When You Wear Leggings Every Day, This Is What Happens To Your Body

You can wear leggings at the gym or as a fashion statement, should you so desire. You may even don this versatile piece from the yoga studio straight to Sunday brunch. Yes, leggings can be both comfy and cute. Even high-fashion women agree. Vogue market editor Alexandra Gurvitch put it this way: "If I could wear one thing for the rest of my life, it would be leggings."

Vogue's senior fashion news writer Brooke Bobb feels similarly. "There is something comforting about them, at least for me, and, yes, they do make me feel good about my body when I slip them on," she opined. "Women should absolutely be free to wear any kind of pant they want."

It's true that leggings can both feel and look great, but wearing them on a regular basis could affect your health — in both good and bad ways. How? We're glad you asked. Here's exactly what happens to your body when you stick to wearing only leggings every day.

You may develop a fungal infection if you wear leggings during everyday workouts

According to dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, people are more susceptible to ringworm if they sweat while wearing tight exercise clothing, like leggings. Ringworm sounds terrifying, but before you toss out all your leggings, know that ringworm doesn't involve an actual worm like the name suggests. Rather, it's a fungal infection, the expert explained to The Healthy.

Working out in leggings every day also increases your risk for another fungal infection: jock itch. The publication explained that although it's often thought of as a condition that affects men, women aren't immune to it. Jock itch tends to strike in athletes and overweight people and thrives in "sweaty, moist environments," which leggings can create. Of course, it also depends on how much you sweat and what materials your leggings are made of. 

The Healthy suggests changing out of your leggings and showering after working out or after being outside in the heat. However, if you're feeling fine down there and you wear leggings most every day, then keep doing you. "Some women can walk around in wet workout clothes all day and have no problem," obstetrician-gynecologist Alyssa Dweck told Health. Keep calm and carry on in your leggings.

Wearing leggings every day can cause pesky mystery bumps

If you wear leggings every day and work out pretty regularly, you may have noticed red bumps around your lady parts. But don't be alarmed, Health advised. Sometimes these bumps pop up when hair follicles are "clogged or infected." Known as folliculitis, this is a very common skin condition. Wearing tight, sweaty leggings isn't the only thing that makes you more prone to folliculitis, though. Waxing and shaving can also cause these pesky bumps.

However, these bumps can be mistaken for other conditions, like contact dermatitis or herpes, Roshini Raj, assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine, wrote in Health. As such, it's important to find the root cause of the issue and remedy it. "If you're seeing a small lump near the vaginal opening, it could also be a cyst," the expert explained. If you're a regular leggings wearer and have started developing bumps, check with your doctor. It could very well be folliculitis.

Wearing leggings every day can cause butt acne

If you wear leggings every day, you may also be more susceptible to the ever-uncomfortable butt acne. No one likes these painful pimples on their rear, but according to The Cut, ridding yourself of "buttne" could be as simple as skipping your fave leggings for a short time and opting for loose-fitting clothes. 

Leggings can be quite the controversial subject when it comes to women's skin health. Some doctors feel athleisure wear, including yoga pants and leggings, are okay for everyday wear while others disagree. Dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi falls in the latter group. She told The Cut that she's noticed a rise in butt acne cases, which could be a result of legging's popularity. "People tell me, 'I'm always in my yoga pants.' And I'm like, that's not meant for every day!" Tanzi explained. New York-based dermatologist added, "Sweat that sits on the body for extended periods of time leads to the overgrowth of bacteria that can exacerbate acne." Ditch the everyday leggings and you may just ditch the buttne.

Wearing leggings every day may not affect your vaginal health as much as you think

Just because you wear leggings every day doesn't mean you'll automatically develop a vaginal infection, obstetrician-gynecologist Jen Gunter told the New York Post. "Wearing tight clothes cannot change your vaginal microenvironment ... that's just not physiologically possible," she explained. "Yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis are due to your normal, healthy bacteria not keeping yeast or other bacteria under control." Well, that's a relief!

However, if you're always wearing leggings or are prone to vaginal infections — maybe because you're pregnant, diabetic, or taking antibiotics — you may want to check the material of your leggings. Marsha K. Guess, assistant professor at Yale University's Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science, explained to the publication that "synthetic materials," like polyester, can be problematic.

When speaking with Health, ob-gyn Alyssa Dweck advised wearing leggings made out of moisture-wicking and breathable materials to prevent sweat from building up.

Wearing breathable leggings every day may prevent excessive moisture from building up

Many of us love our leggings, but not necessarily the sweaty feeling that sometimes comes with wearing them. If you get sweaty down there, it could be time to switch to moisture-wicking leggings. Be mindful, however, that just because an athleisure brand promotes its leggings as such doesn't mean they do the trick. The Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab put several sweat-wicking leggings to the test based on fabric, construction, and a sweat test. Its findings concluded that not all leggings claiming to be "moisture-wicking" actually are

Good Housekeeping thus suggested doing your own sweat test at home. Before slipping into the leggings, drop a small amount of water on the inside of the material and, if it's truly moisture-wicking, it should absorb fast and spread out. Cotton can be a great material, but you may not enjoy working out in cotton leggings. Though breathable, cotton is "non-wicking" and essentially keeps in the moisture, while nylon and spandex work to keep you dry, Bustle explained.

Wearing leggings every day can cause chafing

Chafing can be downright annoying or even painful. It generally occurs as a result of friction from skin or clothing, according to Healthline. At its worst, chafing can lead to rashes and welts. No one wants that! Dermatologist Joshua Zeichner revealed to The Healthy that leggings — or any other tight clothing for that matter — can exacerbate chafing. The best way to lessen your chances of chafing is by removing the "offending" agents from your daily life, the expert continued. What does that mean? You might want to hang up your leggings, for a short time at least, and lather on some moisturizer to help aid your skin in repairing itself. 

