Allergic to Bras?? Anyone Else??

Updated on February 05, 2013
R.L. asks from Frisco, TX
14 answers

I know it sounds funny but I seem to be allergic to some brands of bras. It seems to be Maidenform and Werner at this point. Just one day of wearing and I have itchy red breasts for weeks! It’s awful! Right now I am down to only being able to wear my Bravado nursing bras (and I’m not nursing)!! It isn’t my laundry soap. Has this happened to anyone else? Any recommendations for a “clean” good bra?

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I swear I am allergic to any bras with lace or latex on them. I agree you may have an allergy to the following or a combo of the following ingredients: synthetic fibers, rubber, elastic, latex, lace, lycra, spandex. Try finding one where all the components are 100% cotton or organic cotton including the straps, cups, band and lining/stuffing if you use one with that in it.

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answers from Austin on

Well... I just posted a response about this in regard to another question...

You might be experiencing a latex allergy. Certain kinds of elastic (especially the cheaper brands) often contains latex. I have to spend more on bras and underwear, looking for the kind that do not have exposed elastic or uses a different type of stretchy material instead of elastic.

Here is info from Wikipedia ( on
Irritant contact dermatitis and Type IV (allergic contact dermatitis) due to latex... You can decide if it is similar to your current reaction:

1.) Irritant contact dermatitis: It can also cause irritant contact dermatitis: The most common type of reaction. This causes dry, itchy, irritated areas on the skin, most often on the hands. It can be caused by the irritation of using gloves, or it can also be caused by exposure to other workplace products.

2.) Also known as allergic contact dermatitis. This involves a delayed skin rash that is similar to poison ivy with blistering and oozing of the skin (see urushiol-induced contact dermatitis). This type is caused by a naturally occurring latex protein. Type IV reactions are caused by the chemicals used to process the rubber. Patch testing needs to be done to verify which type of chemical triggers the reaction. Once the chemical is identified, then the person can choose products that are not processed with that chemical. Both natural rubber and synthetic rubber products may cause type IV reactions.

I am allergic to latex. However, I was not always allergic; the sensitivity develops due to repeated exposure and gets worse after each incident of exposure. I no longer have the simple 'rash reaction' (red, itchy angry rash where your skin is in contact with latex.) I know get flu-like symptoms which can interfere with my breathing (stage 2 congestion/coughing, not anaphylactic shock yet).

Like I said, the more exposure someone has, the greater the potential that they may develop a latex reaction. Here is some info on latex allergies (in regard to elastic):

The last link is good if you need help in finding latex free products. I've pasted in the brand info on undergarments:

Hygeia - Latex-free underwear
Decent Exposures (800-524-4949) - Latex-free elastic for bras, underwear, swim suits
Blue Canoe (888-923-1373) - Latex-free clothing
Vermont Country Store ###-###-####) - Latex-free socks
Dr. Leonard's Healthcare Catalog (800-785-0880) - Non-binding, latex-free cotton socks
TechSpun (800-392-8500) - Latex-free socks
Kathy Ireland cotton/lycra/nylon (Kmart)
Cotton socks without elastic
Cottonique (1-888-90-COTTON) - Latex-free bras, underwear, t-shirts & boxers. (for both men and women)

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answers from San Antonio on

Never had this happen but maybe the synthetic fibers are causing the rash. Maybe try some sort of organic bras or just plain cotton. Sorry I don't really have experience with this.



answers from Chicago on

It could be the fibers in the bras, but also a lot of clothing, especially if it is made overseas and shipped here, is stored with all sorts of chemicals, like formaldehyde to keep it bug-free, etc. Are you still having this reaction after washing the bras? I would try hand-washing them with something gentle like Dreft or a lingerie soap in the sink and hanging them to dry. If they are still itching you after that- give it up and try a different bra ! Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

I have traced my similar problem to fabrics that contain Spandex (Lycra Spandex/Elastane.) It is very difficult to find anything without spandex or elastane in it.
I was really disappointed to find that almost all organic cotton clothing contains spandex. "Only textile products that contain a minimum of 70% organic fibres can become certified according to GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard.)" You have to read the label on everything. I found a class action suit against Victoria Secrets by women affected by pesticides/chemicals sprayed on bras to keep them bug/mold free in shipping. I have looked at cotton/hemp/linen/silk bras. They may not list it, but the bands will have spandex. Sometimes the fabric will contain it--if it is at all stretchy, be suspicious. Read the wikipedia article on spandex...invented in 1959.
Latex comes from the rubber tree but spandex comes from chemicals. I am having excellent results buying clothing that uses latex for the stretch factor. Check out (which has spandex free undies!) Also, consider sewing or having someone else sew your bras. That's what I'm doing. I wash and wear the fabrics and elastics first to make sure I won't react.
I also had a latex-allergy friend tell me that it is a good idea to avoid spandex in everything--check your jeans, sweatpants, cotton tees, etc., because you may be continually irritating yourself without really being aware. Once an area becomes irritated, that area keeps flaring up. I think this is going to be a problem for a lot of people in the future.


