for example, and naturally airs out the vulva or penis. Remember too to change your underwear daily. This is important.

For men who are trying to conceive, avoid briefs and stick to boxers. Women, in turn, should avoid wearing lace and polyester based fabric for long periods. Always wash your underwear with hypoallergenic agents.

Should I sleep with knickers on, or off?

Wearing no underwear at night certainly reduces the risks of yeast infections and other problems in females, specifically. Common conditions like Vulvodynia (a condition that indicates burning, stinging, itching or rawness) is less aggressive or uncomfortable when avoiding wearing underwear at night.

Is not wearing underwear at all a better idea?

Going commando can be beneficial to air out the area, improve circulation and avoid any increase in temperature around the genital area, however this is mostly recommended at night, and we still need to be aware of some of the risks associated with this practice.

Avoiding the use of underwear during the day poses many concerns which we need to be aware of. The lack of underwear during the day can cause chafing and skin irritation from other materials rubbing against your privates’ so wearing underwear is imperative in creating a barrier or buffer effect and offer protection as well.

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