Sometimes the Funbags Aren't So Fun: How to Prevent Bra Chafing and Skin Tags

Yeast infections! They're not just for vaginas anymore!

Aug 10, 2012 at 11:30am | Leave a comment

Gals, I have recently been relieved of some big boob bra drama.

Particularly skin tags and bra chafing. Because, as the proud owner of 34FF boobs (my gift from heaven until I’m on the treadmill), I am all too familiar with a history of bra rashes, chafing and those little skin tags. Let’s face it: sometimes the fun bags aren’t so fun -- and they can sometimes be an itchy, stinky mess.

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First of all, let’s get the gross part over with: Bra rash (called intertrigo) is essentially a yeast infection (yep, it’s not just for vaginas anymore). We have yeast all over our bodies and when you sweat (and that sweat gets trapped in a warm, moist area), your body starts baking little muffins that cause you to itch and smell funny if left too long. Yep, I know: gnarly but true.

Now, onto skin tags (technical name acrochordons), which are those tiny little bumps of benign hanging flesh that look like moles along the underside of your breasts (and sometimes armpits and neckline). Some of us are more prone to them than others, and your likelihood of getting them increases with breast size and body weight. They commonly occur on places of your body where skin rubs against skin or clothing most often. If you’ve got a rash going on the underside of your breasts, skin tags might be unwelcome guests at that party.

OK, here’s how you stop intertrigo/rashes/chaffing from happening:

1.    Bathe regularly.

Yes, you do have to explain this to some people. Make sure the area is completely dry before you put clothing on. Use a hair dryer if you have to, but the area underneath your breast should be dry as the Sahara before getting dressed.

2.    Wear bras that fit.

This sounds like a no-brainer, but as everybody know, we're all basically running around in the wrong bra size. Go get fitted and today if possible. Proper fit means no chaffing and your nipples will sit at attention, not graze the floor looking for spare change.

3.    Ventilate.

Lift your breasts up a few times a day to give the skin underneath some air. If you’re at work, do this every time you take a bathroom break. Rest those suckers on the counter at Starbucks while you’re waiting for coffee. Just give the skin underneath some air.

4.    Remove wet clothes as quickly as possible.

Hey, sporty spice: Take the jog bra off immediately after a workout. Those things are breeding grounds for bacteria that are just waiting to chew up the area under your boobs. Take them off and wash them after using them. Do NOT wear the same sports bra for multiple workouts without washing it. It’s icky and gross and smelly. We know who you are.

5.    Always wear a clean bra.

You’re supposed to give your bras a break between wearing anyway to allow them to regain their shape. Don’t reuse the same bra every day or, goodness help you, if you only have one then wash it nightly and only wear it if completely dry. But repeat wearing of the same bra daily or over the week just allows skin muffin-baking bacteria to gather, which is grody to the max.

6.    Wear loose-fitting clothing when you can.

Breathable cotton keeps skin dry and ventilated. Invest in some fab lounge gear and breathable cotton tops that you can wear often. I would live my life in organic cotton everything if I could.

7.    Go braless when you can.

It’s amazing how fast my bra comes off when I get home, as in I start to unhook it before the key is even in the door. Get that sucker off as fast as you can, gals, and then go National Geographic-style behind closed doors to give your boobs a break.

Things that DON’T work? Deodorant under the boobs is a bad idea (and extremely irritating to the skin beneath), and so is cornstarch (remember the baking analogy). I would also recommend handling rashes the minute they occur. The best remedy I’ve found? Diaper ointment. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste and A&D Diaper Ointment are miracle-working solutions for chafing and intertrigo. Try them.

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As far as skin tags go, the less chafing, the less likely they are to form. They’re benign and removing them is really a matter of personal choice. You can go all frontier style and remove them yourself by looping dental floss around them and pulling them or snipping them with (read: clean) scissors (I don’t recommend either of these methods).

You can also have your dermatologist freeze them off with liquid nitrogen or remove them with heat via cauterization. Tiny ones require no anesthesia, but for larger ones, you’ll want a shot of lidocaine prior to anyone approaching you with a removal implement.

So, now that I’ve told you more about the care and feeding of the underside of your breasts, let’s discuss. Do you ever have underboob drama? Do you cheat and repeat with your bras? How much do you LOVE taking your bra off at the end of the day, regardless of breast side?