Russia, Belarus, And Kazakhstan Have All Banned Lace Underwear — And It Has Nothing To Do With Modesty

These three countries are attempting to prioritize the health of their citizens by advocating for better-made underwear.

Women's hands holding cotton brown panties on beige background. Vitalii M / Shutterstock

In 2014, three different countries decided to ban a certain piece of clothing that women often wear. While seemingly controversial at first, especially since the ban was specifically targeted toward women and might seem as if government officials were attempting to control what they wore and how they dressed their bodies, the choice was actually rooted in the well-being of women's health. 

Maybe all women need to reconsider what kind of underwear they wear.


Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan all banned lace underwear for one reason.

According to CNN, lacy underwear was effectively banned due to new regulations in Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, but rather doing it because of modesty, it's for safety reasons. The regulation requires clothing in contact with the skin to contain at least 6% cotton.

Any underwear below this threshold will not be available in stores, and both production and import of these will also stop in these countries. This regulation is said to be designed to protect consumers against synthetic garments that don’t absorb enough moisture and can eventually lead to skin problems.


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Despite the countries attempting to provide health benefits by forcing women to wear underwear that is cotton instead of lace, protests in Kazakhstan broke out. A multitude of Kazakh women were reportedly detained by the police in Almaty after protesting against the ban. 

Many of these women demanded the right to choose what kind of underwear they could wear instead of having them be regulated by officials.


However, there is truth to the health benefits of wearing cotton underwear, as opposed to lace or synthetic materials. Cotton is a breathable fabric that allows air to circulate, reducing the risk of moisture buildup in intimate areas. Wearing cotton underwear can help prevent bacterial growth and yeast infections, which thrive in warm, moist environments.

Gynecologists have recommended that women wear cotton underwear for quite some time.

"Some women are lucky and can wear anything or nothing at all when it comes to underwear," Dr. Alyssa Dweck, a gynecologist in Westchester County, told HuffPost. "Others, however, especially those with sensitive intimate skin or those prone to infection, including yeast or bacterial vaginosis, can benefit from wearing certain materials that allow the genital skin to 'breathe.'"

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However, other gynecologists have explained that wearing cotton underwear isn't always better than synthetic. For example, if you're working out, cotton underwear can feel wetter. So, if you are the type of person who sweats a lot, you may feel more comfortable in the synthetics made to wick the moisture away, according to SELF. 

It doesn't matter what type of material underwear you're wearing; you should never just sit around in damp underwear.

One of the best things someone can do to help their vaginal health is going commando. While it may seem counterintuitive or unconventional, going commando allows for increased airflow and ventilation.

Woman in white cotton robe Hasloo Group Production Studio / Canva Pro


"To each your own when it comes to wearing underwear or not,” Ross said. “When you don’t wear underwear, the vulva and buttock are completely unrestricted and free," Dr. Sherry Ross, a women’s health expert, told HuffPost.

"The unrestricted vulva doesn’t have any underwear or panty lines or fabric to add discomfort to this sensitive area. In addition to comfort, there is no buildup of heat and moisture which can increase the risk of a vaginal infection."

At the end of the day, if you're wearing underwear that is actively causing discomfort, pain, or an infection, the best thing you can do is switch to a more breathable and comfortable option. 


Prioritizing your comfort and health is always more important than fashion.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.