Can panty liners cause irritation?
We’ve all been there: going about our business when a sudden itch or irritation in our V-Zone (that’s everything to do with our vagina, vulva and the V-shaped front of our body) keeps our mind from focusing on anything else. Frustrating as it can be, this is quite common and usually easy to take care of — we’ve got the lowdown!
From tight clothes and harsh fragrances to products we’re not used to, there are many reasons why we might experience discomfort in our intimate area. Other conditions, such as thrush, could also be to blame if you have an itchy vulva. After all, the skin around our V-Zone is sensitive, so it’s important to listen to your body when experiencing irritation.
But can panty liners be a culprit, too? Whether you use them regularly or every once in a while, let’s find out so you can make more informed choices about your intimate hygiene routine. And if you're curious about all things V-Zones, remember to sign up for our newsletter!
Can panty liners cause irritation?
Panty liners are created under strict sanitary standards and with high-quality materials to reduce the risk of skin irritation as much as possible. Nonetheless, everyone is different, and some women+ have particularly sensitive V-Zones that can get irritated with certain kinds of materials, even some underwear fabrics. So, what can you do when this happens?
Panty liner rash
Noticing a rash anywhere around your V-Zone can be alarming (especially when there's redness or even blisters involved). But rest assured, even if you suspect a panty liner rash, it's usually nothing serious.
Although rare, this kind of rash is possible if your intimate skin is particularly sensitive to any of the materials or fragrances used in some daily liners. But fret not! That doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t wear liners at all. It may just be a matter of opting for specially designed products, made without fragrances, dyes, or common allergens.
Other times, friction from the liner rubbing against your delicate skin could be causing the irritation. So, you might want to take a break for a bit or use liners on and off to prevent discomfort.
It’s also a good idea to give your sensitive intimate skin some extra care by washing it with water and a specially designed wash, or using a soothing cream  to relieve any itchiness or burning feeling. The good news is that a liner rash will usually go away on its own, so there’s no need to worry about it.
Panty liner itching
Liners help us absorb vaginal discharge and other light flows. Sometimes, especially when you forget to change them every few hours (and, let's face it, it can happen to all of us), you might experience a build-up of moisture that can lead to itching and skin irritation. But itching can also be caused by friction — especially if you are wearing tight clothes or moving around intensely.
So make sure to change your liner every 3-4 hours (especially after a sweaty spin class or running after your kids!) and steer away from trousers and shorts that fit too tight around the crotch area.
Can you be allergic to panty liners?
If you're experiencing unbearable itching, swelling around your vulva, or you find that a nasty rash has appeared out of nowhere, you might be allergic to one of the materials that come in contact with your V-Zone. That could be anything from lubricants and creams to underwear and liners.
While it’s not very common, everyone’s skin is a little different and some of us just might be more prone to developing contact dermatitis (this is just a fancy word for an allergic reaction that happens because of direct contact with something) from intimate care products. If that is the case for you, it's super important to pick an allergen-free liner, which don't contain any dyes or fragrances that could trigger an allergic reaction.
Can panty liners cause infections?
On their own, panty liners do not cause infections. But remember how we said that they trap moisture? Well, bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments, which can cause them to overgrow and throw off your vagina's natural balance and pH levels. This can sometimes cause bacterial infections like bacterial vaginosis (BV) or yeast infections (thrush).
But try not to worry! These infections are easily preventable by regularly changing your liners to keep the moisture from building up. Try setting a reminder on your phone every 3-4 hours to change your liner, that way you won’t rely on memory alone. And to keep your V-Zone extra fresh throughout the day, why not opt for intimate wipes?
What can I do about irritation from panty liners?
If you are experiencing irritated intimate skin, don't panic — we've got you! Here's a short list of tips and tricks that can help alleviate any discomfort and prevent it in the future:
- Gently wash your vulva. It's important to keep your vulva clean to prevent any irritation and infection, whether you use liners or not. Keep in mind that your vagina is self-cleaning, so you only need to mind the external bits (the vulva). Lukewarm water does the trick but you can pair it up with- an intimate wash for extra care. Last but not least, make sure to pat it dry with a clean towel before putting any clothes on.
- Avoid harsh soaps and scented products. As a general rule of thumb, if you suspect you’ve got sensitive intimate skin, it’s a good idea to steer away from any products that could trigger irritation.
- Opt for breathable clothing. This is especially important if you're doing sports or moving around a lot. Tight clothing can intensify irritation as it causes friction and can even trap moisture.
- Don't forget to change your liner. Changing your liner every 3-4 hours is crucial for preventing infections and irritation. In general, leaving any period or intimate care product on for too long is something that's best to avoid.
- Switch to special panty liners for sensitive skin. Why not give your intimate skin the extra care it deserves with products specially designed for it?
Noticing an itchy rash or feeling any type of irritation after wearing panty liners can be annoying. But try not to jump to conclusions! More often than not, the discomfort could come from other factors (or a combination of them). Also keep in mind that regardless of the cause, an itchy or irritated V-Zone is usually nothing to worry about and can be taken care of easily.
You might also want to try washable absorbent underwear for all fluids, including discharge and urine. It looks and feels just like your regular underwear, but gives protection for up to 12 hours and is reusable.
However, you know your body best so if any discomfort on your intimate skin is concerning you, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor. They will be able to reassure you and help you find the best solution. And try to always listen to your body and use products that make you feel good — it's completely up to you to decide what works and what doesn’t.
Interested in learning more? Explore the difference between panty liners and period pads and find out how to use panty liners.
The medical information in this article is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please consult your doctor for guidance about a specific medical condition.
 Torondel B, Sinha S, Mohanty JR, Swain T, Sahoo P, Panda B, Nayak A, Bara M, Bilung B, Cumming O, Panigrahi P, Das P. Association between unhygienic menstrual management practices and prevalence of lower reproductive tract infections: a hospital-based cross-sectional study in Odisha, India. BMC Infect Dis. 2018 Sep 21;18(1):473. doi: 10.1186/s12879-018-3384-2. PMID: 30241498; PMCID: PMC6150969.