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What kind of bra is best from a health perspective?
From a health perspective there are a 3 main considerations in choosing a bra.
- Friction induced skin changes
How do friction induced skin changes affect the skin around the breasts?
There is a common skin condition called intertrigo. This is a rash that occurs between two skin surfaces such as under and between the breasts. This rash can become secondarily infected with yeast.
How can the right bra help avoid this concern?
To avoid this concern there are two ways a bra can play a role. Although some of my patients will switch to sports bras or bralettes, the challenge is that, over time, without an underwire the elastic band under the breasts will slowly stretch, move or pull away leading to further skin irritation. An underwire can help or prevent this by providing more structure. In order to gain the benefit of an underwire without irritation and pressure, make sure your bra is fitted properly.
The other feature of a bra to seek are separate cups that create a space or gap between the breasts. A bra that pulls the breasts together such as a sports bra with shelf support can actually trigger or aggravate intertrigo or a yeast infection between the breasts.
The Leonisa Back Smoothing Bra offers multiple benefits:
The separate full coverage cups separate the breasts to avoid friction between the breasts.
The wider underbust band smoothes out and separate the inframammary (i.e., "underboob") area to avoid heat and moisture building up in the skin.
The widened back smoothing fabric minimizes the risk of skin folds developing on the back and flanks.
How can choosing the right bra help with posture?
Gradually slouching while sitting at a computer, driving, working with small children, gardening, or other activities can lead to one of the most common issues I am indirectly asked about.
"There is this spot on my back that is so itchy!"
Notalgia is a tendency to want to itch along the winged bone of the scapula often as a result of nerves being pinched or impinged as they exit the spinal cord. Although I routinely recommend the use of back straps or posture correctors to help alleviate this symptom, a properly fit bra can also assist with posture and reduce this symptom.
Shop now for Posture Correctors..
This Leonisa Bra offers wireless support with posture corrector built in. With a built in posture corrector, the need for an underwire is reduced. With contour cups the risk of intertrigo is reduced.
The Glamorise bra lifts without a wire, provides full coverage support and back support. The widened straps are an added bonus to reduce the risk of straps digging into the shoulders through the course of the day
Let's talk about fabric- How does the textile influence the bra we should choose?
Hormonal changes, flushing, temperature changes can often lead to sweating. The textile a bra is made with can either help or hurt the impact of sweating on the skin.
Textiles vary widely in how much bacteria they hold. Bacteria get caught up in the weave. There are many antimicrobial textiles that integrate silver into the weave for its antimicrobial qualities. This can reduce two major concerns:
- Risks of recurrent folliculitis.
Odor is the result of bacteria acting in sweat. If there was no bacteria here there would be no odor.
One of the most common conditions I treat is the 'staph carrier state' where bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus) takes up residence on our skin and can lead to recurrent infections. The breasts and underarms are one of most common locations to see these breakouts.
Most bras are made of a nylon/elastane blend. This is likely ideal as the nylon provides support while the elastane component helps it stretch for comfort.
ExOfficio Women's Give-N-Go CrossOver Bra
This bra is treated with an antimicrobial treatment.
What is the best way to care for my bras?
So to sum up the best bra is... ?
A full coverage, underwire bras with possible back support can help the most. Most bras are made of a nylon/elastane blend. This is likely ideal as the nylon provides support while the elastane component helps it stretch for comfort.
Does anyone really need underwire?
An underwire can be very helpful for those that need extra support.
Is underwire potentially harmful?
Underwires themselves are not the problem. They can be potentially harmful if ill fitting. Pinching, irritation and digging into the skin can cause soreness and sensitivities.