Fact-Checked By : Dr. Tara Scott, OB-GYN
As a consumer, you have a responsibility to look out not only for your planet but also for yourself. Clothing is such a given in our everyday lives, that we may not even think about its effect on the Earth and our bodies. When it comes to environmentalism, unfortunately, the clothing industry as a whole is problematic. In fact, “the apparel industry accounts for 10 percent of global carbon emissions.” That’s why choosing clothing that’s sustainably made is so important for the environment
On a more personal level, you wear underwear every day, but have you thought about where it comes from, where it goes when you need a new pair, or whether it’s good for your body’s health? Your underwear is in constant contact with the most intimate parts of your body. It’s worth considering what your underwear is made of. Here are the pros and cons of polyester and other synthetic panties to consider next time you’re underwear shopping.
What Is Polyester?
You might think that polyester is a fabric because it’s commonly found in items you likely have in your closet, but polyester is actually a man-made polymer. Polyester gets manufactured by mixing ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid, which means rather than being a fabric, it’s a plastic. Polyester is cheaper and easier to make than materials like cotton and performs similarly. Due to its nature as a plastic (and the fact that petroleum is used to create it), polyester isn’t very eco-friendly.
You can’t compost polyester, and it isn’t biodegradable. This means that your garment will always exist, even if it’s sitting in a landfill in the future. If it does eventually break down, it turns into microplastics, which are very harmful to the world’s complex ecosystems, especially the ocean. Buying polyester is a purchase you can’t environmentally reverse.
Why Do Manufacturers Use Synthetic Fibers?
Synthetic fibers offer a lot of advantages to manufacturers that using natural textiles can’t offer at the same rate. Manufacturers choose to use synthetic fibers for a variety of reasons, including saving costs, increasing durability, and providing a lighter weight. Synthetic fibers, like polyester, can also be resistant to certain chemicals and even dye easier.
While these are advantages from a production standpoint, since synthetic fibers are made from fossil fuels, not only are they not eco-friendly, but they’re also not necessarily good for your body. Here’s why you should consider sticking to more natural materials.
What Are the Cons of Synthetic Fibers?
Even if you’re changing your underwear frequently, synthetic fibers could cause an allergic reaction, because of the chemicals involved in the production process. Irritation of the skin could ultimately lead to infections and can be caused by the unbreathable quality of the fabric which traps moisture between the skin and your panties creating a breeding ground for bacteria. Synthetic materials may also promote yeast growth. These are certain drawbacks of wearing synthetic undergarments or shapewear, but they can also cause harm to the planet because of their dependence on microplastics. Since microplastics don’t naturally break down in the environment, they wind up contributing to pollution in ways you may not think about when you’re purchasing or throwing away a pair of synthetic fabric underwear.
Why Should You Choose Underwear Made from Natural Fabrics?
There are a lot of benefits of natural fabric underwear, thanks to the fact that they don’t use chemical products or fossil fuels. In addition to being better for the environment, natural fabrics are also generally more comfortable and breathable while they’re being worn.
Our underwear is made from TENCEL™ Modal fibers. These fibers are sustainably harvested from Beechwood trees in Austria in coordination with forestry guidelines. As a result of using IONIC+™, we are able to offer a gentle product for
your skin that helps manage moisture and doesn’t promote the growth of bacteria. Our IONIC+™ releases positively charged ions, which “eliminates microbes on the surface of the product,” and results in anti-odor protection. Beyond just keeping your vulva and vagina healthier, you can rest assured that our panties won’t contribute to microplastic pollution, too!
If you’re currently wearing synthetic underwear, maybe it’s time to switch! Consider switching from polyester and synthetic undergarments to underwear made from natural materials, like TENCEL™l, cotton, or linen, and see how your body reacts. Not only will you be more comfortable, but you’ll also do your part in helping the planet.