Many individuals are familiar with the internal debate over how frequently you should change your underwear. While conventional wisdom suggests a daily change, dermatologists and experts offer insights that may surprise you. Factors influencing this decision include the type of underwear, activities you engage in, and climatic conditions. Dermatologist Dr. Anju Methil explains, “In situations with minimal activity and no sweating, changing [underwear] every other day may be acceptable. Men’s looser-fitting styles, like boxers, may also allow for slightly longer wear”.1
How Often you Change Your Underwear Depends
Wearing the same pair of underwear for an extended period poses risks beyond just fashion concerns. Licensed skincare specialist Sarah Roberts warns, “Men and women risk skin irritation, rashes, or the worsening of pre-existing conditions such as eczema or psoriasis when they re-wear underwear too often without washing it; this is due to friction and trapped moisture”. For women, the risks extend further due to the anatomy, with a shorter urethra making them more vulnerable to infections. Dr. Archit Aggarwal emphasizes the need for women with heavy menstrual cycles or significant discharge to consider changing underwear more than once a day.2
Physical activity and climate significantly determine how often you should change your underwear. Dermatologist Dr. Hannah Kopelman advises, “For those engaged in intense physical activities or who sweat heavily, it’s advisable to get changed more frequently.” Similarly, living in hot and humid climates may necessitate a more-than-once-a-day practice to maintain good hygiene. Men and women face different consequences, with women risking yeast infections, and bacterial vaginosis and men facing the possibility of jock itch if hygiene is not maintained.
Read: Experts Weigh in On Wearing Athletic Pants, Yoga Leggings, and Tights All Day Long
Men vs. Women Change of Underwear
Men may find some freedom in not changing their underwear every day, according to dermatologists. If minimal sweating occurs, waiting 48 hours before changing is considered acceptable. Dr. Anju Methil points out that men’s looser-fitting styles, like boxers, may allow for slightly longer wear. However, even men are not exempt from risks such as skin irritation and jock itch if underwear is worn repeatedly without changing. Dermatologists suggest making a switch at least once a day to minimize infection risks.
Unfortunately, women do not enjoy the same flexibility as men when it comes to changing underwear. The shorter tract connecting the genitals and back passage increases the risk of harmful bacteria. Sarah Roberts emphasizes that women, like men, risk skin irritation, rashes, or the worsening of pre-existing conditions when re-wearing underwear too often. Dr. Archit Aggarwal points out the vulnerabilities women face due to the vulva’s folds and crevices, making them more prone to infections. Women with heavy menstrual cycles or significant discharge may need to change their underwear more than once a day for both bacterial risk and comfort.
Balancing Hygiene and Comfort
A June poll found that 47% of people would never wear the same underwear for more than one day at a time, emphasizing the importance people place on maintaining good hygiene.3 However, the poll also revealed that 36% of Gen Zers sometimes wear the same underwear for 24-plus hours, showcasing a generational difference in habits. The risks associated with prolonged wear, such as bacterial or yeast infections, highlight the importance of balancing hygiene and comfort.
Neglecting underwear hygiene can lead to various consequences, with both men and women facing the risk of skin irritation, rashes, and exacerbation of pre-existing conditions,. Women, in particular, may suffer from vaginal yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis due to moisture and bacterial growth. Men may experience jock itch, a fungal skin infection, in the groin area if underwear is not changed regularly. These consequences underscore the importance of maintaining good hygiene practices to prevent potential health issues.
A Reminder for Comfort and Health
Dermatologists emphasize the importance of prioritizing comfort and health over sticking to rigid rules about underwear changes. While it may be acceptable for men to go every other day without changing in certain situations, the overarching suggestion is to change underwear at least once a day to minimize infection risks. Dr. Archit Aggarwal recommends immediate underwear change if discomfort, itching, or unusual discharge occurs, underscoring the need to pay attention to one’s body.
In conclusion, the frequency of changing your underwear depends on various factors, including the type of underwear, your activities, and the climate you live in. While men may have some flexibility, women face unique challenges due to anatomy. The risks associated with neglecting underwear hygiene are skin irritation, infections, and discomfort. Dermatologists stress the importance of adapting underwear habits to individual needs, maintaining good hygiene practices, and listening to your body for optimal comfort and health.
Keep Reading: 5 Major Feminine Hygiene Mistakes That Can Affect Women’s Health
- “Doctor reveals how often you should change your underwear.” Unilad. Kit Roberts. January 9, 2024.
- “Don’t bother changing your underwear every day- unless you’re a woman – top skin experts tell the Daily Mail.” Daily Mail. Emily Joshu. January 2024.
- “How often should you change your underwear? The answer may surprise you.” NY Post.
Tracy Swartz. January 8, 2024.