Cotton will keep things dry and cool, but you also need underwear that fits properly. Underwear that is too tight can cause chafing and openings in the skin allow bacteria to enter. Finding a breathable pair of undies that fit you well works best since they expand and contract with your skin and movements. Avoiding underwear that’s too tight goes double for bras, too.
It can be hard to know if you’re wearing the wrong size, but your bra will give you a few hints that things are a bit off. First of all, it’ll be digging into your skin. As Heather Downes, MD, board-certified dermatologist, warned Healthline, “When tight clothing rubs the skin, it can cause excess sweating as well as irritation and inflammation of hair follicles. Not only that, bacteria and/or fungus on the surface of the skin can more easily penetrate into these hair follicles, causing infection.”
You’ll also notice that you must constantly adjust things to keep them fitting right and in place. An ill-fitting bra can cause pain in the breasts, nipples, back, and neck, and dig into the shoulders, per WebMD. Downs also advised Healthline, “What I see […] in my practice are tight bra straps that rub on benign skin lesions such as seborrheic keratoses and moles. These lesions can then swell or bleed and can feel painful.” Making sure your underwear fits properly will save you a lot of discomfort.