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February 16, 2019 5 min read

Actually I was toying with the idea of calling this article "Why your underwear is killing you slowly", but we don't want to panic. So we better start thinking about the fact that the skin is the largest organ of the human body. Underwear nestles directly against them and touches even the most sensitive areas of the body. But underwear is also one of the items of clothing that we often simply buy and wear thoughtlessly. Without thinking about the consequences of being covered in toxic, possibly even carcinogenic, substances for 12 hours a day.


This blog post was sponsored by GREY Berlin. But how exactly I implement the cooperation and what conclusion I personally come to is up to me. But if you read this article to the end, you will learn a lot, gain something and support my work as a blogger.


These chemicals irritate the humid environment of the groin terribly (no wonder, since the little intimate zone has enough to do with the own bacterial balance anyway) and can lead to a rapid growth of certain yeast fungi, which can be noticeable by itching, burning and redness. For very sensitive women, by the way, the following applies: Do without underwear at night and allow the bikini zone a little space and air to breathe. But back to chemistry.

Before I introduce you to the benefits of sustainable underwear, there is a quick digression into the colourful hustle and bustle of substances from the test tube, which are often used in laundry. Just so you know what kind of poison might be decorating your drawer right now: Nonylphenol, octylphenol and their ethoxylates are used for cleaning the yarns. They act similar to oestrogens and can disrupt the development of the reproductive organs of fish and other aquatic animals, but fortunately they have been banned in the EU since 2005. Azo dyes can cause cancer when they come into direct contact with the skin, which is why they must also no longer be used in this country.

Brominated and chlorinated flame retardants are used for fire protection, are hormonally effective and particularly dangerous for water, but may be used, even if only in small quantities. Short-chain chlorinated paraffins also serve as flame retardants, are considered toxic and may be used, although their use has been restricted since 2004. Chlorobenzenes are biocides and solvents that can damage the CNS, liver and thyroid. They may also be used in the EU, albeit only to a very limited extent.

Trichloroethane not only removes chemical residues from textiles, but also part of the ozone layer. It also damages the CNS and the liver and kidneys. It's still not forbidden. Plasticizers are used in the textile industry for rubber or in dyes, may inhibit the development of the genitals, but have only been banned since 2015. Just sayin if you've had your laundry for a while.

And now we come to the joke of the whole thing: the textile industry supplies clothing with these chemicals to markets around the world. Including EU countries, as they only prohibit chemicals mentioned in their own textile production. So the worrying pile quickly gets into our waste water, lakes, rivers and groundwater and thus also into our bloodstream at some point.

By the way, the largest part of our drinking water comes from groundwater. (Just sayin.) All this is not only immensely worrying, but also incredibly disgusting. And if I hadn't pulled myself together years ago to read through the smorgasbord of toxins and production conditions, I would probably not be any the wiser today. The main thing you see are seductive Photoshop angels in fine lace and flowing fabrics.

Shapeless, without wearing comfort, unsexy

Even today, after there are now almost three million search results on Google on the subject, many still imagine sustainable underwear. There is a wide range of fabrics such as organic cotton, Modal or Vitadylan, which are so soft and comfortable that they are perfect for pop and bust. Finding eco-underwear that flatters both your body and the environment is therefore just as easy as finding its conventional counterpart.

Some labels use recycled lace to keep up with the trend. Others stick to a minimalist seamless design that does not show on the clothing and is perfect to wear under business outfits and shirts. Both have their individual advantages, both can be quite sexy. But eco underwear can do even more!

Organic underwear made of algae and zinc by GREY Berlin

Marco from GREY Berlin (I've reported here before), probably wouldn't be Marco if I hadn't received tons of study results and information for the article, which I devoured with great interest. Some of it I want to share with you. Not least because the underwear not only has a great comfort factor, but also cares.

In short: no PCP, no formaldehyde, no azo dyes or other manure found in conventional pieces. However, zinc, which is apparently much better tolerated by the skin than silver, which is now often used in underwear and functional underwear to prevent bacteria and odours. By the way, zinc is a great trace element of nature, very important for the skin structure and must be supplied continuously.

In the wash it has a pleasant cooling effect and can reduce itching. This can be very useful for sensitive people with dry skin or, on closer inspection, for those who suffer from neurodermatitis, acne and other skin diseases. Yes yes, roll your eyes, think "yes no, it's clear" and then read on with interest, because: No charlatanry, no energetically charged miracle cure, but simple biochemistry, proven by studies. According to another study, more precisely one carried out by the University Hospital in Jena, Vitadylan even shows an inhibitory effect on staphylococci (of which, by the way, around 20 per cent of people are permanently colonised) and also on Klebsiella pneumoniae, a penicillin-resistant rod bacterium.

The laundry also has an antioxidant effect, i.e. against harmful free radicals. They are of course not only evil, but also essential for our mitochondria, but free radicals then become aggressive oxygen molecules, each of which grabs an electron from our other body cells when there are too many of them in the body at some point. This in turn leads in the long run to oxidative stress and disturbs the skin's ability to regenerate. By the way, this happens when there is too much sun on the skin, long periods of stress, smog, alcohol and tobacco abuse and environmental toxins, as well as injuries, operations, weakness of the body's defences or inflammations.

The algae substance, also called Vitydylan , counteracts this with the vitamins A, C and E it contains. I even had an insight into certificates for the raw material, the Icelandic algae, which have a "100% organic" certification. By the way, the modal contained is made of Austrian FSC beech wood.

You see, Marco does not only design and tailor, Marco really has an incredible amount of thoughts. Seaweed, zinc and a tiny bit of spandex, so that after the first wash the laundry does not hang down like a wet little bag and does not lose its comfort for many years. No more, no less. I am of course not a big fan of spandex, but the percentage is very low and I know by now that you can have your Grey piece for a long time if you pay attention to it.

Conclusion: With every piece of eco-linen you buy, you can keep harmful chemicals out of your environment and help to support sustainable business. Provided, of course, that you need some new panties. It is also a great thing for yourself, as eco-linen is safe and keeps you fresh and peachy.

Sources: Study BUND



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