Can you be allergic to your underwear?


“I kept experiencing painful rashes after using my 90%cotton 10% lycra stretchy underwear. I had painful rashes on my private area including my bottom and wherever the elastic touched my skin including the leg creases.”

“I developed a golf-ball sized cyst in my groin from the elastic 'nipping' at my skin. And I’m now plagued with an open wound that I need to treat for 7 months at a time.”

 “I break out under my arms and on the sides where the bra touches my skin. Does anyone know what I should do about this? Is this an allergy??"


These kinds of reactions are typically temporary. It may start out within moments of exposure but some take several hours to develop. It could be attributed to a number of causes.

  • Material and composition

Firstly, it may be the composition of your undie’s material and composition. It could be that you get the adverse skin reactions from the elastic. Many people are allergic to latex and spandex and this could cause the reactions on your skin. Drawstring bottoms that are completely elastic-free and can help alleviate crease-related problems. Also, Nothing But Cotton Bras that are completely elastic-free are highly advisable for sensitive skin.

  • Washing and detergent

Additionally, another factor is the laundry detergent you are using. You could actually be allergic to the detergent, and the elastic portion is denser and more saturated with detergent residue even if it has been rinsed out. You may choose to switch to a “free” and “clear” formula. You may do your jeans and regular clothes in ordinary detergent but do your underwear in a less harsh one. Using fabric conditioner and bleach is not recommended. If you can, better to set your washing machine to do an extra rinse

  • Hygiene and routine

This may sound too personal but some women tend to douche more often than needed or use deodorant soap to wash their intimate area. Because the vagina has its self-sustaining cleaning system, there is actually no need to douche or wash with soap. The glands in the vagina produce fluid discharges daily to help get rid of dead cells and other potentially harmful materials so douching and washing with soap can disrupt its natural condition because it can wash away these protective fluids. Moreover, make sure you have fully dried yourself before getting dressed. It’s inevitable that you may be rushing in the morning, but not drying yourself enough before putting on your underwear can run the risk of yeast infections or skin chafing or irritation.

If you notice getting allergic reactions from your underwear, the best treatment for it is strict avoidance. Remember to also consult your physician about taking an allergy test to determine the specific substances that cause the reaction. 

Related Article: 6 Steps to get the best underwear for your health.