answers from Dallas on

do you have a latex allergy? Certain designs of the bras you mentioned do have latex in them. I cannot wear anything that allows latex to come into direct contact with my skin. It will cause me to itch and result in a nasty chemical burn.



answers from New York on

OMG I'm so glad to hear someone else has this issue. I started having issues around xmas. We were away so I was sure it was the detergent. Itchy with some hives too under the bra about 1" or 2". We went out west to ski and the hives were all over my boobs. I went to the local hospital and got a fancy cream and was given prednison (which I didn't take) cause the cream helped after 3 days of issues. The sweating under near and the nylon/spandex bra, add in the underwire, was horrible. I went without a bra, just like a hippy from the 60's. I just got home from the trip, washed the new cotton bras in woolite and so far so good. You're welcome to email me direct ([email protected] Good luck.



answers from Bellingham on

It is not sound funny. I have had this problem for several years. I got it from Victoria Secret bras. A dermatologist can give you some ointment for treatment. It will take about a week to get rid of it. In the meantime going without a bra. Yes, Warners and Maidenform bras along with Donna Karen and Soma bras. I have been doing a lot of research on this problem.

It is the formaldehyde used in processing the fabrics to keep them from staining and to keep the fabric looking crisp. It also keeps them from getting mildew and molds in the fabric while being shipped in hot containers.

I have finally found some sites that are helpful in finding chemical free bras.

I have not purchased anything yet, but thought I might try something from Ecoland. I guess some Whole Foods stores carry them.

Good Luck.



answers from Hickory on

Yes!!!!!!!! For several years! I thought that I had shingles once, but rash was on both sides of breast. After researching my allergy to sulfer drugs, I took my info to Dr. and he agreed that I had a reaction to rubber/accelerators.
It has been awful for me as I am an odd size 34DD. Can't find shoes or underwear. Have to wash my hands if I touch a rubberband. My face will break out around my mouth when I go to the dentist. Sometimes, when I've tried a new bra, my skin will blister where the elastic touches it. Once, I had to keep the electrode hookups on my body for 24 hours... Yep you guessed it, I had serious square blisters when they came off. My toenails react badly with sneakers.
I think that more and more people are having this problem. My hubby told me that his feet itched after wearing some new socks just purchased.
We seriously need an underwear company to help. I need underwear!Cottonique seems to be out-of-stock, mostly.



answers from Seattle on

It is definitely toxic chemicals embedded in the fabric. I have had terrible, scary lesions on my body after wearing 2 different Warner's bras. I have emailed and written the company about this, but they refuse to take any responsibility for it. They say it is not the bras but there is no doubt whatsoever that it is. They say the chemicals are proprietary and won't tell me which ones are causing this. Of course I would never ever buy a Warner's bra again.



answers from Pittsburgh on

My mo gets reactions from the elastic bands under the breasts. I think Dr. Rey bras have aloe vera in the elastic part--I found a nice Dr Rey bra at Sears.



answers from New York on

Go to Cottonique - they sell organic 100% cotton bras - no latex. Very comfortable. I enjoy them very much.



answers from Tulsa on

I tend to get a rash from my bras and it's not only the fabric or nylon it could be many other things. It really could be your laundry soap, no other part of your body stays in contact with fabric washed longer than your breasts. it could be the dryer sheets, bleach, the fabric softener, etc....I think mine is related to heat. The pores on my breasts get more open when they stay heated from all the layers of clothes. That way they get more easily irritated. The sweaty environment can also cause a yeast rash to grow. I use a good quality powder all the time. It creates a barrier that prohibits moistness. I use Gold Bond or Baby Powder with Corn Starch.



answers from Appleton on

I have had problems with bras that contain latex. They cause a lot of itching on my breasts and abdomen. Playtex bras seemed to be the culprit. Since I changed brands the itching has stopped.

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