Today’s Friday Q&A is one of my personal pet peeves: you get a great bra, but out of nowhere, it starts irritating your skin one day. An itchy, uncomfortable bra is one of the most irritating things – especially when it was once a bra you loved! What do you do if a bra suddenly starts causing skin irritation?
Question from O:
“How do you make a bra stop irritating your skin? I just bought a new bra about a month ago and it was amazing! Today I put the bra on and out of nowhere the bra is irritating the skin on the right side only under my armpit. Any guesses as to why this is happening and any suggestions as to make it stop?
This is actually a really common issue, although the irritation may be coming from a different part of the bra. Since this is an issue that affects so many of us, I’ll answer your question with some general suggestions that apply to all bra-related skin irritation, O:
Where’s the Source of the Irritation?
Sometimes an itchy bra or a bra that irritates the skin can feel very generalized. You might feel irritation all over. Most of the time, though, it’s a specific spot where the bra is irritating your skin. Figure out where you are feeling the irritation, and examine the bra in that particular area.
For underarm irritation, a common cause is some wear around the end of the underwire that comes up under the armpit. Sometimes the underwire starts to poke through the bra and dig into your skin. In other cases, the underwire may have bent and may be poking you.
If the underwire is bent, you may be able to bend it back to fix the problem. Be careful, though! Underwires aren’t supposed to bend, and it may break if you try to bend it back.
If the underwire is poking through the bra, you may be able to patch it or sew a new end on the casing – but most of the time this is a sign that you need to buy a new bra. If this happens to you a lot, you may be wearing the wrong bra size or the wrong underwire shape and width for your body.
Do You Have Allergies to Detergent or Materials?
If you’ve got a case of generalized skin irritation, or irritation that you can’t trace to a cause in your bra, you may have some allergies in play. Some women have allergies to nickel and find that their underwires cause discomfort and skin irritation. If you’ve got a nickel allergy, look for a nickel-free underwire – Conturelle is one of our premier brands that offers nickel-free underwires. Alternately, you may have an allergy to the fabric used in the bra, or even the laundry detergent that you’re using.
Keep in mind that you can develop new allergies at any point in your life – just because you haven’t been allergic to your detergent or a specific material before doesn’t mean that you haven’t become allergic!
Sometimes Bras Just Wear Out
Finally, examine the bra for signs of wear. Stretching, seams coming apart or other signs of wear may indicate that the bra no longer fits properly, and the irritation you’re feeling isn’t something you can fix. If the bra is old and worn, it’s time to invest in a new one – saving it simply won’t work, and an old, worn bra isn’t doing you any favors in the support department anyway.