Victoria’s Secret may be putting more into their bras than boobies

So, I started to itch. Uncontrollably. I’ve heard of jock itch. But breast itch? Could there be so such a thing? All I know is that mine started itching wickedly. We’re talking chicken pox covered in poison oak itchy. You can’t NOT scratch. Even to the point of bruising.

No joke.

It was that bad, and I scratched myself raw. And it wasn’t the first time this had happened, but it was most definitely the worst. I was covered in welts, red everywhere and miserable. My skin was dry and papery, particularly on the nipples.

“Don’t be shocked,” I warned my husband before pulling up my blouse to show him.

He didn’t heed the warning.

“EWWWW!!!” he exclaimed and backed away a little, and told me to get to a doctor.

Needless to say, he took one look at me and there was no romance in the midst of my mammary misery. Nothing says “Not tonight, honey” like diseased breasts.

Sadly, the doctor couldn’t see me for another week, so I got some Cortisone cream from the drug store and within a couple days, it all cleared up. By the time my appointment rolled around, there was nothing to look at, although my doc tried. All she noted was some really dry skin, and chalked it up to an allergic reaction.

Hmmm… now we have a mammary misery mystery.

I tried to think what I’d done that seemed to trigger this. One, I’d used a shower puff that’s been hanging unused for a couple weeks in the show, and on it, had used Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap. Maybe the shower puff had invisible fungus? Yuck. It couldn’t be the soap. That’s very mild, organic and typically soothing to the skin. And besides… if it was either the puff or the soap, I’d have gotten the welts everywhere. I didn’t.

What else?

I remembered what bra I was wearing that day… Victoria’s Secret all-cotton heather gray. I washed and dried it, and with the rash all cleared up, wore it for a day. The welts began returning in less than 24 hours.

Aha. A clue.

So, I put my investigative journalism skills to use and Googled “Victoria’s Secret bra rash” and the search results lit up, going back as far as 2008. There were stories by credible news agencies, and even a CBS video of an interview with a woman about my age, who, like me, had been wearing Victoria’s Secret bras for decades without incident, and suddenly… a painful, itchy rash on her breasts. They showed photos, and it was identical to what I had.

Bingo.

The report said the trouble began when Victoria’s Secret switched from a manufacturer in India and to one in China. Suddenly women started reporting the rashes. The likely culprit? Formaldehyde. FORMALDEHYDE. You know — the stuff they use to embalm bodies, to preserve them longer! Victoria – I have a secret for you: I don’t want you to preserve my breasts, just hold them up comfortably and attractively. I may be 53, but my breasts aren’t dead yet! They only look that way!

I relayed all my research findings to my husband, and he had one reaction: Burn that bra!

Haha… I could claim to be reinvigorating classic 1970s Feminism and get double mileage out of that burn! However, The bra in question being a 40DD and all, I didn’t want to risk starting a wildfire in our recent wicked California winds, so I chucked it in the trash. It’s been a week since my second breast test and I’m happy to report that the girls are once again looking fine and healthy. Now all I have to do is lift my blouse back up so my husband knows I’m safe again.

I guess the thing that bugs me most about this whole breast rash ordeal is that the stories I found online date back to 2008. I purchased this bra less than a year ago. And, as anyone who’s ever purchased anything from Victoria’s Secret can attest, those bras ain’t cheap. They cost at least twice what they’re worth, for no good reason really, other than customers buy into the marketing spin that they’ll make you as sexy as those sultry waifs who model their products. They won’t, of course, but I must say their products fit like nothing else, frame the work nicely, and are comfortable. It keeps you coming back.

So, therein you have the reason for customer loyalty. How shocking to discover that customers are being repaid for that loyalty by products infused with toxins that cause allergic reactions. I could understand that Victoria’s Secret didn’t realize what was going on in their Chinese manufacturing in 2008. But in the four years since — they apparently haven’t done anything to address it either. They know we’ll keep buying their products and figuring that we’re just allergic to the laundry soap we use. That really pisses me off. Enough to start looking for a different company to support my girls.

So, Victoria, your secret’s out: It seems you’re putting a lot more into your bras than boobies.

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224 thoughts on “Victoria’s Secret may be putting more into their bras than boobies

  1. First time ive been glad VS never stock anything above a D so i cant buy from them….and they always look so pretty. Oh well. lucky break hah

    • Yes, they ignore the larger sizes, it’s true. But online, you can find them easily. The said thing about this story is… those all-cotton bras are the most comfortable things in the world!

  2. Had an ah hah moment today and realised it was my VS bras causing a painful rash on my breasts. Googled rash and VS bras and discovered I wasn’t the only one. As a loyal customer for many years I feel betrayed and angry.

    • Wow… this was TODAY? How old is your bra? This is STILL going on??? I also feel very betrayed. I have been a customer for 20+ years. And they’ve known about this problem for years, and not only haven’t done anything about it, they’re just going on their merry way continuing to do it! Wonder what it will take to make VS take this seriously? The rash you get is agonizing!

  3. I was Googling to see if there was such a thing as a hypoallergenic bra when I came across your article. I’ve been a VS customer for years! I’ve just had the same problem with my new bras. A terribly itchy, red rash where the straps touch my skin and under my breasts. I thought I was crazy to think it was my bra, but I guess not! I’m going to contact the company. Keep your finger’s crossed!!

  4. Thank you so much for your blog. The itching is so terrible. I have been so excited about being able to wear VS bras again after losing so much weight. I will be contacting their customer service folks and will be looking for bras elsewhere.

  5. I never had trouble with any bras from Victorias Secret until the most recent purchase I made in March 2013. After completing a year of breastfeeding my son, I treated myself to 4 new bras ($$$). All of them cause the itching! To the point that I have to take the bra off and scratch, scratch, scratch. It is 2 different styles of bra, both of them are their newer creations (I think one is called Fabulous or something), but they are awful. I will be switching back to my much cheaper Maidenform or equal brand that I can buy at Kihl’s for a fraction of the price!

    • Hello Karen – seems that the problem with Victoria’s Secret bras isn’t going away. I have been a loyal customer for so long, I don’t even know what I will go back to now. Thanks for sharing your story. Maybe if enough women complain, Victoria’s Secret will stop saturating their products in chemicals.

  6. I have been Googling for days to find what could possibly be causing a painful, burning itch on my breasts in the exact shape of my bra – and after eliminating new soap powder, handwashing all my bras with gentle non-soap, then wearing them all over different days, I believe I identified the culprit – a new (ish) VS bra. Then I found this blog ! I am going to alert the company headquarters in the US ( I live in Sydney) . I will post any response back here.

    • Dear Liz,
      Isn’t it astonishing and frustrating? And there doesn’t seem to be any response from the company! All the problems started with they switched their production from India to China. I certainly hope they switch it back, or find the source of the problem! I’m not buying anything from them again until I hear news about it. PLEASE post any response you get here!

  7. I came here looking for potential reasons for my itchy breasts that seemed to have developed the last 2 weeks. I have a bunch of VS bras myself and didn’t seem to have any issues. However a couple months ago I got a pretty new gel pushup and still quite like it. Now for some reason (I honestly don’t remember if there was a reason) I switched to a couple of older VS bras the last few weeks and have been itchy as heck! I stopped putting them in the dryer (thinking of lengthening their lives) but now I’m wondering if having put them in the dryer before killed off whatever it is that is now bothering me. Now I’m off to search if formaldehyde is killed/weakened by heat….. Maybe putting them back in the dryer will help?
    Last night I tried just rinsing them in the washer, no detergent at all, and air dying.
    Today hasn’t been as bad, but then again as soon as I got home last night, off came the bra and I showered and still was itchy this morning!

    • Hi Clio,
      I had this happen too. The itchiness would come and go, and I could never put my finger on what was causing it. I was hoping it wasn’t some form of breast cancer at one point! But the time I was referring to in this column… the reaction was a quantum leap worse than all the other times. UNBELIEVABLE welts and redness, and the itching was irresistible.
      I don’t normally put bras in the dryer, but I’d be interested to know if you discovered anything. Try not wearing the bras for awhile and see what happens. I’d be interested to know what you discover!

  8. I also have worn VS bras for years. Love them…until now. Bought two new ones about 2 months ago and have had the problem with itching. Mine were made in Sri Lanka and are Body by Victoria. So frustrating because I love these bras. I, too, will contact the company now that I’ve figured out what is causing the rash.

    • Dear Bonnie,
      I share in your frustration. I am so happy with VS products in every other way. Now I am reluctant to buy anything from them. And so, the search begins to find something else I like, if VS won’t do anything about this. I wonder how many women are out there, itching madly, and blaming their lotion, fabric softener, perfume – everything but their bra!

  9. I feel so stupid that it has taken me so long to put all this together. Been battling this rash under my arms, on my breasts and on the front of my shoulders for several years now off and on. Wasn’t too terrible at first and I have seen a dermatologist for it but the only thing that clears it is steroid cream which I don’t like to use very long. But, it’s been getting worse and it is ridiculous to be clawing your breasts out in public from the intense itching! It is so clear now that it’s from my bras because the rash is at the strap, the cups and under the arms, and now I’m seeing some on my back at the closure. It’s a perfect outline of my bra. I’ve had these Body by Victoria bras for 2-3 years. After my son was born, I decided to splurge and buy myself some nice, new bras. Ugh! So is there anything I can do? I’m just thankful to know the source so this nightmare can end.

    • Michelle, don’t feel stupid. It took me – and many others – a long time to put all the pieces together. Because you swap out your bras, it takes awhile before you notice that it’s a particular one, and you start to see the pattern. The real insult here is that VS knows about it, and hasn’t done anything about it. My only solution was to throw the bra away (yes, that stung!) and not buy any more. Right now, I’m just limping through with my old ones, and am still trying to find something else. I would say – trash the bra, make sure you use soothing, healing pure oil on your skin, like olive, sesame or coconut oil, and let your skin heal. I wore workout tops because they breathe more.
      And… since I threw that bra away? Not one rash.
      And… it wouldn’t hurt to write to VS and tell them about your experience. Maybe if enough people do so, they won’t be able to ignore it anymore.
      Please let me know how you are doing after you stop using the bras. I will be interested to know if your problem clears up.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  10. I have the same problem, but a different case. The ugly bruise is on top of my left breast. It started getting itchy, i thought it was just due to the heat since we were in Gilroy that time. Like most of you, I love VS products, but no amount of pretty little lacy things could make me forget. I am very vain when it comes to my skin, and seeing this red, ugly line across my breast is pure torture.

