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The Best Underwear For Sensitive Skin, According To A Dermatologist

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By Alexa Vazquez

If you have sensitive skin or are prone to rashes or irritation, you have to be mindful of everything you put on your body — including your underwear. The wrong pair can cause skin irritations due to friction, while certain fabrics can contribute to vaginal infections like UTIs and yeast infections. Bustle reached out to board-certified dermatologist Marisa K. Garshick, M.D. to learn what to look for when shopping for the best underwear for sensitive skin. According to Garshick, you’ll want panties made primarily from cotton, with a 100% cotton gusset, and the fit should be neither too tight nor too loose.

The Expert

Marisa K. Garshick, M.D., is a board-certified dermatologist based at MDCS Dermatology: Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery in New York City, as well as an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Cornell - New York Presbyterian Medical Center. She is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery, and the Women’s Dermatologic Society. She specializes in both cosmetic procedures and general medical dermatology, such as providing treatments for eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea.

What To Look For In The Best Underwear For Sensitive Skin

Fabric

By far the most important factor when shopping for sensitive skin-safe underwear is the material. Dr. Garshick says, “Cotton tends to be the best fabric for those with sensitive skin as it is gentle and not irritating.” And not only is cotton soft, it’s also incredibly breathable. While other fabrics trap heat and moisture (which can make your underwear a breeding ground for rashes and vaginal infections), cotton wicks away moisture and dries quickly.

Most of the cotton underwear listed ahead contains a small amount of spandex, which gives them that comfy stretch. If you’re worried about exposed elastics causing irritation, opt for styles with leg openings and waistbands lined in cotton (as is the case with most options on this list), so you get you can still enjoy a stretchy feel without the potential skin irritation. And if you absolutely must wear underwear made from any fabric other than cotton, Dr. Garshick recommends that it at least has a 100% cotton gusset.

Fit

Fit and style likely depends on personal preference. However, Dr. Garshick points out that whatever style you choose, whether it’s a full-coverage brief or a cheeky bikini cut, it’s important that it fits properly. Too loose, and you risk slippage and bunching; too tight, and you can create unnecessary friction that can irritate the skin.

Thongs have gotten a bad rap for promoting vaginal infections, like UTIs and yeast infections, but that theory has been roundly debunked. That said, Dr. Garshick suggests that it’s best to avoid thongs if your skin is very irritated, as they tend to create friction. (If you can’t live without your thongs, though, choose one that’s made from cotton and is free of irritating seams.)

Care

While choosing a cotton underwear with a comfortable fit is the most important consideration if you have sensitive skin, how you wash them is also important. Dr. Garshick suggests avoiding detergents with heavy fragrances, harsh chemicals, and dyes. But, Dr. Garshick warns, “a product that is unscented may still have a masking fragrance which can lead to irritation or sensitivity, so it is best to look for a product that is labeled fragrance-free.” In particular, she recommends all Free Clear, Tide Free & Gentle, and Arm & Hammer Free & Clear Sensitive Skin.

Whether you’re looking for a multi-pack of neutral hipsters or a pair of colorful boyshorts, keep scrolling for a list of the best underwear for sensitive skin.

1

This Wildly Popular Multi-Pack Of Bikini Briefs

Boasting over 83,000 five-star ratings, this six-pack of cotton bikini briefs from Amazon Essentials has a serious cult following. Offering moderate coverage, these panties are made from 95% cotton and 5% spandex for a comfy stretch that won’t irritate your skin. Breathable and lightweight, these panties also have a cotton gusset, and they’re tag-free for even less potential irritation. You can also opt for a pack of 10 in the same listing.

Helpful review: “I have incredibly sensitive skin, which means more often than not, it's cotton all the way. These have exceeded my expectations. They are comfortable, wash very well, and are a great fit. I highly recommend for anyone who has sensitive skin or simply prefers cotton.”

  • Available sizes: X-Small — 3X-Large
  • Available colors: 33

2

A Multi-Pack Of Highly Rated Hipsters

With over 24,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, this is another fan-favorite six-pack of underwear, this time in a hipster style for a bit more coverage than the briefs listed above. These undies are also made of 95% cotton and 5% spandex, have a cotton-lined crotch, and are tag-free. The elastic waistband and leg holes are lined with cotton, too.

Helpful review: “Very comfortable and breathable. Before I bought this brand, I tried several different brands to help with sensitive skin and irritation caused from heat in that area. This underwear has definitely made a difference, and is comfortable enough to wear at night and under fitted clothing without riding up or rolling down. Would highly recommend for any ladies who have sensitive skin and struggle with heat irritation.”

  • Available sizes: X-Small — XX-Large
  • Available colors: 18

3

A 10-Pack Of Plus-Size Briefs Made Of 100% Cotton

When comfort is your top priority, reach for these high-waisted, full-coverage briefs. Available in a pack of 10, this set has an underwear for every day of the week, and then some. The solids and patterns are made of 100% cotton, so they help wick away moisture to keep you cool and dry. The two heather styles in this pack are made of 75% cotton and 25% polyester.

Helpful review: “These are the most comfy panties I have purchased in a long time. Plenty of leg room with no binding or chafing. Waist band sits at my waist with no cheeks peeking out. I will be buying them again!”

