Corsets and Skin issues

This is a summary of the two video “Corsets and Common Skin Issues” and “More Severe Skin Problems and Corseting” which you can watch on YouTube here:

In this entry, I will go over the common skin issues that may arise with regular corseting, and I’ll also mention some more severe skin problems that rarely occur (but you should still look out for).

Please note that this article pertains mostly to genuine steel boned corsets made with a cotton strength layer. If you wear latex cinchers, you could have a different issue such as an allergic reaction to the rubber latex. I’ve given my thoughts on latex cinchers in this article.


Sweating is more of a problem if your corset or your liners are made from synthetic fibers instead of breathable natural fabrics. When possible, choose silk, cotton, bamboo and wool for your corsets and liners instead of polyester, nylon, vinyl etc. For those who like a bit of an edgier look to their corsets, real leather breathes better than pleather or PVC.

Sweating in a corset is hot, wet, uncomfortable, can worsen itching and chafing of your skin in the corset, and it can become a breeding ground for microbes which love dark, warm, moist, anaerobic conditions. Also, the sweat from your skin can damage your corset and causes the fabric to wear out faster. Worse, when your corset becomes soiled from sweat and oil, you will have to wash the corset more often, which also damages the fibers.

How can I control sweating when I already have a corset made from synthetic materials?

  • Use corset liners or shirts made from no less than 85% natural fibers like cotton or bamboo.
  • Bring multiple liners with you in your handbag so if you’re hot, you can change your liner when it gets sweaty.
  • Powder your skin before you put on the corset. I find I don’t need to do this, but it works the same way as using baby powder to prevent diaper rash. If you’re worried about talcum powder causing cancer, try cornstarch instead.
  • Last summer, I traveled to work a little early and put my corset on in the restroom – since my building was air conditioned, I was comfortable the entire time I was at work. I took the corset off again when I left for home, and if I felt like it I’d put the corset on again in the evening when my apartment was cooler. I was still able to waist train successfully this way.
  • Some corsetieres make “summer corsets” that are lighter and often made of one very strong layer of sport mesh to allow the skin to breathe. 


Both sweating and dry skin can cause itching. If you have very dry skin, use a moisturizer after showing and/or before putting on your corset. When my skin gets chapped in the winter I like to use cocoa butter (note: these days, I almost exclusively use extra-virgin olive oil on my skin). If you don’t like the greasy feeling of some moisturizers, udder cream (found at craft stores sometimes) will moisturize your skin and not leave a residue; however I still recommend you still wear a liner between your skin and your corset.
Itching can also be caused by wrinkles in your shirt or liner – your liner is supposed to shrink with your waist, so if you find your liner is wrinkling, it might be too big for you. Usually a liner containing 5-10% spandex or lycra will be stretchy enough and still be sufficiently breathable. In my experience it is easier to prevent wrinkles with nylon/lycra shirts or liners than it is with cotton or other natural liners, so there is a bit of a trade off between breathability and wrinkle-prevention.

How to scratch an itch under your corset

If I have an itch that I can’t ignore, then I can usually scratch the area with a little pencil or school-size wooden ruler. When it comes to scratching your skin under your tight corset, long, thin/flat objects usually do the trick. If the itch doesn’t go away, then take the corset off and do what you need to do to rectify the situation – scratch/change your shirt/moisturize etc.


When you ignore an itch, it can sometimes turn into a chafing or burning sensation. Your corset might not be fitting right (either from incorrect measurements or due to a slight twisting or riding up of the corset on your torso over several minutes/hours). Little micro-movements and shifting of the corset cause abrasion on your skin. Taking the corset off and putting it back on again, ensuring that it is straight and sitting properly at the waist, can often get rid of the problem. You can also try to change your shirt/liner as wrinkles can cause chafing. Sometimes if a corset is not of the best construction, then internal boning channels can cause chafing. This problem is more common in off-the-peg corsets than it is for custom corsets.


Pressure points

These sore spots are caused by the contours of a corset not following the contours of your body, and thus parts of the corset push down more on some parts of your body than other parts. People who corset too tightly before they’re ready (or if they bruise easily) may find bruises caused by pressure points especially where bone is close under the skin, such as the ribs or hipbones.

Take care of the pressure points by loosening your corset or taking it off completely. If you get pressure points from a custom made corset even after you’ve broken it in, take it back to the corsetiere and get it refitted. If these pressure points are ignored for a long period of time, you can start developing ulcers and your skin can become necrotic (compare it to a bedridden patient with bedsores). You do NOT want it to get that bad, so do be careful to take care of your pressure points.

Skin infections / irritations

Some microbes LOVE  dark, moist, anaerobic environments, especially yeast. You may think that candida overgrowth can only occur in your private parts or in your mouth (thrush) but it can happen anywhere you have folds of skin. Not all, but many morbidly obese people can get candida infections under their arms or breasts etc. However, if you’re not careful, you can create this environment on your skin underneath your corset, no matter what your size or shape.