  11. Hello, I have had the same problem with bras purchased over the past couple years. Same rash, itchiness, little red bumps. At first I thought it was the push up foam, but its happening in the non-push up kind too. I’m so disappointed because I love the bras and now don’t know where to buy cute, quality bras, that are not toxic like this. Any suggestions are appreciated!

    • Hello Hali,
      I wish I had a great solution for you, but the only one I have is to throw the bras away. 😦 Like you, I really love VS bras, but not if they’re going to poison me. I have been looking into Soma bras, but I was disappointed that they don’t have any all-cotton bras. I prefer those. You gave me an idea – I think I’ll go on a quest to find a new favorite bra!

  12. Thanks for the reply. Have you tried the department stores like Nordstoms, Macy’s or such? I wonder if other lingerie shops also contain chemicals too. I’ll try those next.

    • Hello again, Hali. No, I haven’t gone on a bra-shopping field trip yet, but I will. One thing I liked about VS was that it was so easy to buy things online. I guess I will have to go out and do it the old-fashioned way now. But, Macy’s will be my first stop.

  13. I wrote to VS and here is their response back. Now I don’t know what to think. I will try a dept. store and see if I notice any reaction.
    “I would like to assure you that we do not and have not ever used formaldehyde in our bras. You are certainly welcome to return or exchange any bra that does not meet your expectations. I would like to invite you to review our “Bras are Safe Facts” online. Below, I’ve provided a link for your convenience.
    http://limitedbrands.com/newsroom/our_responses/responses_bras.asp
    If there is anything more we can answer for you, please reply to this email and we will be happy to assist you further.”

    • Hi Hali,
      Thanks for the link! I am still skeptical, however. Note the carefully chosen language… that they follow “industry standards.” There are no industry standards in China. They say that “VS does not add formaldeyhde.” But the formaldehyde could already be in the fabric itself, and TECHNICALLY they aren’t lying. They say that some customers may have skin reactions, but don’t really address that and just link you to another sight.
      Moreover, they LIED! They news reports linked in my blog above showed that their products manufactured in China contained formaldehyde – studies conducted by independent scientists.
      Also… look at the pattern. Women who are reporting these problems are all complaining about VS products specifically. I have yet to hear from someone whose rash was caused by another product line.
      So… what I think is really going on is that VS is choosing some very careful language, with advice from their legal department, that appears to absolve them from any wrongdoing — because to admit this problem would be the death of their brand. So, they’re essentially brushing it under the carpet and hoping the problem will just go away. However – they are still manufacturing in China.
      Maybe the test is for all of us to buy a NEW bra, right now, and see what happens. Maybe they’ve quietly solved the problem. But – that doesn’t excuse them from covering it up.

      • They definitely didn’t resolve it because I just bought a new bra two weeks ago and I started to get the itching just a few days ago. Formaldehyde is caused from air and water and other factors…. Just yesterday it was 93 degrees in the city and I was obviously sweating a lot. So that caused the reaction to actually take action.

  14. I’m not sure if anyone else posted this or not but I also found out that formaldehyde has carcinogen. Which causes cancer. So honestly, I don’t know what this company is doing and I’m not specifically blaming them for doing what I’m about to say.. But lets do the math here. Formaldehyde in bras + carcinogen in formaldehyde + Victoria’s (not so much) Secret……

  15. @Julialin21: Regarding your other comment about your newly purchased bra – that is really disheartening. It’s interesting that you note that heat and humidity can make the problem worse. When I had my most recent issue, the weather was warming up and I was using coconut oil as a body moisturizer, which really holds in moisture. I think VS is flat-out lying to customers to protect its brand, and its carefully chosen statements like “We do not add formaldehyde to our products” doesn’t address ANYTHING that China is adding to its fabric.
    We are being scammed… and possibly poisoned.

    • Marcelia Theresa – Now, THAT is an interesting idea! That might get attention! It’s too late for this year, but if we planned ahead… maybe a national , “No more BS, VS!” day – everyone shows up with bras in hand and asks for a refund? Or, maybe we make a pile and burn them, but this time liberating ourselves from being poisoned and manipulated?

  16. I wore nothing but VS bras for over ten years. Same style, same colors, the only thing that ever changed was the size after I had kids. Then I bought two new bras in June 2011. I washed them and wore one on July 4th that year. Within an hour I started to itch. By the next day I was covered red welts and tiny puss filled pimples everywhere the bra touched my skin, except for the strap area. I STILL have the rash (although now it is more like multiple scars covered in rash) two years later. I have been to numerous doctors and specialist, I’ve had skin samples removed, blood draws, patch tests, etc. I’ve tried more creams and medications then I can count. Nothing has made it go away. I’ve not worn the bra that caused the rash since then. In fact, I don’t wear any bras because it’s too painful to put one on. I have contacted VS dozens of times (and documented all of it) and they say I’m a rare case and there’s nothing they can do, except give me a refund. They’ve suggested it’s my detergent, my method for washing the bras, my diet, my lifestyle, other environmental factors…they’ve blamed everything but their bra. If my case is so rare, why is it an option on the automated system you get when you call them to talk to a specialist about a rash caused by one of their bras?! Seems to me like that wouldn’t be an option if they didn’t get a lot of calls about it. I used to spend a ton of money there but never EVER again. I wouldn’t wear one of their bras even if they were giving them away for free.

  17. Wow, Crystal, you really had a severe reaction! And, you make an excellent point – if the problem doesn’t exist… why is there a “rash line”??? Is that the same line where they told you that you somehow caused the problem?
    Like you, I spent a small fortune at Victoria’s Secret and had total brand loyalty for many years. I’m not buying anything from them again unless they go back to manufacturing in India, and even then, I will think long and hard about purchasing from them again because I don’t appreciate how they treated their customers.
    Unfortunately, I haven’t found an acceptable substitute. I guess I will actually have to go bra-shopping. In the meanwhile, I am wearing old VS bras, but one by one, they are becoming worn out and going into the trash. I have been wearing sports bras too, the “Champion” kind that are stretchy. They’re comfortable, but the support isn’t so great. BUT… at least there’s no itching and rash.
    Please let me know how you are progressing with your rash.

  18. wow it all makes sense now! I recently started wearing VS bras because I had a breast reduction and am finally able to wear cute bras not knowing these “cute” bras would give me a severe rash! The weird part is that I’ve been wearing them for a good 3 months and just a week ago the rash developed. I’ve been washing them the same way, nothing really changed so i dont get why all of a sudden its being a problem… but theres no denying that it is a bra allergy since the rash is only on my boobs, nowhere else.
    im definitely going to demand for a refund, i had to buy a lot of bras these past 4 months to start my collection for my new boobs. Now i need to start all over again 😦

    • Penelope, welcome to a very unfortunate club – those of us who are loyal VS customers, and love the bras and everything about them, and now can’t wear them because they refuse to address this problem. Please let me know if they give you a refund. I assumed there was no hope in even trying and just threw the bras away. Please let us all know if you find an acceptable bra substitute!

  19. I bought a push up bra a month ago, gave me horrible itch that I had to scratch like a mad woman ,now I have scars on all over my breast not going away. 😦 I am thinking about going to doctor or dermatologist and file a claim with VS.

    • Dear Sofi,
      Please report back with what you decide to do and how it turned out. I think this may be the only active conversation taking place about this. I am disappointed to learn that the problem with VS bras is continuing. What disregard they have for their loyal customers!

  20. I had 4 vs bras that were causing itching at the bra line and under my arms. I stopped wearing them for several months but still wasn’t sure it was the bra. I started wearing them again in August and after a few days noticed tiny little itchy bumps……..it was98 degrees so still thought it might just be the heat. Then one of the bumps got larger and it turned into a rash along the right lower breasted and bra line. This is disgusting I am now absolutely sure its the vs bras. I’m using cortisone cream and hoping it clears up soon. It’s been 5 days since the rash worsened. I have contacted the attorneys handling the class action law suit against vs and asked to be included.

    • Hello Janet – welcome to the club no one wants to belong to. :/
      This situation with VS bras would be so much less annoying if we didn’t all love their product, and are being repaid for that loyalty with chemical-infused bras and the discomfort that results. It’s insulting.
      Could you post the information about how to contact the attorneys, and please let us know how it is progressing?
      Thank you so much for joining the conversation!

      • Hi Deb,

        That’s for sure “the club no one wants to belong to”! I’m just glad so many women are speaking out. To be honest, I’ve had issues with VS bras on and off for years and wondered to myself how “healthy” they were. You’re right, I really had loved their products and just couldn’t believe that a large company like this could be so irresponsible!!! My rash is healing “very slowly” and I am completely disgusted!!
        For any of you wanting more information regarding the class action law suit, the website is: http://www.aboutlawsuits.com/victorias-secret-class-action-lawsuits-1844/
        This began in 2008 and is continuing as VS apparently has not taken any steps to make their product safe. Apparently their being manufactured in China and the chemicals are incredibly toxic to the skin.

        Hope this helps some others out there!

  21. Thank you, Janet! The story there sounds like everything I experienced, and what people who have posted here have experienced too. I can’t seem to find contact information for the lawyers. I will do some digging in. We are not freaks, we are not alone – we are being poisoned by a product that we love!

    • Hi Deb, How long did it take for your rash to go away? I have never had a rash before like this one, on the bra line and just above on the lowest part of the breast. I’m a really healthy person and this is really upsetting. I’m using something right now that really helps the discomfort called Zeasorb. It’s for jock itch……..seems to help. As someone referred to in the previous comment “Jock Itch” from our bras….incredible!!!

      • It took several weeks… but the rash was spread all over the breast surface and the nipples were like sandpaper. The itch was overwhelming and I couldn’t NOT scratch. That just made it even worse – scrapes and bruising. I used the over the counter cortisone creams, and wore exercise bras (like Champion brand) and only used natural moisturizer like olive or coconut oil, and eventually it soothed back down. I also had circular welts all over. It was GROSS. And I was SO HAPPY with those bras. The all-cotton fabric is so great for California, in 100 degree weather. I can’t find ANYTHING that is a satisfactory substitute.
        The Zeasorb – I’ll bet that acts like Gold Bond powder, which I also used, and that gave me some relief.

