After wearing pants all day, you probably can’t wait to come home, unbutton those suffocating bad boys, shimmy ’em down to your ankles, and send them flying into the laundry basket. Go ahead, we’ll wait. As is the case with taking off a bra, it can feel like heaven in those first few moments of pantslessness. It’s kind of like yanking loose those too-tightly tucked hotel bed sheets, finally finding a rest stop after holding it in for a seemingly never-ending drive, or flipping on the lights after watching a horror film. You know it; we know it. It’s that coveted feeling of relief. Liberation, some (we) might say.
But ditching pants doesn’t just offer you respite from discomfort after a long day. It can also have some serious health benefits. Whether you’re considering switching to skirts and dresses from now on or you’re just feeling like having a lazy, pants-free weekend at home, read on to learn about what exactly happens to your body when you stop wearing pants.
You’ll prevent against yeast infections when you stop wearing pants
Have you ever heard that you should "let it breathe" down there? That’s because tight-fitting pants and other types of form-fitting clothing, like pantyhose, tights, and leggings, can keep the vaginal area warm and moist, according to Everyday Health, which is basically a breeding ground for fungus. A yeast infection, also known as vaginal candidiasis, is caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It can make your vagina and vulva itch and also induce irregular discharge, according to WebMD.
These infections are not uncommon, but you can make yourself even more prone to them by wearing tight pants, according to WebMD. This is especially true if the pants you’re wearing don’t allow air to pass through, like ones made of synthetic materials (think: nylon and rayon). Although cotton is your best option, watch out for skinny jeans as they aren’t particularly breathable. Your best bet? Skip the pants.
Bacterial infections will be kept at bay when you stop wearing pants
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can occur in any part of your urinary system, like your kidneys, bladder, ureters, or urethra. Such infections are usually characterized by dark, cloudy and strong-smelling urine, an intense urge to urinate (perhaps more frequently than usual), and a burning sensation when you do, according to WebMD. They’re fairly common, but they can be extremely painful and, in some cases, require hospitalization.
That said, you can help prevent getting these kinds of bacterial infections by forgoing synthetic or tight pants. Although tight clothing cannot cause you to develop a UTI, they "may give you a higher propensity for a UTI," Blake Selby, pediatric nurse practitioner, told California’s Children’s Hospital of Orange County.
As such, choosing not to wear pants is indeed a fine idea for the same reason that sleeping in the buff is widely recommended. Nicole Prause, an associate research scientist at the University of California Los Angeles, told Medical Daily, "Sleeping naked would reduce the ability of those (always-present) bacteria to overwhelm the normal healthy vaginal flora."
You’ll prevent unpleasant odors when you stop wearing pants
Want to smell fresher and cleaner? Consider forgoing the pants — particularly the tight ones, e.g. yoga pants. That’s right: Tight-fitting pants can actually trap fluids and icky substances — sweat, dead skin, discharge, etc. — around your vaginal area. These can all build up an odor that smells less than pleasant, according to Medical News Daily. Synthetic fabrics like polyester make workout pants so stretchy, sweat-wicking, and comfortable, but it might also be the culprit of that odor you’re experiencing.
Don’t feel embarrassed, though. You’re not the only one with vaginal odor. There’s a whole Reddit thread dedicated to that "funky crotch smell." Professor Rachel McQueen of the University of Alberta, who studies textile development and the ways in which textiles retain smell, told Refinery29, "In focus-group interviews, women have said that’s a place where smell in clothing is particularly bad." What’s one surefire way to get rid of a smell caused by pants that trap fluids and substances? You guessed it: Stop wearing pants.
You might see yourself differently when you stop wearing pants
Putting on a professional outfit like a dress or a skirt suit as opposed to your everyday t-shirt and jeans can help you to feel and, therefore, behave in a more professional manner. That’s because what you wear can actually have an impact on your perception, according to a study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. The clothing we wear "influences cognition broadly, impacting the processing style that changes how objects, people, and events are construed," the researchers revealed. According to the study, people who wear formal clothes perceive themselves as more "competent and rational" than those who wear casual clothes.
Formal clothing not only influences the way you see yourself, however. It also impacts the way that others perceive you, according to the research. The study found that formal clothing may be linked to positive affectivity, which is essentially defined by how much you experience positive affects. This means that the more you choose a formal dress over a pair of pants, the more you may positively interact with others and your surroundings.
