Last Updated on May 12, 2023 by The Filtery
If you have sensitive skin, eczema, psoriasis, or a similar condition, the underwear you choose can make things worse. The materials used could potentially cause contact dermatitis, or other details like tags or elastic bands could also cause irritation, itching, and even full-blown rashes.
So if you or someone in your family has trouble finding non-toxic underwear that is truly comfortable and non-irritating, we’ve gathered up the best brands to choose from when looking for underwear for sensitive skin.
This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn commission if you decide to make a purchase.
Featured Image Credit: JulieMay
Our TOP PICKS for allergy-friendly underwear at a glance:
- Best for women: JulieMay
- Best for men: Cottonique (promo code below)
- Best for kids: Q for Quinn (specifically, the Pure Ryan Boxer Briefs and the Pure Erin Hipster Briefs, which are 100% cotton and completely undyed)
+ even more options below!
First of All: Why Does Your Underwear Irritate Your Skin?
If you’re still trying to find out why your underwear is bothering your skin, you might want to check out this article. There are actually various different reasons why your undies could be causing skin irritation, and it can be a frustrating process to figure out what exactly is causing the issue. (Or if it’s a combination of things!)
The good thing is that most of the brands below eliminate all or almost all of the potential irritants, so I hope this guide will help you solve the problem a lot faster!
What To Look For in Underwear for Sensitive Skin
Although you can technically be allergic to any kind of material, natural and organic fibers like cotton, hemp, and silk tend to be gentler on skin compared to synthetics like polyester or nylon.
Not only are there less (or no) synthetic chemicals used for natural fibers, but they’re also more breathable. This can help prevent irritation and chafing from sweat and decrease the risk of things like yeast infections.
TENCEL is also a good option to look for in underwear for sensitive skin. TENCEL is a semi-synthetic and it has a soft and silky feel to it. It’s silkier than cotton and hemp, but unlike actual silk, it’s vegan. TENCEL also really great at regulating temperature, which again could help with menopause, chafing from sweat, or just general discomfort from being too hot down there. Here is a more comprehensive list of TENCEL underwear brands.
2. Dyes & Treatments
A lot of times, we think about the base fabric materials without considering what’s actually added to those fibers… and there can be a lot of things added to them!
Dyes are one of the most common things to look out for in skin-friendly undies. It might be easiest to just forgo the dyes altogether and instead stick with wearing underwear that is completely unbleached and undyed. This simply eliminates the need to worry about at least one chemical category. Many of the brands below offer undyed underwear choices.
Other things to watch out for include “performance” features like “wrinkle-free,” “shrink-resistant,” or “stain-resistant.” This usually means the underwear has been treated with some sort of chemical… And a lot of times, it’s a toxic chemical that’s been added, like PFAS or formaldehyde.
Although third-party certifications are not perfect (*ehem THINX*), they can definitely help make sure your underwear has been verified to reach a certain level of safety. Certifications like Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and OEKO-TEX have rules and limits to the chemicals (or amounts of those chemicals) that can be allowed, including toxicants like azo dyes and heavy metals.
3. Elastics, Seams, & Tags
In addition to safe and healthy materials, you’ll also want to consider the other factors that may be irritating. Think about itchy tags or elastics that dig into your skin.
Everyone is going to have slightly different needs here, which is why we’ve provided several different options below. But in general, you’ll want to look for drawstring waistbands (which eliminate the need for elastic completely) or wrapped elastics (so that none of it actually touches your skin). Also look for flatlock seams at the waist and leg openings, which keep things from bunching up or digging into your skin. Tag-free undies can be very helpful as well!
All of these things combined should help decrease rashes, skin irritations, or flare-ups of your eczema, textile dermatitis, psoriasis, or similar condition.
What About Bamboo Underwear?
You may notice that none of the brands we’ve featured below are made with bamboo. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is that we haven’t actually been able to find any bamboo underwear that is both non-toxic and doesn’t include at least a certain amount of synthetic fabric in the composition.
The second reason is that although bamboo is often marketed as an eco-friendly fabric, the reality is not quite so straightforward. As explained in-depth in this article, bamboo fabric, despite being plant-based, actually has to go through an extremely intense manufacturing process, which often utilizes several different toxic chemicals. In fact, by U.S. law, bamboo fabrics can’t technically even be “organic” because they’ve been so heavily processed.
While it’s not clear if any of these chemicals are actually left in the final product, the chemicals do often get dumped into the air and waterways surrounding the manufacturing facilities. This is why when you do look for bamboo fabrics and other kinds of rayon, you’ll want to look for brands that use a closed-loop process (which means the chemicals don’t get dumped into the ecosystem). Additionally, you’ll want to look for brands like TENCEL that use a different, safer set of chemicals.
