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Cotton and Elastane women’s underpants a health risk?

Elastane, the wonder fabric, is very often used to give stretch to materials like cotton or synthetics:
the ‘stretch’ gives a good fit to garments, it’s lightweight, and has a soft feel.
It is very often mixed with cotton when made into form-fitting underwear.

I’m concerned to see how wide spread is its use in women’s panties which cling to the skin, are not breathable (cotton breathability is gone when mixed with elastane), trap heat and moisture, can lead to irritation and rashes, and could mean a higher risk of yeast infections.

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I would much rather have the old style cottontails!! They may not be pretty, but they are (or rather they used to be) very comfy and breathable. I did buy a couple of pairs a few years back and they were a massive disappointment. They didnt have elastane, but it was a combo of cotton and some synthetic crapola… not nice. Didnt replace them with more when they wore out

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Going ‘commando’ SueW? :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

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Going commando might seem a good idea but in fact underpants offer protection: a barrier against some bacteria, against chafing and irritation from clothing.
It is also a good idea for keeping clothes clean and dry.
All cotton would be best, but not very popular nowadays probably because
it bunches up under tighter articles of clothing.

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Good god no!!

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Probably because it costs more and manufacturers dont want to use it? I absulutely detest synthetic clothing. Its hot and uncomfortable and somebody decided thats what women want. I want all cotton or wool at a reasonable price. Cannot get it. GAAAHHH!!!

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You can still get “classic cottontail” full brief on the Bond website but only in “skintone”. That appears to be the only option in full cotton.

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When I went to the Stockland Shopping Centre this week, I saw that the premises vacated by Harris Scarfe is now occupied by Cotton On.

As it is a huge store, and going by their business name, I searched to see if thay had cotton briefs, which they do.

https://cottonon.com/AU/search/?q=cotton+briefs&lang=en_AU

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Yep, for sizes excluding mine. I am a very large woman.

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Thanks, Flutterby, I think I bought my last from Bond, but they stretched beyond redemption PDQ. Might give them another go.

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What about bamboo?

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Hi @Eleice, welcome to the community and for your first post.

Bamboo, may not be all that natural to what may indicate in the name. It is worth reading another thread in the community to understand that bamboo is often viscose/rayon, a semi-synthetic fabric where one of the primary ingredients is bamboo:

Looking online, it appears that most of bamboo underwear is bamboo viscose.

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Bamboo fabric sounds great, but unless the process to turn bamboo into a textile is the mechanical one (labour intensive and expensive), very harsh chemicals are used: sodium hydroxide, sulfuric acid, carbon disulphide, all harmful to air and water.

Bamboo thus turned into rayon doesn’t keep its shape well after washing, and is not very durable, especially in underwear. Often Spandex is added to increase shape and durability. In the end it is similar to other synthetic fibres.

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Yes, the source of the cellulose to make the rayon fibre has little to do with the nature of the manufacturing process and even less to do with the finished product. Whether you prefer one source for the cellulose or another is a different question that may be important for some.

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If you can afford it, change to bamboo underpants
Bamboo is very comfortable and seems to breathe - well my bamboo t-shirt and underwear does!

Cotton is an environmentally unfriendly crop. In Australia, a massive amount of irrigation water in the Murray-Darling basin goes to the cotton crop. But, I’m not sure of the environmental credentials of bamboo either…

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While growing bamboo might be, production of rayon/viscose is highly questionable. There is information in the linked thread in my previous post.

This a very general statement and does not apply to the whole of the cotton industry. It is also potentially also misleading. There is Australian cotton (and other cotton growining nations where) it is grown without irrigation (dryland) and/or also organically certified. Unfortunately cotton growing and production has been demonised by those with vested interest and use emotive examples to justify their claims…when the examples don’t represent the whole industry.

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It may have come from Bamboo but it is unlikely to now be Bamboo, indeed it could as easily be called rayon or viscose rayon. From Wikipedia:

“Modern clothing labeled as being made from bamboo is usually viscose rayon, a fiber made by dissolving the cellulose in the bamboo, and then extruding it to form fibres. This process removes the natural characteristics of bamboo fibre, rendering it identical to rayon from other cellulose sources.”

It can also be Modal or Lyocell fabric/textile, TENCEL™ is a company that also produces these fibres so sometimes you will see the fabric/textile branded as TENCEL™ Modal or TENCEL™ Lyocell if manufactured by them. It is a more closed loop system to produce these textiles but it is all related to rayon as the parent fabric just different chemicals are used in the processing of the cellulose.

The reality is that any other source of viscose, rayon, lyocell, or modal is going to feel the same, breathe the same , and look the same whether made from tree cellulose, Bamboo or any other cellulose source. Sometimes because of the nature of the feel it is called artificial silk, it can mimic cotton, linen, silk and wool.

@Gaby Underwear or garments made with Modal are typically longer lasting, Modal is made in such a way that the fibres are stronger than other rayons, they are also much stronger when wet than typical rayon fabrics. It also is happy to be tumble dried which most other rayons are not so enamored with :smile:

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Not only with cotton, but whatever the synthetic fabric being used is for women’s underpants it is also likely to be mixed with Elastane for that perfect fit under sportswear, leggings, stretch jeans and so on.

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I absolutely agree, I detest polyester. It’s like wearing a rain coat. Unfortunately I’m allergic to wool. It’s not easy finding clothing made from natural fibres.

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Polyester is a “plastic” made from petrochemicals (oil) so has no real ability to deal with moisture so will feel “wet”. Typically it is mixed with natural or semi synthetics (eg rayon) to help avoid wrinkles and keep shape better, the semi synthetic or natural fibres help keep the “wet” feel at bay. Depending on the ratio of polyester this “wet” feel can be less or more prominent.

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