You decrease your risk of skin irritations when you stop wearing pants
Pants can be extremely uncomfortable. They can lead to vaginal pain like vulvodynia, a condition categorized by chronic pain in the external genital area, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Pants can also lead to a whole host of other painful skin irritations, according to Cosmopolitan. Some skin irritations include rashes and folliculitis, which is inflammation of the hair follicles. Josh Zeichner, a dermatologist and the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology, told the publication that leggings, skinny jeans, jeans with a button clasp, and restrictive clothing can all be irritating.
These irritations can easily be mistaken for an infection, too, according to Self. "Tight pants rubbing and putting pressure [on the vulva] can cause irritation," Tami Rowen, an ob/gyn at UCSF Medical Center, explained. "I’ll do a biopsy, and it comes down to that something is irritating the skin tissue. The biopsy shows inflammation that just shouldn’t be there."
Lest you thought washing your pants more regularly would help, the fragrances in the laundry detergent you use can even trigger contact dermatitis, an itchy, red rash, according to Healthline. So maybe just skip the pants.
Your circulation may improve when you stop wearing pants
Ever put a hairband around your wrist or squeeze a small ring onto your finger? You might notice a bluish tint to your skin because you’re cutting off your blood circulation — and the same can happen to your body when you squeeze into pants that are simply too tight.
Cutting off your circulation can be very serious, according to a study of one "fashion victim" published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry. The researchers looked at the case of one woman who was hospitalized after experiencing "bilateral foot drop," numbness in her feet, and weakness in her ankles as a result of cleaning her cupboards while wearing skinny jeans.
John Michael Li, a neurologist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, told CBS Miami that skinny jeans can lead to nerve compression, which can lead to "Meralgia Paresthetica" (compression of a nerve that runs from your stomach to your thigh). This, in turn, can cause numbness and tingling. Yes, tight pants can cause a whole host of issues, as there’s story after story of women who’ve been hospitalized after donning a pair.
Your stomach and insides won’t be squished when you stop wearing pants
If you’ve ever worn tight pants out to dinner (or around the holidays!) and felt like you were squishing your insides, that’s kind of because you were. Yes, unfortunately, some ill-fitted pants can actually make you physically sick by pressing into your stomach organs, according to Everyday Health.
This pressure on your stomach is known as intragastric pressure or intra-abdominal pressure. It can precipitate acid reflux, which essentially pushes acid in your stomach back up through your lower esophageal junction. The result can be stomach pain, digestive issues, and some really horrible heartburn, the publication reported.
Tight clothing that pushes into the abdomen can be especially taxing on your body if you overeat, Jamie Koufman, a New York City-based reflux specialist and author of Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook and Cure, told Everyday Health. This is because bigger and fattier meals can increase your risk of reflux. Flowy items like dresses and skirts are way comfier, anyway.
You won’t be at risk for TPS when you stop wearing pants
Discharge is totally normal, folks. Simply put: If you have a vagina, you have discharge. That said, some kinds of discharge are not healthy — and it’s usually easy to tell that something is up if the color and/or odor of your discharge changes. Tight Pants Syndrome (TPS) — a term reportedly coined by nurse practitioner Lisa Stern — can cause unhealthy changes to your discharge.
One of the common symptoms of TPS is vaginal discharge, which Stern explained is "usually white, sometimes yellow, generally thick" (via Glamour). Stern added that patients tend to mistake TPS for anything from STDs to rashes to yeast infections. But tight pants seldom take the blame, she said, "probably because they’re cute." Bear in mind though that your discharge can change without cause for concern; you may just be ovulating, aroused, menstruating, breastfeeding, pregnant, etc., according to WebMD. Still, skipping the whole pant ordeal can help you rule out TPS.
You may itch less when you stop wearing pants
We’ll go out on a limb here and say nobody wants an itchy vagina. For one, it’s uncomfortable. For two, scratching your lady bits in public is, well, awkward and, you know, inappropriate. Lisa Stern, a nurse practitioner who specializes in women’s health, revealed that Tight Pants Syndrome (TPS) can lead to some serious itching of the nether regions (via Glamour). "The suffering of sad, tightly-clothed vaginas needs to be brought to light," she said. "[Among] the most common symptoms of TPS are … vaginal itching, and sometimes perineal or perianal (sorry, had to say it) itching."
