In the realm of personal hygiene, an age-old question has left many pondering the perfect balance between cleanliness and convenience. How often should you change your underwear? While tradition may dictate daily swaps, experts now suggest that men could, in some situations, embrace a more relaxed approach, changing their undergarments every other day.

Dr. Anju Methil, a reputable dermatologist affiliated with India-based ClinicSpots, has ventured into the great underwear debate, offering a perspective that challenges conventional wisdom. “In situations marked by minimal activity and a distinct lack of sweating, changing underwear every other day may be acceptable,” Dr. Methil opined in an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail. For men, particularly those favoring looser-fitting styles such as boxers, this may indeed be a game-changer.

However, before you commit to this newfound liberation from daily underwear changes, it’s essential to understand the reasoning behind this advice. Several skincare experts, including Dr. Methil, have united in their mission to prevent bacterial or yeast infections stemming from underwear negligence.

A Newsweek poll conducted in June, encompassing 1,500 adults, revealed that 47% of respondents would never entertain the idea of wearing the same underwear for more than a day. Yet, it is the younger generation, Gen Z, who have raised eyebrows by admitting to occasionally donning the same underwear for a staggering 24 hours or more—marking the longest duration among all age groups surveyed.

The consequences of such negligence extend beyond mere discomfort. Sarah Roberts, a licensed skincare specialist and the mastermind behind A Beauty Edit, warns against the perils of re-wearing underwear without a thorough wash. Skin irritation, rashes, and the exacerbation of pre-existing conditions like eczema or psoriasis lurk in the shadows, fueled by the friction and trapped moisture characteristic of prolonged underwear use.

For women, the stakes are even higher. Neglecting to change underwear frequently enough could lead to dreaded yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. Vaginal yeast infections, triggered by an overgrowth of candida fungus, present with symptoms such as burning, itching, pain, and unusual discharge. On the other hand, bacterial vaginosis, a close cousin of yeast infections, arrives with a distinct fishy odor and yellow or gray discharge, arising from an imbalance in the natural bacteria levels within the vagina.

Dr. Archit Aggarwal, another esteemed dermatologist at ClinicSpots, offers a word of caution for women experiencing heavy menstrual cycles or significant vaginal discharge—changing underwear more than once a day may be the secret to preventing these troublesome infections from taking hold.

But don’t think that men are entirely immune to the consequences of underwear negligence. Even the male counterparts, sporting boxers that touch the skin less frequently than women’s underwear, are not entirely exempt from these hazards, especially when repeated wear without a change is involved, as Roberts underscores.

So, how often should you change your underwear? The answer is not one-size-fits-all. It largely depends on your level of physical activity and the climate you find yourself in. Dr. Hannah Kopelman, a distinguished dermatologist hailing from New Jersey, offers her perspective: “For those engaged in intense physical activities or battling the relentless sweat of hot and humid climates, changing underwear more frequently is advisable.”

In the grand scheme of things, the underwear debate continues to evolve, challenging established norms and offering a fresh perspective on personal hygiene. Whether you choose to adhere to the age-old daily ritual or embrace the occasional break with every other day, remember that the key to maintaining good hygiene ultimately lies in understanding your own body’s needs.

As we navigate this brave new world of underwear choices, one thing remains certain—cleanliness, and comfort should always take precedence. So, go forth with confidence, armed with the knowledge that experts have weighed in on the matter, leaving you better equipped to make an informed decision about your daily routine.