In the commercial for Beyonce's partnership with TopShop for the athleisure line Ivy Park, the leader of the free world poses in a cotton leotard. Her arms hang on monkey bars and her hair is down, drenched in sweat — it makes her look even more otherworldly.
According to the commercial, athletic leotards are now acceptable workout wear. If we were to try to live like Beyoncé (because really, why shouldn't we try?), this would mean that we should start burning all our yoga pants in favor of something that resembles a cotton one-piece bathing suit.
Of course there are upsides, like how wearing a leotard would presumably give you a wider range of motion for your legs. But then we started to think critically. With this very tight leotard on, one question immediately popped up: How are our vaginas going to feel?
To some, this is a weird question. But as anyone with a vagina can tell you, working out has inherent risks: Yeast infections. Rashes. Like pretty much everything about being a person with a vagina, you have to be extra cautious. At this point, not even wearing yoga pants is safe.
In our minds, we pictured ourselves sweating in the leotard Bey wears in the commercial — which, it should be noted, is 64% cotton and 34% polyester. We thought of whether our vaginas could breathe, and if moisture could be wicked away. The other two leotards Bey is selling are a mix of polyamide and elastane, making them pretty much waterproof, yet thick.
Worried, we took it to an expert, and unfortunately came away with some bad news: Beyoncé's Ivy Park leotards, when worn without extra caution, could easily hurt your vagina.
"You have to be extremely careful," Dr. Michael Eidelman, the medical director of Chelsea Skin & Laser and assistant professor of medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, said in an interview. "Yeast likes warm, moist environments and if you're wearing this garment for a long time, there can be an infection. You have to worry about warmth and water, which makes a great reservoir for things to grow, like bacteria."
(Side note: Bodies are disgusting.)
What this means is that wearing a tight garment (like yoga pants), while sweating and raising your body temperature, could be a bad idea for your body and your vagina. If you're prone to yeast infections, then your risk is higher.
Another very cute thing that could happen is called folliculitis. Folliculitis is when the hair follicle gets overly disturbed and inflamed via excessive activity. And based on where these leotards touch your body, that means that folliculitis could happen in your pubic area.
Then, there is the threat of fungi. According to Dr. Eidelman, jock itch is due to fungi in the groin that grow from moisture. When you're sweating, it is natural to sweat in that particular area, so you're creating an ideal environment for this sort of fungi to grow. Very sexy.
Oh, and your vagina isn't even the only thing you have to worry about. There's also your breasts. According to Dr. Eidelman, because of leotard's construction itself, excess moisture and sweat could build up under and around the breasts, and that could cause a yeast infection or a rash.
"I think that those fabrics don't breathe as well," Dr. Eidelman said in regards to Beyonce's use of polyamide and elastane. "They contain silk. It gets hotter and holds heat in and puts you at a greater risk."
The good news is that fabrics with cotton do have moisture-absorbing abilities. However, when mixed with other fabrics, that's when things get tricky. Warmth and moisture together (which gather quite easily when you work out) does create bacteria.
So ... what do we do? Now that we've ruined your day, let's talk about what you should do if you really, really want to live your best Beyoncé life.
"I would say as soon as the class is over, take it off and shower and put on a breathable fabric," Dr. Eidelman said. "Don't sit in your leotard for the rest of the afternoon."
Also, it'd be a smart idea to wear cotton undies and a breathable sports bra underneath these leotards. Your vagina, breasts and entire body will thank you later.