The Good, The Bad, The Hosiery


The Good: Relieve Varicose Veins,
When blood doesn’t circulate well and pools in the lower legs, it can lead to the development of unsightly and painful varicose veins and spider veins (which are like varicose veins but smaller).
Special pantyhose called compression hose can help alleviate the aching, throbbing, and irritation that often accompany varicose and spider veins.

“Compression hose offer more support at the ankle and less compression as you go up the leg, so they help to push the blood up,” said Luis Navarro, MD, director of the Vein Treatment Center in New York City. They’re especially beneficial to wear when traveling for people who are prone to varicose veins or to deep vein thrombosis (DVT) a condition where potentially dangerous blood clots form, often in the legs.
There are three basic kinds of compression hose: drugstore and department store brands like Oroblu that designate “support” or “compression” on the packaging; over-the-counter hose sold at medical supply stores; and prescription-strength hose that require special fittings. Ask your doctor which type is best for your health issues.

The Good: Prevent Cankles,
Compression pantyhose can also help prevent swelling around the ankles, feet, and legs — medically termed edema — a condition that’s common during long car rides and flights, and among people who are overweight, have circulation issues, are pregnant, or take certain medications.
The swelling happens when blood pools in the veins and water leaks out between cells, causing the puffiness, according to Howard Murad, MD, a Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based dermatologist. Compression stockings keep circulation flowing, minimizing the pooling effect.
They may be especially helpful for people who find themselves with swelling at the end of a long workday on their feet, like teachers, waiters, and surgeons, said Dr. Navarro.


The Good: Conceal Cellulites

Although some pantyhose brands thought themselves as cellulite cures, the truth is that stockings can’t prevent or reverse the dreaded skin dimpling that affects up to 80 percent of women, according to the Mayo Clinic. A little background on why: Cellulite occurs when deposits of fat push up and bulge against fibrous tissues beneath the skin, according to

While improving circulation in the area may improve the appearance of cellulite temporarily, such as through special cellulite-fighting massages, compression stockings aren’t likely to have an impact. But donning thicker hose or tights can be a helpful way to camouflage cellulite, as opposed to thin, sheer stockings or showing a bare leg, said Dr. Murad.

The Bad: Contribute to ‘Down-There’ Infection
If you’re prone to “urinary tract infections, or yeast infections, you may want to play down the pantyhose in your wardrobe. Their synthetic material retains warmth and moisture, which allows bacteria and yeast to thrive, said Radhika Rible, MD, an ob-gyn and assistant clinical professor at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.
For most healthy women, wearing stockings for a workday with cotton underwear underneath won’t cause a problem, but wearing them without underwear could be more risky.
Worried about UTIs and yeast infections but aren’t willing to give up your favorite tights? Look for pairs with a more breathable cotton crotch, or try thigh-high styles under skirts and dresses instead, which allow for better circulation.

The Bad: Cause Calluses
Stockings plus ill-fitting shoes can spell trouble for your tootsies.
Calluses are the result of a buildup of tissue that forms when your foot tries to protect itself from extra pressure or friction, explained Bob Baravarian, DPM, chief of podiatry at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital in Los Angeles.
Pantyhose that are too loose and bunch at your ankles and heels, or shoes that are too big and constantly rub against your stockings can contribute to this callus-causing friction, so to avoid a problem, make sure your shoes and hosiery fit your heels well.

The Bad: Exacerbate Athlete’s Foot
Pantyhose can increase foot sweating, and therefore make you more prone to a fungal infection like athlete’s foot, said Dr. Bavarian, who noted that “fungus loves moisture and sweating.” If you’re prone to sweaty feet, avoid hose and stick to cotton socks, which absorb moisture. Or rub some antiperspirant or baby powder on your feet before slipping into your stockings.


The Bad: Contribute to Skin Rashes

Nylons can exacerbate skin rashes, especially for people who are allergic to latex, which can be found in hosiery made with “mixed blends.” New York City-based dermatologist Macrene Alexiades, MD, recommended 100 percent cotton pantyhose if you’re prone to rashes or have a latex allergy.

Also, avoid donning stockings when it’s warm out if you’re prone to rashes and eczema.
Sweat can further irritate sensitive skin, especially when it gets trapped under your hosiery.


The Hosiery:
Pantyhose Washing 101
Because of the delicate nature of hosiery, you may be hesitant to wash them after every wear. But health-wise,  wash them after each wearing to get rid of the mix of body oils, perspiration, and bacteria that cling to the hose and can make them smelly. Rinse them with soap or a mild detergent in the sink and air dry, or throw them in the washing machine in a gentle cycle (in a lingerie bag to avoid snags), then hang to dry.

Personally, I feel like the good out weigh the bad, and the bad are easily managed, and that pantyhose are not a direct cause to most, if any..

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2 thoughts on “The Good, The Bad, The Hosiery

  1. Really complete post! I’ll share it with our contacts. Well done!

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