      • Oh my gosh! Mine was mild compared to yours (I feel lucky!). I’m wearing exercise bras as well and I’m wondering if I’ll ever be able to wear any other kind after this. I’m waiting to hear from the attorneys about this. I left my contact information on the website I noted in my email. I will keep everyone posted. This is so ridiculous. As someone mentioned: If this were caused by Jockey Men’s Briefs on a man’s privates that brand would be history by now!!! Fast healing everyone!!

  22. Hello again Janet! EXACTLY – if men were itchy, swollen and full of hives, things would be much different! You make an interesting side point – the garment industry is capable of making fabric that does not contain formaldehyde – so why isn’t VS using it? Please report back about any progress with the attorneys. Please refer them to this blog so they can see that many women are STILL having this issue, FIVE YEARS after the initial class action suits, and the women commenting on this blog are but a tiny fraction of the likely victims out there!

    • Clearly, VS hasn’t changed a thing. As long as women blindly purchase their product with no regard to the fabric content or risks (and by the way the risks are not being made widely known……..and it should be!!!) I’m only about 6 days into my rash. I appreciate your information about how you treated yours. Mine (thankfully) isn’t as severe and my heart goes out to you and what you must have gone through. I’ll be using some of your treatments as well. Will continue to keep everyone posted.

      BTW, you’re absolutely right, the women speaking up about this are just a tiny fraction of the likely victims out there!

  23. Hello again, Janet! I think so many women have NO IDEA that it’s the bras causing the rash. They blame their fabric softeners or think they have some disease – how could these lovely bras that they’ve been wearing for years be the culprit? It took me a long time to notice the pattern.

    Thanks to the internet, we are able to find each other and figure out what is happening to us!

    As for your rash, as I mentioned, the Gold Bond powder seems to help. But the main thing is you just have to throw that bra away and let the skin heal!

  24. This is interesting. I’ve been dealing with this issue – went to my dermatologist and he is the one that actually suggested it might be chemicals in clothing/fabrics specifically my bra, since my maddening rash was on my breasts where the bra cups cover/touch the skin. I actually have a skin patch test appt. with dermatology specialists this coming Monday. They are testing for chemical allergies like formaldehyde. I’m guessing what the outcome will be! I’ll be taking my bra with me (in a bag as I don’t think it’ll ever touch my body again). I stopped wearing it for a couple weeks – no rash or itching. Wore it ONE day and thought my breasts were on fire by the end of the day! I believe I’ll be checking to see if I can get a refund on my VS bras, and I certainly won’t be buying them again. I’ll probably close my credit card account too. I have a VS $25 gift card – wonder if I can just get cash for it or a gift card to spend at another limited type store? Oh – and the prescription to clear up the rash? – No joke here – over $1700! No I did not forget a decimal point. Lucky for me my dr. gave me a coupon for a free trial tube because I certainly could not have afforded to buy it! This is all CRAZY and awful. I’m going to have a hell of a week this week going through the allergy testing. But I am hoping to have concrete answers at the end it all and know exactly what to stay away from.

    • Hi Sue,
      looks like we all have a lot in common with VS!! My rash started in September and it has just resolved about two weeks ago. It scared me out of my mind!! I will never wear a VS bra again. I have a scar where one of the eruptions from the rash was (lower right breast almost to the bra line). This is crazy! I haven’t heard back from the attorneys that are handling the class action law suit. My guess is that VS might have wiggled out of the charges, or maybe their attorneys have been dragging this out. In any case, there is not doubt in my mind that this is caused by the VS bras!!! I believe that we will be hearing a whole lot more from women out there who are being damaged from this chemically laden bra. Hope you’re better very soon!
      Janet

      • Here’s a little follow-up on my allergy testing and itching and rashes…..My VS bra was cut and a couple pieces of it were included in my allergy testing (yes, pieces taped to my back along with all the other chemicals-lol). I had a total of 92 little dots with chemicals on my back for the week. Quite a strange ordeal for sure. Anyway, I was not surprised to find that I did have a reaction under the bra cup piece. Unfortunately for me, I also had several reactions to other chemicals too. So yes, I am allergic to the chemical resins that they put in VS bras, as well as several other chemicals. Some people can be in contact with these chemicals with no problems, others like me, cannot. For me, the problem goes beyond VS, I have to watch all the fabrics that I come in contact with. I was not aware that everyday fabrics/clothing are loaded with chemicals when those fabrics are made. I’ll spare you all the details, but I am also allergic to some very common, everyday chemicals that are in almost every shampoo, soap, detergent, lotion, etc. My life has been turned upside down since. But – I am learning what I can use (and my list is small), but I’m getting better. There is some other good news for you VS bra owners that cannot wear them due to the chemicals – VS bought back all of my bras, even the one that was cut up for testing! I simply walked into a store and explained to the manager that I cannot wear them because of the chemicals, that I had testing done that showed I’m allergic to them. She said she was sorry to hear that, and promptly took me to a register and directed the cashier to refund my money. And they did give me cash for my gift card because in my case, I can’t even use their lotions or anything like that.
        Good luck to you all – and happy bra hunting. It’s not easy for sure. I’m still just wearing my Fruit of the Loom plain basic no padding cotton underwire bras. The upside is that they are super inexpensive – AND I’m not itching on my chest any more!

    • Hi Sue, I saw your most recent post. What are the chemicals you react to? Could you list them? Also, what is the name of the allergy test you had done? I think I may ask for that. I wish I had saved the bras that caused me trouble so I could also have returned them, but I threw them away. :/
      Another question – is there a way to detect when those chemicals are in things before you purchase them? And – is there a way to get the chemicals out by washing?
      If you discover a really great all-cotton bra without those chemicals, please report back!

      • Hi there – I have a whole host of chemicals that I am allergic to. Most are not related to fabrics. I am allergic to the formaldehyde (sp?) resin in fabrics which limits the clothing options. I don’t know what the allergy testing is called, but my testing was done by the OSU Contact and Occupational dermatitis Center. My regular dermatologist referred me to them for testing. It’s not the kind of testing that a regular allergist can do.
        As far as washing out the chemicals – no. They are part of the fabrics that clothes are made from and cannot be washed out. They are chemicals that make things wrinkle resistant, stain resistant, or make different kinds of fabrics work together like polyester and cotton (which is a blend I now have to try to avoid). There is no regulation that requires any kind of labeling of these chemicals in fabrics/clothing. Hopefully that will change some day.
        I am still at the stage of trying to get my skin to a normal state which may take several more months due to the years of contact with the chemicals I am allergic to. I am thinking I’ll have to go back this week for another steroid shot. Therefore I have not started to try new brands and am sticking to the few stores that do not use chemical laden fabrics. The dr. gave me a list. Remember, I am allergic to a LOT of things. My shampoos and conditioners and lotions I have used for years all contain them. In fact, MOST on the market do and I am limited in what I can use. So it’s all life changing for me. I even have to carry my own hand soap to use everywhere I go, even to a friends’ house for example. I’m glad I am a simple kind of girl and not into a lot of “products”. lol

  25. Sue – Holy smokes! $1,700 for the medication? I think VS should pay that bill! I just toughed it out, didn’t wear the bras and used some medicated Gold Bond powder, and that seemed to help. It took a couple weeks for the rash to go away.
    Please let me know what the dermatologist says about the rash and the chemicals discovered in the fabric. VS needs to take some responsibility for this!

  26. I’m so happy, I found your blog. I thought whether i am going crazy or i Hve an allergic reaction to seafood, until I realized that on both occasion I was wearing my VS full-cotton bras. Last May I bought to in London. I was so happy to find some nice bras in my size (38DD), because I live in Germany and we don’t have VS here. So my daughter and I bought six bras ($$$$$$$) in the London store. She hasn’t complained yet, but she didn’t buy the full cotton ones as I did. I have the itching exactly on the breast. the parts which are covered from the bra. And the thing is, that it starts some hours later and takes a lot of time to recover. I have in addition headaches and a sort of sickness. I was thinking about to have a allergic test, maybe the bra being tested too. So thank for all the posts.

    • Elektra – The full cotton ones are the ones I had trouble with. Also DD. Hmmm…
      You may be feeling sick because some people are extra sensitive to formaldehyde and what is actually happening is that you are feeling the effects of toxins. In other words – you are being poisoned. It took me about three weeks to finally be free of the rash, and I was miserable with the itching and welts and raw patches.
      Please report back and let me know how you’re doing, and if you have discovered anything.

      • Hi again, i recovered some weekslater, but i didn’t were the bras again. My dughter has no problems at all, but she has different ones. I’d like to examine the bras, but is far to expensive. I dont dare to give fhem another try. Are there any news about that?

    • Hello again, Elektra! I saw your reply about the bras (below). No, I haven’t attempted to purchase any new VS bras. I am still relying on my old ones, but the time has come to try something new. I visited the VS website and noticed that they don’t even offer the bras I used to get. So, it’s time to move on to a new brand. I am thinking of trying Soma, but am disappointed that they don’t offer an all-cotton bra.

      • Hello, I posted on another one of your blogs and also on your facebook page.
        I recently bought two bras from VS….. I have a horrible itching rash that will not go away! It’s been over a month. I got the bras for my birthday, which was the 11th of May 2014. I still have it !!!! It will not get better!…… I am discouraged because I see how so many have gone to the doctor and have still not been able to get relief…..we need help! Please let me know if you find something that we can do…I’m in misery!

      • Hello Jacquelyn, the thread of posts got all wonky, and I think I replied to another of your posts. But, just in case….
        Sadly, I didn’t find anything to take the itch and rash away. Some prescription cream from the doctor helped a little, but the main thing is time. Do NOT wear the bra again. Put it in a baggie for evidence and put it on a shelf. I used Gold Bond powder, which helped during the day and at work, but in the evenings and on weekends, used coconut or olive oil and went braless. It’s astounding how long it takes to get rid of the rash and itching, and the urge to scratch is irresistible. That just makes it worse. :/
        But… try some coconut oil. Just buy it in the oil section at the market where you find olive oil. And, also if you are suffering this long, have a doctor check you to make sure something else isn’t going on.

      • Hi All,

        Yes, that disgusting rash seems to have to run it’s course. I found a good powder that brought some relief and maybe helped the rash heal more quickly called Zeasorb (recommended by a Dermatologist). It really made me more comfortable.