RELATED: The Best Bras for Sensitive Skin
These Are the Best Underwear Brands for Sensitive Skin in 2023
We have a lot of different non-toxic underwear brands on The Filtery, including the best organic underwear that’s made in the USA, the best organic boxers and briefs for men, and many more.
However, many of the brands in those articles still use a small amount of elastane for stretch, fit, and durability. For THIS article, however, we’ve prioritized the brands that have either eliminated synthetics completely or at least have a few options that are completely synthetic-free.
Most of the brands below also carry underwear that goes beyond the use of non-toxic dyes to also offer underwear that’s completely undyed. Our picks for the best allergy-friendly underwear also have lots of other sensitive skin details like flatlock seams, no tags, drawstrings and/or cotton-wrapped elastics, and more.
Okay, now let’s get to it! Here our our favorite underwear brands to shop from if you have sensitive skin:
Price Range: $25 (on sale) – $43
JulieMay is one of the absolute best places to find underwear for women with sensitive skin. Not only is their underwear super soft and comfortable, but they’re also feminine and sexy, so you can actually feel great wearing them.
They also offer a variety of bras and bralettes, including front-fastening, sports bras, and more. Sizes range from 32B – 42G.
JulieMay uses GOTS certified organic pima cotton and silk for their hypoallergenic underwear. There are no synthetics used at all. They have allergy-friendly elastics, which means no elastics touch your skin. Plus, they’re all tag-less, so you don’t have to worry about tags irritating your skin. JulieMay’s underwear is AllergyUK accredited, too.
They offer low-rise and high-rise briefs in a variety of styles and colors—bright red, lacy black, simple skin tones, and more. Sizes range from 8 to 18.
JulieMay also has various extra sustainable initiatives as well, from tree planting through Eden Reforestation, plastic recycling through Plastic Bank, carbon offsets through the UN, and more.
Shop JulieMay and use the code JULIEMAY for 10% off your first order.
Carries: Women’s, Men’s, Kids
Price Range: $23-$51
Cottonique’s entire brand is based on proving allergy-friendly underwear and clothing for folks with sensitive skin, contact dermatitis, eczema, and other skin conditions.
Their women’s underwear collection includes hypoallergenic thongs and full coverage briefs in several different styles. For men, they have loose boxer shorts, as well as boxer briefs and regular briefs. For kids, they have two options: a regular girls’ panty and a boys’ brief.
All of Cottonique’s underwear is made using 100% organic cotton. It’s all free from things like latex, synthetic fabrics, harsh dyes, and chemical treatments. Some of their underwear is completely undyed, while they also have some black, blue, and gray colors that use non-toxic dyes.
Additionally, some of their options have latex-free elastic, while others eliminate elastic completely by using a drawstring instead.
Shop Cottonique and use the code THEFILTERY10 for 10% off.
Carries: Women’s, Men’s
Price Range: $19 (on sale) – $38
Rawganique is another brand made for the most chemically sensitive folks in mind. They have latex-free and elastic-free options for adults, which are made primarily out of organic cotton, hemp, and linen.
For women, they have a wide range of styles and cuts, including classic bikinis, boyshorts, boxers, thongs, and more. For men, they offer boxer shorts, boxer briefs, and standard briefs.
Many of their garments are undyed, while others are colored with non-toxic and eco-friendly dyes. They offer options with elastic, drawstrings, or plastic-free tagua nut buttons!
While the majority of their hypoallergenic underwear options are free from synthetics, some of their undies do contain a small amount of elastane for stretch (so just make sure you double check the specific product details before buying).
Carries: Feminine briefs
Price Range: $36
Sustain has a small collection of simple feminine low-rise and high-rise full coverage panties. This underwear is another great option for preventing skin irritation because it’s completely synthetic-free. They’re made with 100% organic cotton (even the thread is certified organic!) and then lined with a layer of certified organic hemp at the curve to give it some moisture-wicking and anti-microbial properties. They use natural rubber for the elastic.
All of these panties are completely undyed, too. Instead of dyes, they use different colored cotton! They use white, brown, and green cotton to create solid-colored and striped undies without the use of any extra colorants or finishes.
5. Q for Quinn
Carries: Women’s, Kids
Price Range: $19 – $67 (3-pack)
Q for Quinn is another great option to consider while shopping for eczema-friendly underwear. For kids, they offer classic briefs, hipster briefs, and boxer briefs. Many of their kids’ options are made of 95% GOTS certified organic cotton + 5% spandex, but they do have a couple pairs (the Pure Ryan Boxer Briefs and the Pure Erin Hipster Briefs) that are made out of 100% cotton and are also completely undyed. These two choices are suitable for even the most sensitive skin.
