How to Stop Bras From Chafing and Digging Into Your Sides

How to Stop Bras From Chafing and Digging Into Your Sides

It can be difficult to find a supportive bra that also feels good. 

Chafing is a common issue with bras, and those wearing the wrong bra size are even more likely to experience this form of skin irritation.

Learn what causes bra chafing and how to stop it. 

Why does my sports bra chafe? 

Sports bra chafing can often feel like an unavoidable problem, and there are several reasons why you might experience irritation, as described below:

Material-on-Skin or Skin-on-Skin Rubbing

The primary cause of sports bra chafing is the repeated rubbing of material-on-skin or skin-on-skin  during exercise. High-intensity sports or workouts with vigorous movements will typically cause more rubbing and chafing. You will likely find irritation beneath your breasts, under your armpits, at your sides, or anywhere else your bra fits over. 

Incorrect Sports Bra Size

Most women wear the incorrect bra size - and therefore sports bra size - and this is likely to cause a lot of chafing because the material will either be too tight on your skin, or too loose, causing more friction. Make sure to carefully check the bra size chart of your sports bra manufacturer prior to purchase. If you need additional help finding your size, read our blog post on how to find your correct sports bra size to find your perfect fit and minimize discomfort.

Uncomfortable Sports Bra Material

Most sports bras are made from synthetic fabrics, such as spandex and nylon. These materials are designed to provide extra support and are necessary to manufacture high-support sports bras, but they can also cause skin irritation, especially for those with sensitive skin.

The best way to avoid or reduce the severity of this issue is to remove your sports bra immediately after exercising. Also, consider taking a shower right after your workouts and changing into a more comfortable bra

In addition to reducing chafing and being more comfortable, this will help free your skin of harmful bacteria or irritants that may have built up during your workout.


Chafing from your bra may be more severe if you sweat a lot while exercising. The salt in your sweat causes extra friction, which means more chafing and discomfort. You can minimize this by wearing a bra with moisture-wicking and cooling properties. Like we mentioned above, showering right after your workouts and changing out of your sports bras can help remove sweat and therefore minimize further irritation.


How do I stop my bra from chafing my armpits? 

Chafing is not only an issue with sports bras. Your everyday bra can cause chafing as well, and many experience this around their armpit area. There are several ways to prevent chafing under the armpits, depending on the root cause of the issue.

Wear the Correct Size

It’s essential to wear the correct bra size, as one that is too small or too large can cause various issues, including chafing. Find your perfect size in the comfort of your own home through our online Fitting Room Quiz, or check out our guide to measuring your bra size on your own with a soft tape measure. If you ever need any help finding your perfect fit or style, click “chat with us” to get advice from our Fit Stylists.

Material and Construction

Your bra’s material and construction play an important role in comfort. Make sure your bra is made of soft, flexible, and breathable material. If you have especially sensitive skin, you might find those made of natural materials, like cotton bras, most comfortable.

If you already have a bra made of a nice fabric but find that you are still chafing, check the construction of your bra. Those with heavy seams tend to be less comfortable than seamless bras as the seams themselves can rub against your skin. The seams could also make the bra less flexible against your body, causing irritation.

Why does my bra hurt my sides?

There are three primary reasons why your bra is hurting your sides: 

  1. You’re wearing the wrong size of bra (most likely too tight). 
  2. The style of bra you’re wearing is not ideal for your breast shape. 
  3. Underwire may be poking out through the fabric or digging into your skin. 

How do you treat chafing under a bra? 

You have several options for treating chafing under your bra: 

  • Applying anti-chafe products, such as creams, lotions, and butters.
  • Applying a cornstarch mix before exercising to help wick away moisture. 
  • Keeping the area clean and dry. 
  • Wearing a softer bra (or no bra at all) while the area heals.

At ThirdLove, we understand that wearing a bra sucks for most. That’s why we designed ones that are so comfortable, you can wear it all day, every day. Made with premium fabrics & luxe details, we’ve got your bra-blems taken care of, so you can be confident that you’re wearing the best bra for your body.