However, according to the New York Post, leggings aren't solely responsible for chafing. "[Athletes] can get chafing. But that's not just from the garments. It's a combination of the repetitive actions every day that are also contributing to the friction," obstetrician-gynecologist Jen Gunter told the publication. "I would worry more about people's clothes being so tight that they're uncomfortable."

You may experience itchiness if you wear leggings every day

Your leggings may just be what's causing you to itch and scratch on the daily. If you rule out dry skin as the cause of the itch, you could simply be sensitive to certain synthetic fibers, according to Women's Healthwhich are commonly used in leggings. The next time you shop for a pair or two of leggings, know that while the look and feel of your leggings are important, so are the materials from which they're made, as explained by Shape.

Some of the best workout leggings are those made out of fabrics like bamboo, cotton, or even wool, according to Women's Health. Bamboo is "non-irritating" and "hypoallergenic." If you love nylon, you'll be happy to know you don't have to give it up. Shape revealed that nylon, although synthetic, "allows cool air to reach the skin and also wicks sweat from your skin to the fabric's surface, where it can evaporate." Isabelle de la Fontaine, product director of the since-shuttered Lucy's, told Shape that nylon "can stand up to even the sweatiest of workouts." Experiment with your leggings; try different materials and find what works best for your skin.

Wearing compression leggings every day can boost blood circulation

Compression leggings quickly become a new mom's best friend. Not only are they cute and comfy, but they also provide "core stability" and "shaping," especially if they have a control-top, according to Parenting. Compression leggings are also just as heavenly for pregnant women. They've been known to help with blood circulation as well as lower one's risk of developing blood clots that may result in deep vein thrombosis, according to Health Guideline.

It's not just expecting and new moms who get the perks of these leggings, though. All women can experience the benefits, Cosmopolitan revealed. Depending on the type of compression leggings you choose, you may feel a "gentle pressure" all over or in a targeted area, which helps promote blood flow and lessens inflammation and pain. But be mindful when shopping for compression leggings, Good Housekeeping advised. Since the term "compression leggings" isn't regulated, any brand can promote its leggings as compression when that's not the case. 

Can wearing leggings every day cause you to gain weight?

Can wearing leggings every day cause you to pack on the pounds? Although we wish the science was crystal clear, the answer to that question really depends on who you ask. Physiotherapist Sammy Margo told the Daily Mail that while leggings generally "feel good" and "look great," there's a "downside."

If you wear tight leggings all the time, your body may come to rely on them. "[Leggings] hold in and support the quadriceps (thigh muscles), buttocks and core muscles in your tummy, and do the job the muscles are supposed to do," Margo said. Thus, the muscles "switch off." Additionally, we may be less inclined to work our legs and midsections at the gym since leggings are covering up those parts of our bodies. "Out of sight, out of mind," Margo mused.

Not every expert agrees with that assessment, though. Obstetrician-gynecologist Jen Gunter told the New York Post that leggings do "not [support] your muscles" and "are in no way compressing your muscles." 

Wearing the right leggings every day can help you conquer yoga poses

If you wear leggings made of flexible fabric, you may find yourself being able to complete more yoga moves. In an interview with Business InsiderPeloton yoga instructor Aditi Shah said she prioritizes flexibility every time she goes to the store to buy leggings. "Extremely compressive pants can make it more difficult to flow into simple [yoga] poses ... if they don't stretch to accommodate your movement," Shah said. 

If flexibility is your end game, you'll want to prioritize the stretch factor of your leggings. According to Fabletics, the right leggings should "allow you to move, stretch, [and] try a split in yoga." If it doesn't, move on to another pair. Leggings should stretch with you and maintain their elasticity wash after wash even as we lose ours with age. The last thing you want is to feel restricted by your leggings as you work out or go about your day. 

Wearing tight leggings every day could make cellulite appear worse

Cellulite is a common cosmetic condition. According to ABC News, 90 percent of women will experience it in their lifetime. Sometimes it doesn't matter how much you exercise or how many salads you eat, cellulite will still hang around. Maybe you've even tried wearing compression-style leggings for that very reason. While compression leggings reportedly "reduce thigh jiggle" during exercise, its effects are only short-lived. That is, if you even see a difference at all post-workout, dermatologist Dr. Cheryl Karcher told the outlet.

"For any clothing that claims to actually have lasting results, it's just a marketing gimmick and it's not true," Karcher said. In fact, overly tight leggings may worsen the appearance of cellulite on your body. How? The constricting fabric could potentially limit blood flow and cut off circulation. One thing is true, if you wear any type of leggings every day, you'll be able to disguise the cellulite regardless.  

If you don't wash your leggings every day, you risk getting sick

If you wear leggings every day, it may be tempting to rewear them a bunch of times before finally tossing them in the washer. But you may want to rethink that, according to Lori A. Hoepner, associate health professor at the State University of New York.

Hoepner told HuffPost that "the biggest contamination that can happen on clothing is bacteria that would come naturally from one's body." Typically, bacteria is found in "the various crevices where the skin folds and touches itself and there is sweat," she added. However, the expert said if you shower every day and relegate your leggings as home clothes only, you don't have to worry too much. "That's for the average individual who doesn't have health concerns," Hoepner clarified.

If you're wearing leggings out in public, though, it's best to wash them often to avoid getting sick from others' germs. The same applies for all clothing. "If you're going to the store or if you have to take public transportation ― anything where you're coming into contact with people or surfaces ― it doesn't hurt to clean the clothes and not wear them around the house," Hoepner added.