In addition to being made with organic cotton and free from harsh chemicals, these undies also come with a covered waistband and flat seams throughout to accommodate seam-sensitive kids. Plus, they are tagless and wedgie-proof!
For women, they offer a classic “On-the-Go” bikini, which is great for everyday wearing, along with a Classic Brief, which has a higher waist. The Classic Brief is made out of 100% GOTS certified organic cotton, while the On-the-Go Bikini utilizes 5% elastane for stretch and fit. They are all made with azo-free dyes, but they do not have any completely dye-free options for adults.
As a bonus, Q for Quinn donates a school meal for every purchase you make.
Carries: Adults, Kids
Price Range: $22-$48
Oddobody’s underwear is made out of 100% organic cotton and is certified by GOTS and Fair Trade International. For adults, they have thongs, briefs, bikinis, french cuts, tangas, and a unisex woven boxer. And for kids, they have bikinis, briefs, and shorts.
They also offer a “first pair guarantee,” which allows you to get an exchange or refund if you try out the undies and don’t like them.
7. Hanna Andersson
Price Range: $10 (on sale) – $54 (7-pack)
Although Hanna Andersson does not have any undies that are completely unbleached/undyed, all of their underwear for girls and boys are made out of 100% GOTS certified organic cotton and is certified by OEKO-TEX. This means they’re free from harsh chemicals like azo dyes, formaldehyde, heavy metals, and more. (Note that their training underwear does have a layer of polyester in the middle for absorption.)
They use elastic for the waistband, but it is full wrapped in organic cotton so it doesn’t touch the skin. Plus, they’re made with smooth flatlock seams at the waist and leg openings to prevent them from digging into your child’s body and causing skin irritation.
Perhaps the best part about Hanna Andersson’s underwear for kids with sensitive skin is the sheer number of fun options they have… Pokémon, Disney characters, Star Wars, Sesame Street, rainbows, dinosaurs, race cars, and more. They also come in a variety of cuts, from hipster to classic briefs, and more.
Carries: Women’s, Men’s
Price Range: $20 (on sale) – $65 (3-pack)
Here’s another brand that has plastic-free underwear options made from breathable fabrics like certified organic cotton and hemp. (A few of their styles do use some elastane, though, so just make sure to check.) They offer thongs, briefs, boxer briefs, and boxers that are available in several different colors (although, none of them are completely unbleached/undyed).
Afends also has ethical and sustainable initiatives woven throughout their business as well, including careful fabric sourcing and supply chain transparency, environmental advocacy, and more.
9. Industry of All Nations
Price Range: $25 – $65 (3-pack)
Industry of All Nations offers men’s organic cotton boxers that are either undyed or colored (by hand!) with natural fermented indigo dye. They offer a few options with recycled elastic bands along with one option that uses a drawstring and river shell button.
Not only do they use 100% cotton that’s free of pesticides and GMOs for their boxers, but they also use only natural and plant-based dyes (if they use any at all) and are committed to a truly ethical supply chain. Their Clean Clothes Project is a “pursuit of a clean and fair production loop, with people at its core.”
Carries: Women’s, Men’s
Price Range: $11-$30
AYA doesn’t have a ton of options, but they do have a small collection of adult underwear that is completely plastic-free and made with 100% GOTS certified organic cotton. The elastic waistband is made out of natural tree rubber wrapped in cotton. For the finish, they use an OEKO-TEX certified silicone treatment, which provides more durability and anti-pilling features without harsh chemical treatments.
For the dyes, you have some options. The boxer briefs, you can choose between several different low-impact dye colors (which are synthetic, but still GOTS certified) or 100% plant dyes (which are all-natural). The women’s underwear offers these same options, but they also have completely undyed panties as well.
Price Range: $10 (on sale) – $100 (4-pack)
Although TomboyX’s underwear is not 100% organic, they get an honorable mention from us because of their truly inclusive options. Their sizes go up to 6X, and they have a lot of different gender-neutral styles to choose from, including thongs, full coverage briefs, boy shorts, trunks, and more. They also offer a wide range of colors, from your basic black/white/skin tones to playful and colorful patterns.
The two primary types of fabric they use is (conventional) cotton and TENCEL. TENCEL is a plant-based semi-synthetic fabric that is very soft and silky, making it a great option for sensitive skin. Plus, they’re made with flatlock seams to prevent irritation and chafing.
Be aware that they do use small amounts of spandex in most of their pieces (usually 5%), but all of the fabrics are OEKO-TEX certified. This means they’re free from a list of toxic chemicals, such as azo dyes.
I hope this guide has helped you find YOUR ideal choice of non-toxic underwear that is gentle, comfortable, non-irritating for your sensitive skin.
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