A painful and debilitating condition, bra chafing affects women of all shapes and sizes. Read on to discover the most frequent causes of bra chafing, in addition to our top tips for treatment. We also list some preventative measures you can take to reduce the chances that the problem will reoccur.
What causes bra chafing?
A chafed area is caused by repeated rubbing - either skin against skin, or skin against another surface, such as a bra strap or underwire. The chafe is a form of friction burn - the top layer of skin is literally rubbed away. Unfortunately, the longer the rubbing movement persists, the more severe the chafing will become. Some of the common causes of bra chafing are listed below.
- An ill-fitting bra.
- A bra that offers insufficient support.
- Occupations that involve repeated arm and chest movement, or carrying heavy weights against the rib cage or over the shoulder.
- Working in warm conditions, particularly in a manual occupation.
- Outer clothing that doesn't allow sufficient ventilation.
- Exercise or sport.
- Poor hygiene.
How to Treat Bra Chafing
Ditch the bra!
In the first instance, it's important to remove the source of the chafing - often removing the bra is a good first step, and a rudimentary chafing remedy. Going bra-free offers plenty of opportunity for chafed areas to recover in a friction-free environment. If you need additional support, many women find a seam-free, non-wired supportive bra top a comfortable alternative.
Ensure the affected area remains clean and dry
As the skin is raw, a chafe is open to bacteria and germs that may cause an infection. It's important to keep on top of personal hygiene whilst the chafe is healing. In particular, it's important to gently pat dry the affected area with a clean towel after bathing. Moisture increases friction and can make it easier for bacteria to enter the chafed area.
Pay particular attention to the vulnerable area under the breast. This spot is particularly vulnerable to chafing due to a tight under band or underwiring. This is an area that's prone to retaining moisture, as the breast rests against it. Unfortunately, infection is common when chafing occurs under the breast - be vigilant and seek medical attention if the problem isn't resolving within a few days.
Try to wear loose clothing
A chafe heals best if it's left out in the open to heal. Whilst this isn't always practical for a bra chafe, we recommend loose clothing, made from a fabric that wicks moisture away from the body.
How to prevent a chafing bra
Have your bras professionally fitted. With studies showing that around 4 in 5 Australian women wear bras that are the wrong size, it's little wonder that there's a lot of chafing about. A correctly sized bra may be the best thing for chafing, as it significantly reduces the risk of uncomfortable digging into the skin.
If you are vulnerable to chafing - for example, if you are bigger busted, have a manual job or during exercise, consider purchasing anti chafing underwear. These are bras and bra tops specifically designed to prevent chafing.
For further information about the benefits of anti-chafing underwear, get in touch with the team at No More Chafe.