What Happens To Your Skin When You Choose The Wrong Bra For Your Body?

Most of us have a love and hate relationship with our bras. On the one hand, we turn to them so our breasts can get some support and look better in the clothes we wear, and on the other, we despise the constricting nature of these undergarments and can't wait to peel them off when we get home. 

Did you know that you can be professionally fitted for your bra size? Turns out, most women are clueless about whether or not they're wearing the right bra size for their breasts. This is probably why there are so many health-related concerns associated with wearing the wrong bra for your body — like neck and back pain, poor sleep, bad posture, breast and ribcage pain, and even headaches. 

There are probably plenty of bra mistakes you didn't know you were making, and if you're wearing a bra that doesn't fit properly, the side effects can be far more than just discomfort. Here are some bra-related skin conditions you should be aware of. 

Chafing and red marks

If you've ever worn a bra that had straps that are too tight, you've probably already experienced chafing and red marks on your skin. In fact, this is likely one of the first signs you see when you choose the wrong bra for your body. It's painful, uncomfortable, and often unsightly too. 

If your bra straps are the culprit, then loosening the straps usually does the trick. But if the entire sizing of your bra is wrong, your best bet is to get professionally fitted or at least find the best way to measure your bra size at home. 

Finding the right size for your breasts is a lot less complicated than you think. When checking for bra fit, the under-band is one of the first things you should be looking at, according to The University of Portsmouth Bra Fitting Animation. The perfect under-band will have a snug and uniform fit all around your body. Secondly, the shoulder straps wouldn't be too loose that they fall off or too tight that they dig into your flesh. The cup size is what comes next. Again, you're looking for a snug fit where there's no spillage or too much room between the fabric and the skin. The middle section and underwire (if there's one) are the next features to assess. Make sure the middle portion of the bra is resting flat on your body and the underwire isn't digging into your skin. 

Yes, there is such a thing as boobne

If you've ever had breakouts, you understand the discomfort acne causes. It turns out that an ill-fitting or wrong bra for your body can contribute to acne around your breasts and back area — commonly referred to as "boobne."

Although it's common to sweat around your breasts, especially during a workout or any physically-demanding activity, if you notice consistent breakouts or pimples in the general bra area, you might be wearing an undergarment that's too tight and constricting, or you're wearing a material that isn't breathable.  

Acne occurs when dead skin cells clog your pores, and excessive sweat and oil trapped in tight clothing can contribute to this. Friction against unclean undergarments can cause boobne too. Founder of Australian bra store Storm in a D Cup, Esther Labi shared with Yahoo Lifestyle, "Boobne is a real problem for ladies with a larger cup size, or are regular gym-goers." She recommends washing your sports bras often and removing them soon after a workout. Wearing breathable materials like cotton can also help with boobne.

Excessive boob sweat and rashes

While it's perfectly normal to sweat in different parts of your body throughout the day, excessive under-boob sweat or general sweating in the bra area can lead to itchy and uncomfortable rashes on your skin. This could be a tell-tale sign that your bra doesn't fit right, or an indication that the material you're wearing is causing inflammation. 

Labi, who is affectionately referred to as "bra whisperer," told Yahoo Lifestyle that oftentimes, the problem with bras has to do with their make and quality. Choose good quality bras over cheaper undergarments. Sweat rashes can be painful and contrary to what you may think, they're not just a summer problem. "I recommend investing in a moisture-wicking bra for exercise and warm weather. But over the winter months as we all sit inside in the warmth, our body naturally sweats, which can also contribute to sweat rash. A cooling bra is a busty girl's best friend because it will help your body to stay dry and sweat-free," explained Labi. 

Intertrigo is another skin rash that is caused by excessive sweating and friction, according to dermatologist Nava Greenfield (via Well+Good). So are yeast infections. Intertrigo, left untreated, can be extremely unpleasant, causing your skin to break down and even emit a foul smell.

Sports bra-related chafing

If you work out often, you already know the benefits of owning a sports bra, especially if you're on the bustier side. They keep everything in place and provide great support for those arduous exercises. 

But it's important to find the right kind if you want to avoid chafing and other skin issues. Just like with normal bras, what you have to look for is something that fits snugly but not too tightly to your body. Your boobs should not be spilling out of the bra or onto the sides. Proper fit is even more important with underwired bras. As board-certified dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf shared with Byrdie, "Tightness and ill-fitting bras worsen when wearing underwire and affect the skin folds, causing chafing."

Sports bras that actually do their job well are those that have soft but long-lasting and breathable fabric and offer proper support minus hard, uncomfortable seams. 

Allergic reactions

Allergic skin reactions are another major concern when it comes to bra fit for your body. A common cause could be the material and make of your bra, according to Greenfield (via Well+Good). While you could develop contact allergy from any rubber in your undergarments, "an underwire bra, if exposed can lead to a nickel allergy rash," shared Dr. Greenfield.

Choose materials that are hypoallergenic, added Labi to Yahoo Lifestyle. "Check the tags of your bra to explore latex-free, rubber-free and elastic-free alternatives, especially when it comes to strapless bras," she shared. 

Ultimately your relationship with your bra is only as good as its fit, material, and quality. If you want your most common bra problems solved, you're going to have to pay attention to your changing body and make sure that your bra fits at every juncture. In fact, getting yourself professionally fitted is not a one-time exercise. Don't be afraid to splurge a little on the good stuff either, as quality of fabric matters too.