        Worth a try.

        Hope it heals soon!

        Janet

  27. I have had my patch test read. I have several allergies. One of which is…(drum roll please)…to my VS bra! I am allergic to the chemical resin that is in it (which is not really used much these days the Dr. said). I said, well, I’m sure that bra was made in China or someplace like that and he just shook his head yes in agreement. He agreed that I shouldn’t wear their bras any longer. I’m going to check and see if I can get a refund on the ones that I have left – one was sacrificed in the allergy testing. Actually walked around for 2 days with pieces of the bra taped to my back along with all the other allergens during testing. They gave me some great websites to check for products and garments I can use/wear. I’ll try to post later.

    • Not at all surprised that the allergies were confirmed to the VS bra. It was all too obvious to me. I feel that VS should be held responsible. I now have a scar on my lower right breast.

      Janet

      • I agree with you, Janet. They need to take responsibility for KNOWINGLY continuing to sell products that are harming people. It’s one thing if they didn’t know. It’s quite another if they know, and do it anyway.

    • WOW! So, you know have medical EVIDENCE! Did your doctor tell you the name of the resin detected in the bra? Did he mention if it included formaldehyde? And yes, please do post alternative you’ve found! I am just wearing old bras, but I’m about down to the point where I have to purchase something new. :/

  28. I have worn VS bras for years. Several years ago, I developed the rash that many of you have described here. At the time, I found the information online about the link to formaldehyde. I threw all my VS bras out and started wearing several other brands. Last fall, I decided to try VS again as they are able to ‘fit’ you to a correct bra. I bought four of them – all cute and they fit like a dream. I started wearing them right away and didn’t have a problem – for a few weeks. Then all of a sudden, the itch and rash was back. I was so upset. I took all four back to the store where I got them – one was never worn. The sales lady was excellent – apologize for the inconvenience and refunded my money. So then I was on the search for a different bra. Bought a few different styles/types. Yesterday, I started to itch and this morning have a full blown rash. The bra this time? A new Maidenform. Cute, comfortable and affordable. When I checked the tag, it read “made in China”. I have other bras that I’ve had no problem with – ones made in Vietnam and Indonesia. Is the common denominator here things that are made in China? Honestly, can we get a U.S. company to manufacture bras?

    • Well, Jean, I think you have landed on the unfortunate common denominator: China. If they are making the fabric, infused with formaldehyde, several companies may be purchasing the fabric. Or, they may all be using the same Chinese manufacturer. Or, one company many own several labels. For example, Victoria’s Secret owns the Lane Bryant and Avenue stores, I believe.
      That’s upsetting to hear that the rashes are STILL occurring. I was tempted to try VS again, because I am nearly out of bras, but after reading this, I will resist. I have been getting by with stretchy sports bras, like the Champion line from Target. No rash, although unless you get them a size or two too small, the support leaves something to be desired.
      In response to your question – yes, there needs to be an American company that makes these bras. I think I will write another column about this for the print publications I write for, and will also post it at http://www.ipinionsyndicate.com. Something must be done. VS bras are upwards of $35, and most of that is profit. Surely the U.S. can do something better. I will aim to write about that this week. Thanks for sparking me up again! And… please report back if you have found any acceptable substitute bras. I think we must check the labels and if they’re made in China – leave them on the rack. That’s the starting point.

    • That is amazing. I am so afraid of VS bras at this point. This really needs to be made more well known. I consider their products “dangerous” at this point and would have to wonder about anything that the sell. I have been OK with the Bali comfort revolution (not padded). We’ll see how it goes. Hope you’re better soon!

      Janet

  29. Pingback: No more Secret — give a hoot for your hooters and burn those bras | iPinion Syndicate

  30. Just bought a Maidenform in Niagara Falls, thinking I’d be safe. Nope. Now I have 2 more weeks of itching to look forward to……….

    • Wanted to get back to the group about the Bali Comfort Revolution bras……not good. Started a small eruption along the bra line a few weeks ago, just like with the VS bras. There are obviously chemicals in the spandex and the “ribbing” of the bra. Fortunately, I caught it right away this time and changed to a cotton sports bra again, so it didn’t spread.

      I really think that we’re just seeing the beginning of this kind of thing as manufacturers will be trying to get cheaper and cheaper off shore labor (and fabrics, etc..).

      Just ordered an “un-bra” all cotton, online. Will let you know how it goes when received.

      Janet

      On Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 4:44 AM, Debra DeAngelo wrote:

      > Kate commented: “Just bought a Maidenform in Niagara Falls, thinking > I’d be safe. Nope. Now I have 2 more weeks of itching to look forward > to……….”

  31. Well, that is discouraging, Janet. The common denominator is “fabric made in China” and yes, this is what we get for relying on cheaply made products made elsewhere. We need to look for the “Made in the USA” label.

    Please let me know how the “un-bra” works out. And thanks for reporting back!

  32. After the first time this happened to me (several years ago) I went out looking for something nice and cottony. Had a difficult time finding one, and when I did, it looked like some armour-plating that my grandmother used to wear. Maybe we should try to compile a list of brands/manufacturers that work.

    • Kate, this is an excellent idea. If everyone could list right here bras that are comfortable AND not causing horrific skin rashes, please do! I can tell you that for starters, I often wear Champion brand sports bras/yoga bras. My little trick: Buy them one size too small and the support is decent. Not wonderful, but they are comfortable!

  33. Debra, I’m glad I found your blog. After getting a rash in February with my new Bali bra, I started doing some research to find out why I got the rash. It took over 3 weeks to get over the rash, the nurse practitioner told me to use Benadryl cream and Zantac. The Zantac has an antihistamine that supposedly helps with alergies. I thought I got the rash because I didn’t wash the bra first, I bought it on a spur of the moment and headed out of state (didn’t have time to wash). I washed the bra hoping that would take care of the problem and haven’t worn it for a month. I wore it yesterday and couldn’t get it off quick enough when I got home. Here we go again, I broke out in a rash only in the cup area again. The Bali bra is syle #3470/M470/SX70/G824 in white. I had the same bra in leopard print and no problems, I was replacing it because the underwire broke. This bra is made in Honduras and I bought them at JC Penney. I will be returning them tomorrow. I was so surprised to find that they actually put Formaldehyde in bras, clothing, drapes and make up. With all of us getting an alergic reaction to Formadehyde (which should stay in the morgue) corporations should be forced to list this on their products. So its not just VS bras, Bali seems to cause alergic rashes too. Thanks for allowing me to vent. 🙂

    • Hi Maria
      Sounds all too familiar. I bought the Bali comfort revolution bra after getting a terrible rash from the Victoria Secret bra. The Bali also started to give me a rash right around the cup area and the bra line. The chemicals used in these bras in order for them to keep their shape is the problem. I really believe that we will start seeing more and more of these reactions. Evidently that’s what it will take to get the bra manufacturer’s attention.
      JANET

      • Hello Janet, you mentioned the ONLY thing that will bring change – if consumers object with their words and voices, and most important, their wallets. Thank you for coming back to report more issues with bra rashes!

    • Well, this is certainly disappointing, Maria. Apparently VS may have been the first to use Chinese-made fabric, but not the last. It’s upsetting that the U.S. Government isn’t monitoring this. Maybe because it is only uncomfortable and no one actually dies from it. Nonetheless, it is WRONG to put known irritants into fabrics! As consumers, the best we can do is as you have – return the product and refuse to purchase from that company any more. Please return and let us know if you have any new discoveries – good or bad. And, glad you found a place to vent!

    • Hello Maria, I’m so sorry, I just now found this post. That is really upsetting that it’s more than just VS products turning up with formaldehyde. You made a GREAT suggestion – that companies be required to forewarn people about this! I think I’ll include your idea the next time I write about this! Please keep me posted on your bra discoveries!

  34. Pingback: Are you wearing poison? | Debra DeAngelo

  35. I’m so glad I found this. I’ve had the same problem with several bras I recently purchased. I can’t stop itching. Now I know why. Bye bye VS bras.

    • Hello Angela – welcome to our unhappy little circle of women who have discovered that the product they love is causing them huge discomfort. Unfortunately, no one has found a good alternative, as the fabric containing formaldehyde is turning up in other products as well. We have all learned to look at labels. Things from Mexico, Honduras and India seem to be fine. The common denominator is China. We’re all still looking for something made in the USA.

  36. Happened upon this site looking for answers in regards to itchy rash the same shape as my bra-I was excited to find an wireless option at VS that was complimentary, but this rash is anything but flattering! I bought the bras in October and it took some time to develop the rash at first. I have eczema to begin with so I thought it was just my sensitive skin, but since the rash covers the same areas as my bra I started to wonder-and itch! The one that I wear most often and have washed the most no longer irritates, but I will be ditching them all and calling VS to complain!

    • Welcome to our unhappy club, Leslie. All of us love the product – but the product doesn’t love us. Glad you are going to call VS to complain. Please see Carmen’s post, below. I tossed my bras in the trash myself, just as I was discovering what was going on. Now, I wish I had them, for evidence!

  37. PLEASE, don’t ditch the bra! Instead, use the information on the label to provide the customer service with accurate info about the bra! When I worked in customer service I was once told that unless there is accurate information about the product you’re calling to complain about, there’s nothing the company can do to help. Some companies even request that you use their return kit to send the bra back so they can perform testing on the fabrics…and I can only imagine to also weed out the false claims from people who just want a gift card!

  38. I’m so glad I found this! I just noticed a rash under my left armpit! It’s horrible. I live with my dad, so I figured it would be pretty awkward to show him my bra rash, so I googled it, looking for an answer. Of course, I was wearing a VS bra, too! It’s the only bra I own that actually fits (34 DDD), so I was devestated when I found the rash! Thank you for sharing!! So glad I’m not the only one…

    • Hello Alexa, welcome to our unhappy little world of itchy, raw VS customers! It seems that there is no solution other than to stop wearing their bras. Like you, I haven’t found anything I like nearly as much. I’m hoping someone will post that they’ve found the perfect replacement – so far, nothing. Anyway, please feel free to report back with any progress you have or discoveries. 🙂

  39. As I sit here itching the heck out of my chest tonight, I am so glad I googled this issue. I also just bought a Victoria’s Secret bra almost 2 weeks ago. At first I thought it was because I did not wash the bra before I wore it…now I know there is another reason. I will be calling Victoria Secret tomorrow to complain. I am so uncomfortable that after wearing the bra all day I can’t have any other fabric against my skin. The welts are horrible, as it is almost impossible to resist itching. It is scary to imagine what else these chemicals or toxins can do to our bodies.

