Monday, February 24, 2014

Skin Irritations and Bra Fit

Your skin is your largest organ and the skin over your breasts is some of the most sensitive on your whole body. Breast skin irritations range from serious allergic reactions to mild heat rashes. The right bra fit and materials can play a big part in looking after the health of your skin. NB. Any sudden or dramatic change to your breast skin should be seen immediately by a doctor.

How Bad Bra Fit Causes Skin Irritation
I have seen everything from rashes to deep gouges caused by ill-fitting bras and it's completely preventable. Here are the most common irritations and their causes:

Rash underneath the breasts and on the lower torso - this is usually caused by a loose band. When the band is too big for you the breasts are able to lie flat against your torso which means sweat gets trapped between your breasts and your body. Trapped moisture is always bad news because bacteria can spread there easily (yeast is all over our bodies and in the air so when it finds a good breeding ground it multiplies) and your breasts can rub against the skin of your body which worsens the irritation. Your breasts should be lifted completely away from your torso so that at least a layer of fabric lies between your breasts and your body.

Chafing and blistering between the breasts - this is caused by either a band that's too big or too small. More often than not this is the result of a band that is too big so the rigid ends of the wires in the center (the gore) rub against the soft breast tissue and jab into your sternum. Some of the worst cases I've seen are on women who were exercising in non-sports bra with bands that were way too big for them. Painful indentations and rubbing between your breasts can also be caused by a band that is too tight. Remember that bands can sometimes be too tight because your cups are too small so your band is partly being filled by your breast tissue which makes it tight.

Blood blisters and chafing in front of the armpit - this is either caused by your cups being too small or wearing the wrong style. If your straps rub against the skin around your armpit your first step is to ensure that your cups are big enough. If you have a lot of migrated breast tissue the straps can rub against your migrated tissue and cause rashes and blood blisters. Look for bras with a good side panel to encourage your breast tissue back into your cup and away from your armpit.

Material and Skin Irritation
Some women have allergies to synthetic materials, elastic and metal which can make bra shopping a nightmare. It's very hard to find a purely cotton bra or one with only plastic hardware especially over a D cup. Lots of women with allergies to synthetic materials use cotton liners to wear between their skin and the bra.

The most common irritations are caused by sweat when working out and this can be easily avoided by wearing the right sports bra. The Panache Sports Bra is a perfect example of a fabric that's perfect for the job. Most regular bras are a single layer of fabric so if you sweat the material saturates and then excess sweat just gets trapped against your skin which is bad news. The Panache Sports Bra is made up of several layers of fabric so that your sweat is drawn away from your skin (this is referred to as wicking). The fabric also has a larger than average weave so that air can circulate around your breasts as you work out. This is how a sports bra should be designed so that you don't suffocate your skin or encourage bacterial build up with trapped sweat.

Quick Tips for Healthy Breast Skin
1. Make sure you have dried off excess water from underneath your breasts after showering.
2. Never put on a damp or wet bra.
3. Itchy skin is usually dry skin. Moisturize with a chemical free oil like Jojoba or Almond.
4. Don't use an abrasive exfoliator on your breast skin. Use a gentle cloth or sponge in small circular motions so you don't strip the skin of essential oils.

If you have a skin irritation problem you think is caused or worsened by your bra then leave your question in the comments section xx

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