Wearing a supportive sports bra while exercising is critical to avoiding discomfort and straining the ligaments around your breasts, and delay sagging. As you work out and perspire, the accumulated sweat and dampness within your sports bra can cause chafing, irritation and a skin rash on and around your breasts.
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In many cases, good hygiene and choosing the right bra can alleviate this uncomfortable condition. If your rash is severe or does not respond to home-care remedies, see your doctor.
If your sports bra causes you to sweat and even get a rash, you have to make some changes. Get the right fit and a bra that has moisture-wicking ability.
Rash From a Sports Bra
Keeping your skin clean and dry can allow your irritated skin to heal and might prevent a rash from a sports bra from ever appearing. After exercising, shower and wash the area well with a mild soap. Pat your skin dry, ensuring that you dry well under your breasts. Wash your sports bra after each use because allowing perspiration to dry on the bra, then wearing it again, could cause further irritation. In some cases, perspiration causes a rash when mixed with residue from laundry detergent. Try switching to an unscented brand of laundry detergent.
Choosing Your Bra
Pick a sports bra that fits snugly, without rubbing or riding up, but that is not too tight. If your bra moves while you exercise, it could chafe the skin on the areas that it touches. You should only be able to fit one finger between your skin and the band. Once you have worn and washed your bra several dozen times, the elastic might start to stretch, causing the bra to be too large. At this point, you might need to replace the bra if you cannot adjust it to make it tighter.
Buy a bra made of breathable, moisture-wicking fabric, such as Coolmax, according to the University of Colorado Hospital. The fabric is a blend of polyester fabrics —not the cotton you might expect — that sport oblong fibers with lengthwise grooves. It's these fibers that wick sweat away from your skin.
Read more: The Best Sports Bras for Every Workout
Treating the Rash
Once your rash is washed and dried, treat the rash to minimize discomfort and to allow it to heal. If it is a dry rash, such as one caused by eczema, applying a thick moisturizer and hydrocortisone cream can help. If the area is chafed, go braless if possible and wear a loose, cotton shirt to allow your skin to breathe. Cool compresses can help relieve itching and burning reports Mayo Clinic. A severe rash warrants a trip to the doctor because you might need a topical antibiotic.
Read more: Causes of Itching Breasts
Keep Yourself Dry
You might be more prone to a rash from your bra and sweat if you are overweight. Intertrigo, a rash that occurs in the folds of skin, such as under your breasts says Breast Cancer Care. It's more common in people who have overweight or diabetes, but it can happen to anyone. If you are prone to a rash under your breasts, drying the area with a hair dryer after showering might help prevent irritation.