    • Also it gets worse as I put lotion on. Gold bond medicated powder helps a little but only discontinued wearing if bra is the solution!!!

    • Hello Brooke! Welcome to the club. I agree… the welts are horrible, and the itch is maddening. It continues to astound me that VS is CURRENTLY selling these bras, knowing full well what’s going on (there is a pending class action suit). I’m also astounded that there’s no government agency willing to crack down on it. I’m further annoyed because I haven’t found a substitute product that I like as much. I think the only recourse is for women to stop buying not just the bras but ALL their products (I have, and believe me, it sucks – I still haven’t found anything I like, bras or panties, from another company).

  40. Also, I tried Gold Bond powder too, and it helped a little, but it appears the ONLY solution is to stop wearing the bras and wait for it to heal (and it takes a couple weeks!!!), and try not to scratch.

  41. Thank you Debra…I absolutely will not buy any VS brAS! Also, I will probably avoid any and all bras from CHINA in general!!! I called VS and spoke to 3 people…all very nice. I filed a claim and have a case#…although not sure what that will do. Apparently the girl from claims has not heard this complaint which I find VERY hard to believe!! She is sending me a 50.00 gift card which I doubt I will use…and suggested bringing the bra back to store. I did express how I find it unbelievable that this issue is at least 6 years old and they are still selling these bras. Mine was the “Fabulous Plunge” bra.
    I really feel like I didn’t get too far, but better to file a claim than do nothing at all.
    I look forward to being itch free soon!

    • Well, it’s a start! I’m sure that VS knows all about this and tells their employees to tell customers that they’ve never head anything about it. Please report back and let us know if you’ve found a new product bra to wear. 🙂

      • Wow. It is so amazing that these people are trained to be clueless. It’s mind boggling the things that we are being marketed that are harmful to our bodies and our environment. I am now wearing the Hanes cottony comfort bra and so far so good. I have searched high and low for a bra that will not irritate my breast tissue and surrounding areas. It is so frustrating to have a rash like we have had knowing that it came from toxic materials. Happy healing to all of you………not sure when (if ever) these manufacturers will get the wake up call.

        Janet

      • Thanks for the tip on bras, Janet! And yes, women are conditioned to allow all sorts of poisons into and onto our bodies in the name of beauty. As if beauty is more important than health. Most American women would probably agree with that statement… “Beauty is more important than health.” We need to STOP believing what mass marketing tells us.

  42. Is there anything at all that will stop this itching?????? I have had this rash since May 11th! It’s now the first of July! I stopped wearing the bras but still have the rash! How long does it take to go away??

    • Sadly, Jacquelyn, it takes several weeks. Yours seems to be particularly stubborn. I got some prescription cream from the doctor that helped a LITTLE. The problem is that the itch is so bad, it’s hard to leave it alone. I swapped out bras with those stretchy exercise bras (the ones without wires) that you can get at Target, and went braless at home, and used only coconut or olive oil on the skin. That helped. Alternately, Gold Bond powder seems to offer some relief too. Anything with perfume or chemicals – no good. But in particular – you MUST stop wearing the bra. Don’t throw it away, though. Put it in a baggie. It may be evidence! If you are still having itching so bad that you are bruising yourself or breaking the skin, or it’s making you miserable, you really should let your doctor look at it. This rules out anything else, and also documents what is going on.

    • Hi jacquelyn, I don’t know if you’re still suffering but I’ve found calomine lotion to help, as well as Polysporin Eczema cream. According to a pharmacist I asked, he said that antihistamines might not help because the rash is due to inflammation and irritation of the skin, not necessarily an allergic reaction. So if you aren’t finding relief in antihistamines/Benadryl creams, calomine or Polysporin eczema might be worth a try!

      • You have to try anything and everything. I used Gold Bond powder, which helped somewhat. But sadly… it just takes TIME to get over this. And because most women don’t suspect the bra itself… they put it back on over already irritated skin, and it just goes on and on. But… even after you take it off… it takes WEEKS to get over the rash.

  43. Cool! I bought a couple from Macy’s and while they didn’t give me any rash, I’m not that thrilled with them. They’re hugs and clunky and VERY unsexy…. still searching!

      • Whaat? Did you get a reaction from your new bras? There is a post by Maria, way up this thread where she notes a reaction too, and makes a great suggestion – that all companies be required to list formaldehyde on their products!

      • Yeah, I reacted again. 😦 I get itchy, then slight pink, then even if I’ve taken it off, the next day gets more itchy and more defined pink marks in the shape of the bra. That lasts for a few days, and then the itching goes down and I get flaking (just on certain *ahem* parts).
        I actually had a wedding to go to while I was mid-itch, and it was bad so I picked up Polysporin cream for Eczema and it seemed to help. Also, calomine helped but is more messy. I’ve tried antihistamines/Benadryl cream but they don’t work, because it’s not an allergy, it’s an inflammation (that’s what the pharmacist told me anyway).

        My fiance found instructions online on how to get rid of (or reduce) formaldehyde in clothing and it involves washing in baking soda and vinegar etc. three times…….. we’ve done it once but I’m still afraid to wear those bras again 😦

      • That is EXACTLY what happened to me! Itching and flaking on my *ahem* parts – nipples, right? They became like dry tissue paper. It was awful! And your doc (of course) is right – this is not an allergy. It’s a chemical reaction… inflammation is a much better word. Maybe there needs to be Baking Soda & Vinegar laundry detergent for our clothing. Which brings up an interesting point… when my bras are new, I take the time to hand wash them. After awhile, I say “eh” and throw them in the laundry. And… I use Arm & Hammer detergent – wonder if it has baking soda in it? Anyway… it was the new bras, that had only been handwashed, that caused the problem. You may be on to something.

  44. Clio 44 found the VS response to the formaldeyde:

    Victoria’s Secret Bras Are Safe
    As millions of women know, Victoria’s Secret bras are safe. You may have seen media reports or online postings that claim Victoria’s Secret bras contain formaldehyde. Because of our commitment to our customers’ safety and satisfaction, we want you to have the facts. We hope that with the complete truth, we continue to earn your confidence in our products every day.

    Victoria’s Secret does not add formaldehyde to its bras, and multiple, independent tests confirm that Victoria’s Secret bras are formaldehyde-free or contain only traces which are significantly lower than allowed by the most stringent textile guidelines in the world. Dermatologists and various authorities all confirm that even those individuals who are allergic to formaldehyde would not have a reaction at this low level, despite public claims by a Cleveland law firm. Here are the facts

    About the testing process
    Textile experts around the world use a standard quantitative test as the most reliable way to detect the presence of formaldehyde in clothing. That is the test that was used by independent labs to examine Victoria’s Secret bras. For more information about formaldehyde limits for clothing and the quantitative testing, known as EN ISO 14184-1, visit: http://www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/legislation-policy/policy-reports-and-papers/reports/statement

    About formaldehyde
    Formaldehyde is found naturally in the environment and is widely used in many consumer products. You could expect to find it in dollar bills, medicines, wood furniture, baby wipes…even fresh fruits and vegetables. Although formaldehyde is quite common, we do not add it to Victoria’s Secret bras – honestly because there’s no need to use it in this type of product.

    For our customers
    Customer safety and satisfaction are always our primary concerns, and we take very seriously any issues our customers may have with our products. If you ever have a concern with a Victoria’s Secret product, please let us know. Our customer care center representatives care about your experience and are happy to help:(800) 411-5116 or Service@VictoriasSecret.com

  45. Be careful to note that they “Victoria’s Secret does not add formaldehyde to its bras.” This is NOT the same thing as purchasing fabric that ALREADY contains it! Read between the lines!

    Also this statement: “independent tests confirm that Victoria’s Secret bras are formaldehyde-free or contain only traces which are significantly lower than allowed by the most stringent textile guidelines in the world.” Yes.. independent test conducted by laboratories contracted by VS? Independent studies elsewhere have detected formaldehyde in their products already!!

    Also their claim that “those individuals who are allergic to formaldehyde would not have a reaction at this low level”… well ladies on this thread who have suffered this bra rash… Is this bullshit or what??? We are all living proof that many women DO react to this low level of formaldehyde!!!

    Swing and a miss, VS. You are capable of making bras IN THE UNITED STATES from formaldehyde-free cotton. We are willing to pay for a product that doesn’t cause us misery!!!

  46. Hi Ladies,

    Several years ago I had the same allergic reaction to a VS bra, it was horrible, painful and ugly, to say the least! Last week Macy’s was having a bra sale. I bought a Vanity Fair bra w/underwire off of the clearance rack. I wore it for the first time yesterday. Guess what? The itching started and by noon I was braless with red welts and a raised rash on the underside of my breasts. The pain and desire to itch is overwhelming. Looks like there is more formaldehyde-laden brassieres out there!

    • Well, it had to happen sooner or later. VS doesn’t manufacture the fabric. That comes from some other factory in China, where it’s infused with formaldehyde, and then sold to bra manufacturers. SO, now it’s not just VS… the problem is spreading. There MUST be legislation on this!!!

  47. Hey, I got one of the multi-way bras from VS a few weeks ago. I wore it the day after I bought it and I was sitting in my room with it on and I got a burning feeling around my torso where my bra was sitting so I took it off and there were big red welts all around where the grippy stuff is on the bra, but not on my breasts so I figured my body just wasn’t agreeing with the grip the bra had, I washed it and tried again and I got more welts so I stopped wearing it. Two days ago I went back to VS to get a new bra since I couldn’t wear the one I previously bought. I wore the bra yesterday to go shopping and I took it off before I went to sleep, when I woke up this morning I had red marks on my back that was shaped like my bra. I’m kinda bummed about this whole situation. I’ve never had this sort of reaction to anything ever before. It’s weird for sure.

    • I came across this blog because I was trying to find out why my right nipple itches and burns within seconds of putting on my VS bra. At first I thought it was detergent or something, but I then put on a bra from Target that was washed in the same detergent & I wore it all day with no problem. This bra was purchased this year and I have never previously heard of this happening, so I am completely unbiased . Apparently this is still an issue . I cannot wear these bras. At least I have an answer now.

