Skin too sensitive for bra: Hi, Over the years, my... - MY SKIN


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Skin too sensitive for bra

Lalanna profile image


Over the years, my skin has gotten so sensitive that I can't tolerate wearing a bra!

Part of it is allergies: I'm allergic to black rubber and disperse dyes.

But it goes beyond that.

I can't tolerate spandex, lycra or elastic anywhere on my body. Absolutely nothing stretchy.

Even 5% spandex hurts like the devil.

And even cotton is too rough on my skin. It feels like sandpaper.

I am able to wear a sports bra made of extremely thin spandex 1-2 times week (with breathers in-between) if I coat myself with Cerave Therapeutic Hand Cream twice a day.

As soon as I'm done exercising, I have to remove the bra, shower, and coat myself again.

For special occasions, I can wear a very silky nylon bra with very minimal, very thin spandex -- again, after coating myself up with the lotion.

But on most days, I'm forced to go braless (I'm a 38C), which makes me look and feel like a pasture animal.

Any advice out there?

17 Replies
Tothemax profile image

The only thing I can think of is for you to hunt high and low for a bra that is designed for sensitive skin like yours. Surely there must be one out there somewhere?

That's exactly what I've done. There is a firm named Ana Ono that specializes in bras for women who have had mastectomies, but so far, their T-Back would have too much spandex for me. There is another start-up in England that looks promising, but they're not running yet.

Thank you for the advice, and if you hear of any other companies like those, let me know!

try these maybe ? x

Lalanna profile image
Lalanna in reply to georgie_247

Thank you for responding.

I must tell you, I have tried Cottonique (panties) and although they are supposed to be free of everything that bothers me, there was some kind of material around the legs that hurt like crazy. I know a lot of people have had good experiences with this brand, though. When trying to find a replacement, one firm that custom-makes underwear told me that Cottonique does in fact use elastic with some of their products, and that jibes with my experience.

Again, thank you for taking the time to write!

please go to a doctor and find out what can be given to you to help better, also to find out if you are allergic to anything else ..the correct creams /meds are very important and using a hand cream may not be the solution after all its just for hands there are many aromatherapy solutions out there but before you buy anything else please seek professional help first. good luck

Lalanna profile image
Lalanna in reply to barbarelli

Thank you for your caring response.

I must tell you that I've done all the things you've recommended.

I've been patch-tested, so I know that I'm allergic to disperse dyes and black rubber.

Over and above these allergies, I've developed these additional (non-allergic) sensitivities to fabrics, especially in bras, which are up so close against the skin. (Even cotton can feel like sandpaper.)

I've visited many dermatologists and for the most part they have not been helpful.

However, the lotion I am using was recommended by a wonderful dermatologist who specializes in eczema.

Together, we tested out eight possible remedies. It was only this particular lotion that brought results.

As a result, I can wear an exercise bra once or twice a week or a "special occasion" bra I found that chafes less than all the others. I can wear this up to twice a week, but only if I skip the sports bra Again, I have to lotion up my whole torso before I wear either one of these bras, both before and after.

The sports bra is made from very thin cotton and the thinnest possible spandex. It's the only sports bra I can tolerate at all.

The "special occasion bra" has cups made of a very silky nylon that just slides over my skin. The spandex in the bra is very thin and very minimal. (It's actually a maternity bra!)

Nonetheless, I am constantly searching for new answers.

That's why I post on forums like this one.

I'd like to be able to wear a bra every day like I used to.

Maybe someone online will come up with an answer!

Thank you again for your concern!

barbarelli profile image
barbarelli in reply to Lalanna

I wish you good luck in finding a solution keep us posted and as a previous skin sufferer I do sympathise with you I went to a herbalist who had had fifty years of experience in his field he made up concuctions for me not very nice to drink but they worked in clearing up my problem he also told me to keep off sugars permanently this was specific to me though they treat everyone as an individual I wouldn't go to a chinese practioner though as I did in the past and was told by my dentist that it was efffecting my gums and to stop immediately .. the herbalist I went to was very old and has passed away but I will always be grateful to him .. he balanced my system Im not trying to tell everyone to do this but it worked for me and the more information that's 'out there' than people can meke their own informed decisions.. thats why i am on the forum I still get bouts of Rocesca breakouts as I am in the menopause oh what joy!!!!

