Tell the truth: are you going commando in your workout clothes?
No judgment if you do, but it̵
Is it okay to exercise without underwear?
Wearing tight pants or shorts without anything absorbent or moisture-wicking “is probably not the best choice and can be slightly irritating to the skin if worn for many hours and if there is significant sweating,” says Dr. Felice Gersh, a certified board. OB-GYN.
Without something down there to wick moisture away – and there’s a lot of moisture down there during workouts – the sweat would stay right on the skin, Dr. Gersh explains. This can lead to abrasions, rashes, and infections if you don’t wash and dry your body immediately.
Jock itch, an infection that can affect both men and women, is a primary threat, says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a New York City-based dermatologist. This itchy, red rash develops when sweat, oil, and dirt build up in the groin and cause a superficial fungal infection.
However, the type of fabric can be more important than the number of layers of fabric. Cotton underwear isn’t going to do you much good, says Dr. Zeichner. “Cotton traps sweat on the skin and gets wet rather than evaporation,” he explains, which increases the risk of skin irritation.
Your workout and the weather also matter: “The more sweat the workout generates, the greater the risk of chafing and possible fungal and bacterial infections,” explains Dr. Zeichner explains. “If you exercise in hot, humid weather, you are more likely to develop rashes and infections, including bacterial and fungal infections.” This is especially true if you don’t wear moisture-wicking underwear or pants.
How to go safe command
You can mitigate all of the above risks by taking some simple precautions.
First, make sure your training pants are tight. Tight-fitting pants reduce friction between your skin and the fabric, as well as between the skin on both legs, says Dr. Hadley King, a NYC-based dermatologist.
Also look for smooth seams or seamless pants to avoid chafing, says Dr. King, and make sure to choose moisture-wicking fabric. In other words, cotton leggings aren’t going to do your underworld any favors – leave them out if you’re ditching underwear too. Synthetic fabrics such asare the best, says Dr. King.
Before exercising, try adding a little body powder to the crotch of your training pants to help absorb excess moisture. Anti-chafing products such as Body Glide help prevent skin-to-skin friction.
Finally, make sure to wash off as soon as possible after your workout. Leaving sweat in your groin area will contribute to rashes and infections, Dr. Gersh explains. If you don’t have time for a full shower, at least use a body towel and change your clothes.
The argument against underwear
Despite the professional consensus that it is probably better to wear underwear while exercising, many people prefer not to.
I know many people who don’t wear underwear while exercising – all assigned female at birth. I personally can’t stand sports without underwear; I need that extra layer of fabric. Because I despise it so much, I was curious why so many fellow athletes started doing commando in their training pants.
I asked a few friends and these are the answers I got:
- Avoid slip lines in tight pants.
- No wedgies to choose from.
- No slipping waistbands to deal with during squats and other leg movements.
- Feels freer; does not restrict leg movement.
- Just feels more comfortable.
All in all, it comes down to personal preference. Wear whatever you feel most comfortable in, as long as you avoid chafing, infection, and other possible effects, as described above. If you’re convinced you should wear underwear while exercising, here are our top picks for the
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care practitioner if you have any questions about a medical condition or health goals.