    • Hello Molly, welcome to the unhappy club. It’s so frustrating that VS CONTINUES to sell these formaldehyde infused bras even though they know what it does to their customers. It’s abusive! Please keep us informed of any thing you find out, and any bras that do not give you this reaction.

    • Yes, this is still going on. I bought 2 bras a month ago and developed a rash a little over a week ago. I also had a rash in 2008 when the lawsuit happened, but I didn’t join since I had thrown out my bras and had no receipt. By then, my rash had cleared up. I waited years to shop there again and I’m shocked that this had happened to me again. Ready to create a suit anyone. I’m already trying to contact lawyers to hear me out.

      • Molly, I also bought the convertible bras. Does anyone know if we can still join the lawsuit or do we need to start a new one?

      • Dawn, I don’t think there’s a lawsuit open. If only we could get some media attention, that might be better than a lawsuit. Because, frankly… I can’t find ANY bras that are an acceptable alternative. If someone has a lawsuit pending, however, please let everyone know.

    • I had the same problem with The Gap. You can send them an e-mail and they’ll ask you to call them. You will be able to return it and get your money back and they’ll send a $50 gift certificate for anything there as an apology. They’ll ask that you bring the bra back to the nearest store and they’ll send it to be tested.
      That was my experience last month anyway, worth doing if you don’t want to do the lawsuit thing.
      Good luck….. I still haven’t found any either. Please let us know if you do, I keep notifications on for this blog because it’s still do darn relevant!!!!

  48. Well im I do have to say im stoked I came across this during my google search for rashes under breasts. I have just started to get a rash under my left boob. I have been wearing Maidenform 08185 for the past 8 months & LOVED IT! Sad to say it was time to shop for new bras. Wouldn’t you know that the bra I fell madly in love has been discontinued. Nothing has come close to it from Maidenform or anyother brand so far. During my searches for similar bra, I purchased 2 different Maidenform bras thinking they would be close to what I was wanting. They weren’t so I continued wearing my old bras during my endless search. I have been directed to VS Bombshell & told that is the closest im going to get to it. This info came from customer service lady I spoke with when I called Maidenform to yell at them for giving me boobs for the first time in my life & letting run around for a year with them & everyone thinking I had boobs only to rip them away with no alternative. Now I hear “Hey what happened to your boobs?” from people I see. My only reply is “Hahhaha yeah they were discontinued”. CS lady apologized & said that it wasn’t Maidenform who stopped making them, They sold the company or something along those lines ( cant remember her exact wording, I will be calling again tomorrow to find out) Now who ever is running the show stopped making that style BUT that VS Bombshell is the closest I would get & that its the same manufactures. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. I even started shopping for the VS Bombshell but that was just to expensive for a maybe I might like it. So I ended up having to wear one of the new Maidenform bras that I had bought. Today was day 2 wearing it. On my way to work all around my bra line felt totally weird. I had to keep checking it because it totally felt like it was all twisted & was feeling very strange. A few hours later it was having me act all awkward to the point the I even mentioned it to the lady I work with. I kept telling her ” I feel like my bra is all twisted or something, IDK it just feels strange”. I thought maybe it was just cuz it was a new bra & I wasn’t used to it.. Tonight I had some ants in my kitchen & while trying to get rid of them some climb up my legs & arm. At that point I felt a tickle on my side & that was it LOL I chucked my shirt & started checking in the mirror to make sure I didn’t have any on me. That’s when I seen the rash under my boob! Thank GOD it hasn’t started itching yet & I hope its gone in a few days. Im Pretty STOKED I found this page because I was really trying to talk myself into spending that much on the VS Bombshell bra. So if nothing else you guys have saved me from probably one of the worst mistakes I could have made. I will be calling Maidenform tomorrow to confirm if they are in fact joined with VS or how ever that lady explained. I will keep you posted

  49. Hello Mary! Please keep us posted and let us know if your Maidenform bra caused the rash. Maybe they are purchasing fabric from the same place as VS.

  50. Sooo happy I googled Victoria Secret Bras and skin rashes! I asked the store rep if the bras had any lateen in them and was told ” No, were you the lady that called the store today asking about latex in the bras and a skin rash?” I have developed itchy, sore rashes under the breast and wondered if it was the bra. I was told that I mush be “buying the wrong size.” ….They measured me and suggested my size. I only buy VS bras and knew that it was somehow related to them…cant wait to keep watching this issue. I wish I could find another brand that I loved as much as these!

    • Hi Debbie! Well, our unhappy group has a new member! Welcome! At least now you know that it isn’t something you are doing wrong… it’s the bra itself! I am sure that the VS employees know about this topic. It’s been going on for several years. They’ve probably been instructed to lie.
      Like you, I can’t find ANYTHING that is an acceptable substitute. I am going to write about this issue again soon, and see if there isn’t some lawyer out there who can take up our cause.
      Like I tell everyone – don’t wash the bras that give you a rash, or throw them away. Put them in a Ziploc and keep them as evidence. Also, be sure to have your doctor document the rash, and take photos of the rash if you can.
      Good luck! 🙂

  51. I could not understand why my breasts were so itchy. I mean itchy. I had never had this problem before! I purchased a vs bra a couple of months ago, and that is when it had started. I would have to remove my bra during the day to get relief. I have some bras from lazenza that I switjched to and had some relief, the minute I wore my vs bra again it say started! To the point where I found myself googling to see if there have been any others experiencing this.
    What should I do other than just throw this bra away?
    Joanne

    • Hi Joanne, I wouldn’t throw the bra away because if enough of us have evidence, meaning bras with formaldehyde in the fabric, maybe an attorney will take interest in this unacceptable situation. I would put the bra in a ziploc baggie and just store it.

  52. While, it is unfortunate that any of you have experienced this rash issue. I am glad I am not the only one. I just recently purchased 4 bras from Victoria’s Secret and within days I began getting itchy. I now have a rash and the last thing I thought was that it was related to my bra. I have been walking around a basket case thinking I have some kind of breast cancer symptoms and have made a doctor apt for Thursday. I think I will still keep my apt but I must admit I am relieved.

  53. Wow, this is the craziest thing. I think I’m going through this right now. I actually googled rash in rib cage area and an article similar to this blog popped up in the results. I then decided to Google Victoria’s Secret bra rash and saw that I wasn’t the only one! I am literally fighting the urge to scratch right now, it’s horrible. Cortisone can only do so much but the coconut oil seems to help alot more. Wish there was a way to get this all resolved!

    • Hello Emma…. the itch is unbearable isn’t it! 😦
      I am going to see if the FDA will take an interest – calling them tomorrow. Please put your bra in a baggie (don’t wash it), in case we need evidence. I threw mine away before I realized what was going on. Also, if you can see your doctor and get documentation of your condition in your medical records, that would be great. Please keep us posted on how you’re doing!

  54. Pingback: Is formaldehyde Victoria’s biggest Secret? | Debra DeAngelo

  55. Pingback: Is formaldehyde Victoria’s biggest Secret? | iPinion Syndicate

  56. I blog often and I truly thank you for your information. This article has really peaked my interest.
    I will take a note of your website and keep checking for new details about once per week.
    I opted in for your Feed too.

  57. I am on my 5th breakout I never thought of this till I saw this post. My last breakout I went on prednisone and I ended up with the shingles in my eye and couldn’t see for 2 months and I’m still trying to get my eye sight back to nomal. Now I have the breakout again

    • Holy cow! I have never heard of the rash spreading. It is considered a “contact dermatitis” and the rash usually occurs where the fabric touches the skin. Hope you are getting better…. pay attention to if the rash reoccurs when you put the bra back on. In the end, I think the thing that worked best was Gold Bond powder.

  58. As a man, I found this a very interesting read. Not because of what you think. Because I find it absolutely disgusting that one of the biggest brands would put these kinds of chemicals in underwear. Surely they must be aware of the problem by now? Has their been any stories of people taking legal action?

    My thoughts go out to everybody effected by this.

    • Hello haruhisailormars (wow – what a name). How honorable of you to care about women’s health! Even though you are a man, you surely have a mother, and maybe sisters, a wife and daughters, and that is great that you care about their health and comfort. Also, if one company gets away with using fabric that contains formaldehyde, others will follow. Sooner or later, it will be in men’s products as well. If it goes into men’s underwear, can you imagine your discomfort if you develop the allergic reaction/rash in that area! You will be miserable!
      Victoria’s Secret is aware of the claims of formaldehyde, but denies that they are true. They blame the customers for their allergic reactions, not their products.

      • My real name is Colin. This is just my anonymous name. I was starting to wonder the same thing about men’s clothing as well last night. I have had stings between my legs but I always thought it was due to allergic reactions to fabrics. I know there is definitely a reaction I get to a certain fabric. Now you have discovered this I am actually going to test clothing rather than just throw it away. I am not exactly an expert but surely that must be illegal.

        I also find that the typical response that many beauty product companies give. I never expected clothing to be used as their science experiments. I expect that in sun creams and I’m aware it happens in certain foods as well. I had a bad incident with McDonald’s chicken nuggets. To hear it is happening to things that come in contact with your skin everyday though has pretty much gobsmacked me. I will definitely be warning people I know because that is wrong.

  59. Hello Colin! Well, if you are having rashes, like many people, you may have assumed it was your laundry soap, or fabric softener, lotion or sunscreen – and never thought it was the fabric itself. You can have the fabric tested for formaldehyde, and you should also go to your doctor to have the rash documented in your medical records.

    • Hi Becky, no, I was unable to get anywhere. I got a person on the phone who gave me either wrong phone numbers or numbers that didn’t work. The Consumer Protection Agency person told me is is an EPA issue, because it’s not that the product is defective, it’s a chemical, and that falls under environmental issues. In all – a fiasco. Maybe I need to go to Washington and grab someone by the ears and scream until they listen!

  60. I’ve never had a problem with VS bras. Maybe its just the larger sized bras that have the formaldehyde? I’m a size B and all of the bras I’ve purchased from VS were of quality material, soft, and never gave me the icky rash that you ladies have experienced. This is so unfortnate. I hope they find a solution to this problem so you lovely women can have a quality bra! Best wishes ❤️

  61. I went to the Dr and had a punch biopsy today, he called in his partner to look at my rash and took photos I am thinking of going to the mall on Friday night and take my shirt and bra off and show everyone in the VS store what could happen to them if they buy a bra there.