  • Available sizes: 9 — 13
  • Available colors: 1 multi-colored pack

4

These Full-Coverage Briefs That Reviewers Call “The Most Comfortable Underwear Ever”

There’s nothing more annoying than having your underwear bunch, roll, or slip underneath your clothing, but you don’t have to worry about that with these ultra-smooth, high-waisted, full-coverage briefs, which boast almost 44,000 stellar ratings. The waistband (which hits just at the belly button) is double-lined for a subtle smoothing effect that offers light (but not tight) compression. They’re made of 95% soft combed cotton and 5% spandex with a cotton gusset and cotton-lined elastic leg holes, while flat seams prevent friction.

Helpful review: “I have ALWAYS HATED buying underwear. I am not and never have been easy to fit, and I am allergic to nylon so it has always been a struggle to find comfortable underpants that fit right. [...] They may not be 100% cotton, but feel like they are! They do have tags and seams, but feel like they don't! They do not ride up or down at the butt and legs! The waistband is wide, super soft, and sits right where I want it to! And even better: they come in a variety of pretty colors, are reasonably priced, and machine wash very nicely! They are simply PERFECT!!! I LOVE them!!!”

  • Available sizes: X-Small — 5X-Large
  • Available colors: 10

5

A Multi-Pack of Cotton Bikini Briefs With A Dipped Front

These bikini underwear have dipped fronts to ensure they stay hidden underneath low-rise pants. They’re made from 95% cotton and 5% elastane, and lined with cotton to prevent irritation. A double-lined cotton gusset helps keep moisture at bay, and a tag-free design means no itching or scratching.

Helpful review: “These are my favorite underwear for many reasons. They are cotton, breathable, and fit just right. I'm athletically built and these provide the perfect amount of coverage with them being still discrete enough to use underneath my leggings/athletic tights. My skin is also sensitive to fabrics with too many synthetic threads and these do not bother me at all.”

  • Available sizes: Small — XX-Large
  • Available colors: 1

6

These Mid-Rise Briefs With Retro-Inspired Contrast Piping

This five-pack of boxer-inspired mid-rise briefs with retro contrast piping are as soft as they are stretchy. Made from 95% combed cotton and 5% spandex with smooth, flat seams, this underwear features a cotton-lined elastic waistband and leg openings to minimize irritation, and the double-lined cotton gusset is extra-long for added protection. Choose from eight cute colors, from jewel tones to pastels.

Helpful review: “I've tried all the panties from all the stores. And for someone who deals with an autoimmune disease and heat sensitivity, these panties are the best! They help to keep my Body cool, they are extremely comfortable, and they're cute to Boot. Highly recommend.”

  • Available sizes: X-Small — 5X-Large
  • Available colors: 8

7

A Multi-Pack Of Classic Panties In A Range Of Styles & Sizes

Make underwear that digs and pinches a thing of the past with these super-soft briefs from classic underwear brand Fruit of the Loom. Made from 95% breathable cotton and 5% spandex, this underwear features a cotton-lined elastic waistband and leg openings, a tag-free design, and a 100% cotton gusset to promote vaginal health. The style linked above is the plus-size brief, but within the same listing, you’ll find two more styles to choose from — bikini and hipster — in straight sizes.

Helpful review: “The fit/cut on these is fantastic [...] The overall feel of the material is a nice 95% cotton blended with 5% spandex to give it some bit of stretch. Its perfect, soft, and it feels good [...] The comfort covered waistband and leg openings are a nice touch that feel great on sensitive skin, and being tag free is always a plus.”

  • Available sizes: 9 — 13
  • Available colors: 4

8

A Multi-Pack Of Soft Cotton Thongs With 50,000+ Positive Ratings

For those days when your outfit calls for a thong, look no further than this six-pack of breathable cotton ones, which tens of thousands of reviewers confirm are non-irritating on sensitive skin. These low-rise thongs are made of 95% cotton and 5% spandex and have breathable cotton gussets. Soft and lightweight, you’ll forget you’re wearing any underwear at all.

Helpful review: “Breathable is an understatement! I felt clean throughout the day regardless of the circumstances :).I love the fit.. no marks were left on my body after a full day.Ps. I am very sensitive to many fabrics and Materials but BAY-Be! She can wear these!”

  • Available sizes: Small — X-Large
  • Available colors: 7

9

These French Cut Panties In Pure Cotton

This 100% cotton underwear from Jockey is designed with a French cut, meaning it has a slightly higher-cut leg opening and the waistband sits just below the belly button, but it provides full coverage across the butt. Breathable and lightweight, this underwear is also made with lined elastic to minimize skin irritation.

Helpful review: “Perfect for me, I have tried many others but always go back to Jockey. I have VERY sensitive skin and need to avoid any sharp elastic, these are perfect.”

  • Available sizes: 5 — 11 Plus
  • Available colors: 23

10

Some Cotton Bikini Panties With Cute Cutouts

The perfect combination of soft and stretchy, these low-waisted bikinis with cutout accents at the waistbands are both pretty and practical. Made from 95% cotton and 5% spandex, this underwear stays securely in place without riding up while keeping potential skin irritations at bay. The cotton gusset helps keep you cool and dry. And those side cutouts aren’t just cute — they also allow for more air flow.

Helpful review: “I love string bikinis panties, but they are hard to find. And not only that, once I find them, they don't fit properly. Well, I took a change with these and OMG they sooooo comfortable. They don't squeeze or pinch or bind. The cotton is soft. There is a lot of give. No tightness anywhere. I will definitely be ordering more! I love them!!”

  • Available sizes: 5 — 10
  • Available colors: 2

Expert:

Marisa K. Garshick, M.D., board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology: Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery in New York City