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bra chafing - Is Your Bra Causing Chafing? Here's How To Prevent It

Many of us have been there at some point or another: Your skin is red, irritated, and swollen, leaving a stinging or burning feeling around your chest. And you can’t help but wonder: Is your bra causing this discomfort? Chafing near the bust is a very common issue, especially for women with larger breasts.

In this guide, we’ve broken down why exactly it happens, how your bra may be to blame, and how to avoid this pesky problem in the future.

What is chafing — and how is a bra involved?

Chafing occurs when your skin repeatedly rubs against itself or your clothing. As far as the bust is concerned, it usually happens under the breasts (near where the bra band lies), near the underarms, and around the nipple.

Indeed, your bra can play a part in this irritation. Namely, chafing tends to happen when aspects of your bra are too tight (or too loose), causing a lot of friction, and/or when sweat gets trapped near the skin. Full-busted women are particularly prone to chafing, as larger breasts are more likely to rub against each other or the skin around them.

Related: Is Your Bra Too Small?

What can I do about it?

As previously mentioned, a bra that’s too small or too large (whether in terms of the cups, the band, or the straps) is far more likely to result in chafing. This is just one more reason why it’s crucial to get fitted by a professional to determine your correct size. That way, you can ensure your bra stays in place, warding off the kind of friction that leads to chafing.

The bra’s fabric is important to consider as well. Since chafing is exacerbated by moisture being trapped around the bust line, you’ll want to seek out bras that are made out of somewhat breathable fabrics. This is especially critical when it comes to buying sports bras, as you’ll obviously be sweating more in them. Sports bras that are made with moisture-wicking synthetic fabrics and have such details as mesh panels offer the most breathability.

Separation is very key in terms of preventing chafing as well (because you’re trying to avoid having your breasts rub together). So be sure to choose bras that have separated cups, and a center gore that is well suited to how your breasts are set on your chest. For example, if there’s barely any space between your breasts, you’ll need to seek out a bra with a much narrower and lower center panel (plunge bras tend to be excellent in this regard) to ensure it lays flat and keeps your boobs apart. However, if your breasts are wide set with more space in between them, you’ll need a wider center gore to effectively separate your breasts.


Another thing to keep in mind for keep chafing at bay is keeping your skin dry.

Applying some baby powder near your bust line can be very effective. Or, you can use an anti-chafe product such as Body Glide (or good old Vaseline) to the skin near the seams and band of the bra for some lubrication, which will make friction less likely.

Chafing is no fun for anyone, that’s for sure. And you certainly shouldn’t have to worry about your bra causing you any pain or discomfort, whether you’re on a long morning run or just doing errands for the afternoon. Keep the tips outlined in this guide in mind and you should be able to enjoy wearing all your favorite bras totally free of chafing.

Related: Here’s How To Tell If A Bra Fits

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Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!

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Published by

Rebecca Strong

Rebecca is a Boston-based freelance writer who focuses on style, fitness, food, and travel. She has contributed to such publications as HuffPost, Elite Daily and U.S. News & World Report. When she's not writing, she can be found at home or in the studio working on the songs for her upcoming album. Her favorite bra is a black demi-cup style with all-over-lace — timeless and feminine.

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