    • YAY! What did the punch biopsy say? Did you present your theory that it might be the bra? If only we could get some doctors behind us, maybe VS would listen! If you protest in their store – get someone to video it!!! (You will have to be very brave… but WOW, what a statement. Or maybe it would be safer to pass out photos!) You will probably get arrested… if you do, I will be sure to write a column about it!

  62. I’ve just moved to the US from the UK and bought a VS bra for the first time in my life… my breasts have been so itchy for weeks, however, there is no rash. I’ve been going crazy trying to figure out what’s causing it – new detergent? breast cancer? (if it is it’s apparently the most aggressive form (IBC)… I even saw the doctor and she was a little concerned). Then I thought, what about new bra? I have to admit I’m a little relieved that others have experienced this – thank-you for writing this blog! Can you imagine – a bra that makes you think you might have breast cancer. I’m going to stop wearing their bras for a while to see if it makes a difference and then return the two I bought in the sale!

    • Hello Rosemary – that is essentially what I did… when I started to notice a pattern – it was a certain bra in a certain color, not all of them – I’d stop wearing it for awhile. Put it back on – Bam. Rash would come roaring back. I also wondered if I had some bizarre form of breast cancer. Nope – it is allergic contact dermatitis… to formaldehyde, I suspect.
      The clincher is that I stopped wearing that particular bra – never had the rash again. I no longer buy anything from VS because it’s a crap shoot – you don’t know which bras have the formaldehyde. The rash is so uncomfortable, it’s not worth it to me – even though I love the product.
      Yes, save those bras and return them – tell them why. So far, women are reporting that they will take the bras back. Good luck!

  63. Thanks for your comment Debra! I returned the bras no problem, which makes me think they must have a lot of women returning them for this reason. I’ve since told others about the issue and one women I met ended up going for two biopsy’s and they couldn’t find a problem… once I told her about it she realized it was most likely the VS bras that she purchased. Unbelievable. I’m just glad that I didn’t get to that stage. Your blog posts and definitely put a lot of women at ease – including me!

    • Dear Rosemary – So glad i could help! All these poor women fearing for the worst – some form of breast cancer – when in fact, it is an allergic reaction to their bras. Did your friend’s rash clear up when she stopped wearing the bra?

  64. A few years ago I bought two new VS bras and developed the scarlet red rash. VS knows they are using formaldehyde in the bra padding to prevent wrinkling. In both the US and Canada there were attempts to bring a class action law suit against VS. The problem is the level of formaldehyde they use is within the textile laws that are now outdated. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. Imagine all the young women including my daughters who wear these bras every day and because they are not allergic to formaldehyde they are absorbing it into their breasts. The only solution is to get the formaldehyde textile safety level changed but formaldehyde is manufactured in the US, and is being used in other products causing similar health issues. I called VS to discuss the problem and they not only denied knowing anything about it, they did not return my calls. Shame on VS!

    • Dear St. Louis Missouri…. you raise an excellent and frightening point. In an odd way, those of us who react so powerfully to formaldehyde are lucky in a way – we are alerted to the poison and can stop using it. Those who don’t are continuing to expose themselves to this toxic chemical. I personally believe that warning labels should be on all garments containing formaldehyde, just as products containing eggs or peanuts are labeled for those who are allergic to them.
      Where did you call VS – at their New York office? Crazy that they denied it – they were involved in a lawsuit over this!

      • Ressently I bought a fabulous bra from vs. very nice fit but not conferteble like my others bra. Then my friend showed me an info about the chemicals that they put in between the spongfome. Carefully I opened it and there is light pink like lotion viscosity chemical. I don’t see any point to put that fluid and I will try to find out what it really is. My advice trash it and don’t buy it. Please post it if you know what kind of chemical it is.

    • I need to update you – since buying my Ambrielle bras and Elle MacPherson bras, I did get another rash, this time under my left breast. It didn’t itch or hurt though, yet it wasn’t going away even though I’d gone back to wearing old bras in case it was bra-related again. I went to the doctor yesterday and she thought it might be fungal, so she gave me a prescription for a cream to try. I’m thinking it’s possible she’s right because the Ambrielle, while super comfortable, is quite thick and maybe since it’s summer, the heat made for good conditions for fungus growth.
      Gross.
      But hopeful this is not related to the bra itself. Just wanted to update you since I’d mentioned I may have spoken too soon, and want you to be aware in case you notice anything similar with your Ambrielle – then maybe it’s not fungal after all.

      • Hi Clio44, thanks for the update. It’s good for people to share their experiences because we want to be accurate. Did the cream clear the fungus up? If it did – it was fungus. If not, it’s something else. I have noticed the Ambrielle bra is thicker than I’d like, and it’s not cotton, so yes- summertime can be treacherous in polyester blends.
        Did this new rash look like the old one?

      • To be honest I don’t remember exactly how the previous rash looked, but I do think this is probably different. It really just looks like tiny blood pinpricks. Probably due to the extra warmth/coverage in summer.
        Cream is 2x per day, and they recommended continuing a week after it’s clear, but it’s not clear yet, so we’ll see.
        One weird thing I noticed with the previous VS rash was that it gave me a hard bump, much like a hard zit. When I squeezed to see if it had pus or a hair in it or something else, it hardened very quickly. It eventually became a perma-red mark like a zit that never healed. Around the same time as I got THIS rash though, I got another version, further from the nip, and other side from the rash itself which was kinda weird. Same thing, squeeze or even just touch, becomes very hard quickly, then takes forever to calm down. It’s so weird!

  65. Not a VS bra, but I just bought a bra and panty set Fruit of the Loom bra from Walmart, the bra is padded/underwired, and I am not sure if it just needs washing but my breasts got SUPER itchy when I wore it, and one side broke out into a bit of a rash (only worn ti a few hours at a time, twice total), and my almost 2 month old doesn’t seem to want to nurse after I’ve worn it, too. Maybe it’s a similar reason.

    • Yes, I would suspect the bra. Here’s how you can figure it out: Take it off until the rash goes away. Then put it back on again and pay attention to see if you react. Also, when you have the rash, be sure to go to see your doctor and get it documented. 98% of the women who report the rash here on this blog are VS customers, but it’s probably the fabric itself, made in China, which could be used in a multitude of things.
      Thanks for posting a comment – please let us know what you discover.

      • Since I am getting my tubes tied soon I have a pre-op appointment in the morning, I may wear the bra there and mention it to him.
        Also I know it’s the bra, I just wasn’t sure if it was because I put it on without washing it or no. It has a pair of lacy panties that came with it, those don’t cause issues though but the padded underwired bra, my breasts just get extremely itchy and the right breaks out a bit and turns a little pink tinged on the skin, I seriously only bought the bra a night or two ago when out with my husband.

  66. Pingback: Boob Blog: Victoria’s Secret responds to breast rash issue | Debra DeAngelo

  67. Yes, mention this to your doctor, mention the blog, and see if you can get an appointment with an allergy specialist to get a skin patch test for chemical allergies. Good luck!

  68. @Clio44… Hmmm…. that doesn’t really sound like the same rash. The real telltale symptom is excruciating itching. Itching so bad you can’t resist, and you end up with welts and raw skin, and even bruises. Those hard spots… don’t know what those might be, but it’s a good thing you are seeing a doctor. You should ask him for a diagnosis.

  69. ladys I’m a RN here in NY my wife recently had the same symptoms and now we are vs free. But I have another question…. Link between breast cancer and these chemical…I bet there is! Try proving it. My wifes oil bladder recently broke on her VS bra and that’s when her symptoms developed… I tried to find out what the “fluid” was but found nothing.
    Tim

    • Hello Tim, several women have commented that those filled bras have caused the rash, and that’s before the bladder even broke. I have no idea what is in those bladders, but it seems to me that VS should have a label on them indicating the contents, and what to do if it breaks and contacts the skin.As for the theory of formaldehyde being in the bras… formaldehyde is a carcinogen, and we’re potentially putting our breasts into contact with it, without even the benefit of a warning label. It’s criminal, if you ask me.

  70. ****** Check this out, I was digging into Victoria secrets….
    Worse still,
    some of the other brands in this study, such as Esprit,
    Metersbonwe and Victoria’s Secret, are either completely
    non-transparent to their customers, or irresponsibly show
    no public awareness of the issue of hazardous chemical
    use in their products and their supply chain, as there is no
    publicly available information on their websites about RSL
    lists or relevant policies.

    link to Toxic Threads: The Big Fashion Stitch-Up.
    http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/publications/toxics/Water%202012/ToxicThreads01.pdf
    this was an eye opener, suggest not to buy any clothing made in china!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    main page:
    http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/publications/Campaign-reports/Toxics-reports/Big-Fashion-Stitch-Up/

  71. Pingback: Victoria’s Secret Toxic Bras | Shop Victorias Secret!

  72. I had the same problem!!! I ordered 2 body by victoria perfect coverage 38DD on Thanksgiving as they were buy 1 get one half off. I got them and immediately noticed a terrible smell. I wore it for about 10 minutes and developed raised itchy bumps in between my breasts…I washed the bra and it was no better the next day. I switched then out at the store hoping those would be better…*yeah right* and was also sized and told I was a 38DDD. So I switched the dds out for ddds and the SAME THING happened within minutes. Oddly enough I did try an unlined demi body by Victoria in the store and that did not cause problems immediately and I wore it for about 6 minutes…I can’t do demis though-or unlined. Ultimately I just went back to the store and returned. The sales girl who was all of 17 assured me they didn’t put any chemicals in or on their bras. Lies. Greenpeace has conducted studies that show otherwise. I don’t know about formaldehyde in particular but I wouldn’t rule it out. I’m seriously bummed because I’ve been wearing body by Victoria perfect coverage for years and they do fit wonderfully but I refuse to break out in a nasty, painful rash… I went to Dillards on Christmas Eve because I literally had no bras to wear that fit even close to correctly and I could hardly find anything there!! I ended up getting a 38 G modern movement bra or something on sale for $20. It doesn’t fit great and kind of chafes so I’ve just been wearing sports bras(and all but 2 bumps have cleared up). What’s really unfortunate is I ordered a VS sports bra during their $35 bra sale and it should be coming any day. It’s really hard to find a supportive bra for running… I was hoping this would be the answer to my prayers but I’m guessing I’ll just have another rash.