Lalanna profile image
Lalanna in reply to barbarelli

Sorry for the late reply.

So... I can't do aromatherapy because I'm allergic to fragrances.

So far, the therapeutic hand cream is the best solution I've found.

It was recommended by a leading dermatologist specializing in eczema, so I have received professional help. He is the one who recommended it.

Try getting a seamstress to make up a bra to fit you specifically that does not use any of the materials you cannot tolerate. These would look similar to Mediaeval or Ancient bras that exist in small numbers, and could be made from linen, silk, flax. The fit is important as there is less give in the fabric (cut on bias and straight in different places to maximise support and fit as required, but far less than the off the shelf designs, which use a lot of elastic to make up for a host of fitting errors.

A less fitted alternative is of course camisole tops, but they offer much less support than a bra if they are not structured and sized appropriately for that purpose.

You could also check whether the bra sizing you currently have is correct, as poor support and chafing can result from poor selection of band size and cup (which varies between styles/manufacturers and as the band increases).

Lalanna profile image
Lalanna in reply to Lieste

Thank you for the reply!

I've been professionally fitted so I know my bra size. I have also tried camisoles, but these too have spandex and they irritate my skin. Also I'm kind of large on top.

Love the idea about the seamstress, though! All I have to do is find her!

Again, many thanks!

Have you found anything that helps your skin sensitivity to your bra. My skin crawls around where the bra band is and feels like sandpaper. I can’t figure out why i can’t stand to wear a bra anymore and elastic on the top of pantyhose bothers me too but not as bad as the bra. I read you post from a year ago and was curious. Can you help what you have learned?

Yes, I have found something that works -- the Athletican bra, which is marketed as hypoallergenic and seems to be for me.

It is 100 percent nylon -- very soft, smooth and breathable.

It's supposed to be for sports but can be worn everyday, too. It's not beautiful, but it works. It runs small, so order a size up. You can get it on amazon.

To maximize its comfort, I like to use a moisturizer on my torso before putting it on.

I just barely bought a sports bra tonight because the bands were a little larger but not hypoallergenic so i will take them back and try the other. Thank you. I use Cerave all over my torso and back now and sometimes it makes a little difference. I even take no name allergy pills because of this and the dr seemed to think i was making too much histamine in my body. We will try the new bra! Thanks.

The problem you described -- skin feeling like sandpaper, "crawling" skin -- is identical to what I experienced (and continue to experience) whenever I wear anything wearing with even a tiny amount of spandex, lycra, elastane, polyamide, etc.

So I HOPE this bra works for you as well as it works for me. They also make a bathing suit and underpants.

Let me know how it turns out, OK?


I relate to everything you suffer from. I’ve resorted to braless also. I’m small busted but it’s still not a good look ( in fact, awful)

I thought I was sensitive to sweat, but I believe it’s certain fabrics also. But I have a rash on lots of areas of my body. Seeing a derm , but creams and steroid shot haven’t helped. What is the cream you use before wearing bra?

It’s good to know I don’t suffer alone.


The cream is Cerave Therapeutic Hand cream.

It has a unique consistency, which seems to seal the skin.

It can be a pain to apply, especially since each tube is good for only three torso's full, and the third application is very hard to squeeze out of the tube.

Now that I've found the Athletican all-nylon bra, I can often get away with just using plain old Cerave moisture lotion.

The pump bottle is much easier to use, although I know I'd do even better if I used the therapeutic hand cream.

I have had this problem in the past probably not the the same materials though.

I had to put a cotton tee shirt next to my skin and a bra over the tee shirt until my skin settled down.

Just a thought

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