Is Polyester Underwear Bad for You? The Pros and Cons?

(Source: EmirMomodovski/Canva)

There have been a lot of talks lately about the health risks associated with wearing polyester underwear. Some say it can cause you to sweat more, leading to bacteria growth and skin irritation. Others argue that polyester is perfectly safe and there is no need to avoid it.

So, is polyester underwear bad for you? Yes, it is not the best choice because it is non-breathable and most often irritable. However, there are certain situations where it can be a good choice.

polyester underwear

So, what is the truth? Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of polyester underwear to find out!

Is Polyester Underwear Bad for You?

Choosing sports underwear. Credit: canva

The answer is YES because it is non-breathable and can irritate your skin.


For one, it’s not as breathable as other types of underwear. This can increase sweating and heat stress, which can be unpleasant.

Additionally, increased sweating can lead to bacteria growth, skin irritation, and infections, which can be uncomfortable and even painful.

Skin Irritation

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Another big downside is that it can irritate your skin. This is because it does not allow air to circulate freely on your skin, so there is a higher risk of rashes and other skin problems such as eczema and dermatitis.

Why Do People Use Polyester Underwear?

polyester wet
Water-repellent. Credit: canva

While polyester may not be the best choice for everyone, there are certain situations where it can be a good choice.

Water-Repellent and Water-Resistant

Polyester also has some unique properties that make it a better choice for some people. This allows athletes to stay calm and dry even in the most intense situations.

Because of its water-repellent and water-resistant properties, it’s often used in activewear and athletic clothing.

Tighter-Fit and Smoother Look

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Another reason people choose polyester is that it is often a tighter and smoother fit. This can be attractive for those who want to wear form-fitting clothing or underwear that looks smooth under tight pants or skirts.

This tighter fit means the material is not moving around while on your body.  This is ideal for high-intensity sports like running, cross fit, football, and skateboarding.

Pros and Cons


  • Lightweight: It is a lightweight material that allows for easy movement.
  • Durable: Because it does not stretch out, it can last longer than other types.
  • Wicking properties: It is designed to wick moisture away from the skin and keep you feeling dry and comfortable all day.
  • Dries quickly: The fabric is a quick-drying material, making it ideal for athletes or those in hot climates.


  • Non-breathable: The fabric does not allow air to circulate freely on your skin, so there is a higher risk of rashes and other skin problems.
  • Poor comfort: Although it may be smooth and form-fitting, It is not always comfortable against the skin and can be itchy or irritating in some cases.
  • High chemical content: This fabric often contains harsh chemicals that can harm your health.
  • Not eco-friendly: The fabric is not biodegradable and is made with non-renewable resources, making it a less environmentally friendly choice.

So, as you can see, while polyester underwear may have some benefits, there are also some potential downsides to consider. Whether or not you choose polyester depends on your personal preferences and lifestyle needs.

Credit: canva


Polyester is a synthetic, manmade fabric with a variety of uses. It is most commonly used to make clothing, particularly underwear and athletic apparel, that needs to be both lightweight and durable.

It is made from a combination of polymers (long chains of molecules) such as terephthalate or adipic acid. These are combined in a process known as polymerization, which forms a synthetic fabric that is strong and non-stretching.


Is it OK to wear synthetic underwear?

It is not the best for your health, as it does not allow your skin to breathe.

However, if you wear it, ensure you wash it regularly and dry it in the sun. Sunning your undies will help kill any bacteria or fungus living in them.

Does polyester underwear make you smell?

No scientific evidence supports the claim that polyester undies make you smell. Some people may notice a slightly different smell if they wear synthetic fabrics for extended periods, but the fabric itself does not cause this.

The smell is likely due to sweat and bacteria accumulating on the skin, which can happen. It’s essential to wash your undies regularly to keep them smelling fresh.

What fabric is healthiest for underwear?

Cotton is a natural fiber that allows your skin to breathe. However, some people find that cotton can be rough on their skin, so they might prefer something like bamboo fabric, which is also breathable but softer.

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