If you’re experiencing this kind of itchiness, your uncomfortably tight pants could very well be the culprit. Remember though that vaginal itching can have other causes — ones that have little to nothing to do with the pants you choose to wear. Think: irritants like soaps and detergents, menopause, skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, yeast infections, and more, according to Healthline. If you think your pants may be to blame, though, there’s no harm in trading in your trousers for skirts.
Any acne on your legs may clear up when you stop wearing pants
Ditching your pants could help clear your skin, according to an Insider interview with dermatologist Dr. Lauren Ploch. That’s because tight pants, like yoga pants for example, can clog your sweat glands, rendering them unable to properly drain. This can ultimately cause leg and butt acne (as well as skin conditions like rashes and fungal infections). This acne isn’t quite the same as breakouts on your face.
"Butt acne is not truly acne — it is, in fact, most often due to inflammation around hair follicles known as folliculitis, or an irritation secondary to chronic rubbing, which can come with wearing tight-fitting clothes or even waxing," Shereene Idriss, a board-certified dermatologist at the Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City, told Allure.
Your risk of developing leg or butt pimples is even greater if you tend to wear your athleisure pants all day long, from yoga to brunch to bed. This is simply because restricting your skin in tight fabric for long periods of time will only exacerbate those health concerns, Ploch told Insider. Stop wearing them and your acne may just clear up.
You may experience a boost in body positivity when you stop wearing pants
A wealth of research suggests that being naked is great for boosting body positivity, so ditching your pants may just kick up your confidence. According to a study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, "more participation in naturist activities predicted greater life satisfaction — a relationship that was mediated by more positive body image, and higher self-esteem."
Another similar study published in the Journal of Evolutionary Psychology found that even just brief exposure to heavier bodies increased participants’ preference for heavier-looking people. And another study published in Psychiatry Research found that women reported more positive body image after participating in a "life drawing" session in which they were tasked with drawing the human figure by observing nude models. The point is that seeing your own body and other bodies more is largely linked to a more positive body image. The more skin you show in a dress or skirt may just up your ego.
You’ll get better sleep when you stop wearing pants
A burgeoning body of research demonstrates that sleeping without pants and in the nude is just plain good for you. You’ll fall asleep faster and get better quality sleep, which, of course, can improve your health altogether, according to Healthline. Allow us to explain.
Taking off your sleep shirt and pants helps you cool down, thus regulating your body temperature, which is part of your circadian rhythm (your "body clock"). That is one key to how fast you fall asleep. Likewise, the temperature of the room affects how well you sleep, according to a study conducted by researchers in Japan. A cooler room can improve your sleep, and hitting the hay without pants can help you keep cool.
What’s more: Better sleep improves pretty much everything in your life. You’ll be able to concentrate longer and be more productive; good sleep is even linked to healthy weight loss and a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and much more, according to Healthline.
Your immune system may improve when you stop wearing pants
Let your legs see the sun! Sure, too much sun isn’t good for anyone (ahem, skin cancer). But a little vitamin D is really good for you, according to a study published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine. "Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection," according to the researchers. This means that making sure you get adequate Vitamin D can improve your immune system.
While only a small number of foods contain significant amounts of Vitamin D, according to Healthline, one simple way to get it is to ditch those pants and let your legs get some sunlight. When you expose your skin to sunlight, it makes vitamin D from cholesterol, the publication explained. That’s because those ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun interact with the cholesterol in your skin cells, which then energizes vitamin D synthesis.
Many studies suggest that your body is most efficient at making Vitamin D around midday, according to Healthline. So if you’re only going to go without pants for part of the day, make it at noon.
Could your heart health improve when you stop wearing pants?
Exchanging pants for skirts or dresses that expose more skin to the sunlight may have a host of heart-healthy benefits thanks to vitamin D. Research published in the International Journal of Molecular Science suggests that taking vitamin D can help to lower high blood pressure.
Another study revealed that having low levels of vitamin D can increase your risk of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes while a separate report by Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases suggests that low levels of vitamin D can lead to a higher risk of strokes. If there’s already been damage done to your heart, Vitamin D-3 seems to be able to help reverse that damage, according to Medical News Daily.
Dr. Sheldon Sheps of the Mayo Clinic revealed in January 2020 that "it’s too early to say whether a lack of vitamin D causes high blood pressure, or whether vitamin D supplements may have any role in the treatment of high blood pressure," but he considers vitamin D to be "an important nutrient for overall good health." And one easy, peasy way to up your intake is by peeling off those pants and letting your legs see the sun.