    To make matters worse after returning the bras to the store, the sales associate posted on Victoria’s Secret Facebook for sale group in our area, “Don’t believe what you read on the internet. We do not put chemicals in our bras.” A couple other people said they had had issues but most just made me feel belittled like a liar even though I posted a picture and explained the whole ordeal.

    The bras I purchased were also made in Sri Lanka but I bought some last summer that were made in Sri Lanka with no problem. I have worn them out of the store without washing even with no problem in the past!! Just all of a sudden, I’m severely breaking out! What’s changed and with so many women experiencing problems why is nothing being done? I will be calling corporate tomorrow and I hope not to get the same response as listed on L brands website….no, your bras are NOT safe. I’m so angry. Been such a loyal customer and now this???? Not to mention I don’t even know where to start looking for something comparable. Anyways thankso everyone for sharing your stories and maybe if enough of us speak out, VS will change their wicked ways.

    • Wow, Megan, you are super sensitive! And you had the same experience as many of us – wore the exact same bra for years, and suddenly wildly allergic. Weird that your bras were not made in China. But maybe the fabric that caused the problem, which probably IS made in China, is being exported to factories elsewhere.

      You see, this is how VS sidesteps any responsibility for this issue – it is true, that they don’t “add any chemicals to their bras.” That is because, I believe, the chemicals are already in the fabric when it arrives, so it is the fabric manufacturer that is responsible, technically. That said – VS is clearly aware of the issue if they’re posting signs in their stores – that is WILD. That also means that they could do something about what’s in the fabric they purchase to make their bras.

      However, another angle VS takes is that the vast majority of women don’t react to these “trace amounts of chemicals” and it’s only a small minority that have the allergic reaction. Their stance, therefore, is that there is nothing wrong with their product, and it is the women who are “defective.”

      We who react to whatever is in the fabric are like people who are allergic to peanuts – most people don’t react at all to peanuts, but those who do have a severe, even lethal reaction. So, the food industry labels products containing peanuts, so at least the consumer can be aware. VS, however, seems unwilling to do this, because it would mean that they’re aware of chemicals in the fabric, and THAT wouldn’t be very sexy, would it.

      Here’s the other thing – people can die from peanut allergies, but nobody dies from this allergic chemical reaction. Although it’s frighteningly uncomfortable, and the rash is disfiguring if it goes long enough, and women are spending money on visit to the doctor and all sorts of creams and powders, nobody dies. Sadly, I suspect that as long as the issue isn’t lethal, VS will continue to stonewall and admit nothing.

      Even more frustrating – VS is HUGELY lucrative, and if they were to quietly start purchasing chemical-free fabric, it would probably mean a price difference of about a buck or so. We spend so much on their product, what’s another buck? AND – if they did so, the problem would quietly go away and they could claim we’re all nuts.

      BUT! They won’t do this. Those of us who have been lifelong customers are getting the clear message that we don’t matter to them. And THAT is frustrating and maddening and insulting. I bought nothing but VS products exclusively for nearly 15 years, and I’m frustrated that my loyalty doesn’t matter to them.

      I feel USED!

    • Ha! That is the question we all want to know! I have been buying Ambrielle bras from JC Penney, and they are “good.” But not “great.”
      VS bras are still the best… unless you are allergic to the chemicals in the fabric. :/

  73. Hi Debra, I can’t thank you enough for this blog! I have been affected by this for 3.5 years, I went to an allergist and a dermatologist, have an amazing cream for my eczema, but no one knew what the problem was. I had just purchased a new mattress, so I was thinking it was that or a combination of the mattress and my Maidenform bras since it was only around my bra straps and underwire. I didn’t realize I purchased new bras about that time either, I just attributed the eczema to stress in my life. But this fall, my eczema became progressively worse, showing up on my neck, hands, and face.

    After I read your blog and others’ posts, I eliminated all of my Made in China bras, which made an immediate difference, but my neck and other affected areas were not clearing up. In fact, after wearing a 100% cotton turtleneck from Talbot’s, my husband looked at my neck and said it looked like I had been burned. That was on Dec. 8th and it is still not healed. I discovered I am touching these clothing items and then itching my face or the sleeves of jackets or sweaters are resting on my hands and causing the eczema to spread. I have a good deal of clothing from China that I can now only wear sparingly. The challenge has become where to find clothing not made in China. As for bras, I purchased Bali bras, I really like the Lilyette.I

    I have shared this issue with many people who find it very interesting, including my doctor. We are not only putting formaldehyde on our bodies by wearing the bras, but we are breathing it in from the clothes. Formaldehyde has been linked to respiratory issues, including asthma, and causes cancer! It’s unfortunate that the FDA does not recognize and rectify this. I am attempting to go in the other direction and not buy anything made in China, and support items made in USA. It has been quite a challenge! But it all started here with your blog, thank you so much! Happy New Year!

    • Hello, Kim! I’m so glad that I offered you some answers and help and relief, and that you followed up with your doctor! I hadn’t heard about these issues with Maidenform, but it goes to follow that if the fabric is made in China that more companies than VS are using it. I think the issue surfaced first with VS just because they are the biggest company.
      But you are correct – it is more than bras, it’s all sorts of fabric that contains trace elements of formaldehyde and God knows what else. Like you, I look at labels. If it was made in China, I don’t buy it unless there’s no other option. Also like you, the test is in the wearing – if you take it off and your skin clears up… put it back on and the rash comes roaring back… it’s the clothing.
      It’s astounding, the amount of trace chemicals we absorb through the skin. One item doesn’t seem like much, but when you add it all up… it’s enough to be a tipping point for some of us who are ultra sensitive.
      Glad you have found some answers and a Happy and Itch-free New Year to you too!

  74. I too have learned a lot. Usually just wore cotton sports bras but bought Warner bra RM0501A on 12/31/15. Washed it and remember thinking that it took a long time to dry. Wore it briefly 1/3 (my birthday) and 1/4. Slightly itchy on Sunday but by Monday night I was itchy from the base on my neck to the bottom of my feet and EVERYWHERE in between. Tried cortisone 10 and Aveeno body wash but nothing helped. So insanely itchy Monday night the only thing that helped was ice packs. Woke up at 3 and had a fat lip and when I got up by 6 my tongue was swollen. Had a difficult time chewing so just had water and coffee. By the time I went to the doctor at 10 it had subsided but doctor gave me prednisone and epipen. I am trying to eat exceptionally clean and exercise more to eliminate whatever toxins I was exposed to. Needless to say I will never were anything but cotton and nothing from China. Waiting for a response from Warner on exact content of material. I try to be proactive with my health so am passing this on to all. My scare is what may be going on internally when people wear these bras.

    • Hi Dawn,
      I guess it was only a matter of time before other lines of bras started having the rash issue pop up, because it’s the Chinese fabric that is the real issue and VS surely isn’t the only one to use it.
      You certainly had a severe reaction. You are even more allergic than me!
      Did it clear up when you stopped wearing the bra?
      As for cotton – my favorite VS bra was the cotton one, and that’s what caused the problem, so even that isn’t necessarily safe.
      So far, no one has reported issues with sports bras, like the ones made by Champion. The support isn’t great, and they certainly aren’t sexy… but itching isn’t sexy either.
      And yes… internally… I have to wonder if chemicals being absorbed through the skin are impacting the total chemical load on the body. The skin DOES absorb chemicals.
      Please report back and let us know how you are doing.

      • I have needed to buy HANRO bras and panties. It is expensive, but it’s safe (and for sure cotton without chemicals). FYI…..

      • They sure are!! Do I like spending the money……..NO!!! But I have to say, I haven’t had any issues with HANRO. It’s just a darn shame that we can’t buy bras that are safe for a reasonable amount of money!!! It’s just ridiculous.

      • Well, if you like them, that’s what counts. I’ve been wearing JC Penney’s Ambrielle line without issue but they are on the boring side. :/
        And yes, it’s ridiculous – so many women WANTING to buy a product, and VS couldn’t care less.
        Jerks.

      • I think it’s going to be so interesting to see how this plays out. You know that the problem is only going to get worse for them (Victoria Secret and other bra makers). Hopefully something disastrous (or fatal) doesn’t have to happen first to get them to wake up.

      • Well, oddly enough – until something disastrous DOES happen… they probably won’t do anything about it. They probably figure it’s cheaper to use crappy Chinese products and lost customers than use more expensive chemical-free fabric. And yes, the problem is going to spread, and all these women will wonder what sort of weird disease they have and spend money on creams and drugs and doctor visits… and all along… it’s their bra!

      • Absolutely crazy!!! More women need to wise up about it and take a stand. It’s way too important in our country to be “sexy” than healthy and happy.

  75. I am much better; only a little itchy still. Have talked with two people from Warner. They said “our products contain no other materials than exactly what is listed on our labels and are working to find out the nature of the foam used in the bra cups”. Talk out of two sides of their mouth. One woman sent me the spec sheets on the bra (but she probably wasn’t suppose to as she tried recalling the e-mail twice.)The spec sheet was interesting…”foam type 100%polyurethane/ washing standard approved after 3/5/10/15 washes….not yet approved” Let me know if anyone wants me to send them the spec sheet. I was beginning to think that my swelling was maybe due to the cortisone 10 cream but in reading more I have found two other people who had swelling. I am keeping everything in a bag and all my correspondences. Bra made in China..SunPo Molding International Ltd is the supplier of the foam.

    • Interesting… I am confused about the washing part… the standards are NOT approved after washing? Does washing degrade the fabric and allow chemicals to leach out?
      Thanks for reporting back and helping to spread awareness about fabric allergies!

  76. I’ve been experiencing same issue, I bought three bras a couple weeks ago and have worn two out of the three this past week, crazy itchiness around my left under breast and spreads into the back. I did scratch under my breast now i have this crazy rash. I called VS this morning all they said was return the bra if im not satisfied…something has to get done here. I’ve been applying hrydrocortisone cream for the past three days, stopped wearing their bra the itching continues and rash not going away….help

    • Oh no!! The same thing has happened to me and a most of us on this website. The thing is, my rash took at least a few weeks to go away. I tried Zeabsorb powder (used for jock itch). It did help, but it seemed like the rash just had to run it’s course. I too wish something could be done, but VS is absolutely terrible and it’s just about profits (for all of the manufacturers for that matter). Good luck……..it will go away, but it’s something that we all should not have had to experience!!

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