How to prevent skin infections

Having a corset that breathes will help, as well minimizing your sweating and practicing good hygiene. You don’t need to become germophobic and use antibacterial soaps – remember, you have a good, balanced coating of good bacteria on your skin in order to keep bad microbes like MRSA and candida under control. Antibacterial soap ruins the balance of the ecosystem on your skin, allowing the growth for harmful microbes. Just wash with normal soap, and wash regularly.

If you do find an unusual skin rash, irritation or infection beginning to form on your skin, see your doctor or dermatologist quickly so you can catch it before it begins to spread. I learned this the hard way: When I got my first corset, I coincidentally developed an atypical case of pityriasis rosea at the same time (not caused by the corset).  My first thought was maybe my corset had picked up ringworm during manufacturing or delivery, but as it turns out pityriasis is a one-time nuisance and it went away on its own after a few weeks. However, if I had gotten my skin checked out when the initial herald patch occurred, I could have saved myself a great amount of unnecessary anxiety.

Skin calluses and “toughening” of your skin

The same way your feet toughen up when you start wearing sandals, I’ve heard of the skin of corseters toughening if they don’t moisturize or wear liners. Some of these corseters claim that toughening up the skin can prevent itching, abrasions etc., however this is an option I would never take; I certainly don’t want calluses on my torso and prefer to keep my skin soft.

Dry brushing for soft skin

I’ve been dry brushing my skin for several years now. There are supposedly many advantages to dry brushing, like clearing out your lymph system, helping improve circulation, and reducing the appearance of cellulite. I don’t know how true these claims are, but I love the way it feels and it keeps my skin soft and glowing. I have no calluses anywhere on my body (including my feet) and dry brushing has also helped reduce the small bumps and ingrown hairs on my elbows and knees. One brush will last several years if you keep it clean.

Next time we shall discuss how a person’s girth can affect the way they corset: full-figured corseters and what they can expect when waist training.

Lucy’s Little Life Lesson: Practicing good hygiene is not only good for your health, but also good for your social life.

*Please note that this article is strictly my opinion and provided for information purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of a medical doctor. Please talk to your doctor if you’d like to start wearing a corset.*

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25 comments on “Corsets and Skin issues

  1. Kelly Lassiter on said:


    First of all, thank you for your open forum. I hope you have some advice. 🙂 I recently started wearing a waist trainer. It’s a traditional corset with steel boning. I’m hoping I can shave off inches. I used to be a size 25 waist and I’m currently stuck at 29.5 after my second C-section. My concern is that it’s pushing the skin down and that my result might be a smaller waist but at the cost of having that “skin flap” (aka “mother’s apron belly) in the lower abdomen. Do you have any experience with this? Also, how tight should it be to be effective? I am tightening my enough so that it is just slightly uncomfortable but not so much that it alters my breathing or anything. I’m only wearing for a few hours each day. Is this enough to see results? Thanks for your help!

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hi Kelly, thanks for your comment. When you’re wearing your corset, you should pull up your lower tummy up into the corset and make sure it’s smooth and supported inside with no horizontal skin folds or uncomfortable skin pinching. I have a video on getting your lower tummy up into your corset here. Generally speaking, the longer you wear your corset the better the results should be. Ann Grogan, a waist training coach, says that it’s better to wear a corset at 26 inches for 6 hours, as opposed to wearing your corset at 25 inches for only 1 hour. The body responds best to consistency. 🙂

  2. Does internal boning (even if there’s a thin satin lining) cause pressure points more easily than, say, sandwiched or external boning? I’m learning to make my own corsets, and I’d love to make one with internal boning in order to make it more “discreet” to wear under clothes without boning lines showing through, but I heard somewhere that internal bones are more likely to cause pressure points? :/

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hi Adora, I personally find that internal boning channels are the most irritating compared to sandwiched/ external channels. Even if there is a lining or some other thin fabric barrier between the skin and the corset, it is the “lumps” from the bones inside that leaves impressions on the skin which may become itchy or irritated. I wear corsets with internal channels only on an occasional basis, often for a special event where I want the outside of the corset to be smooth for aesthetic purposes. But for daily wear, my training corsets are almost exclusively made with external channels and a very smooth interior.

  3. Aisha on said:

    I’m new to waist train. Im have difficult problems because when I wear the Belt it often rolls up. And when i sit it does the same. What do u recommend..

  4. Sonya Hanes on said:

    Hello so I’ve been wearing my corset on and off for a couple months but Monday I actually started running in it in the mornings it’s a sports one from Bodigodess, and I have been wearing it for 9-11 hours a day. I noticed some itchiness and it look red inside my belly button, what do you suggest I took it off after wearing it for 4 hours today.

  5. natalie on said:

    Hi there, I have been wearing a corset on and off for a couple of months. I have a mesh looking corset with quite hard thick ribbing. I find it comfortable to wear although after wearing it consecutively (few hours on couple times a day) I found that my skin on my side under my rib cage became indented with the red lines, I assumed that was quite normal as its something tight pushed against my skin. I don’t wear a liner only a thick singlet top to prevent sweat affecting my corset. I found the indent red lines became very itchy and sore so I gave the corset a rest for a couple of weeks until it settled. Unfortunately its left scar lines. Would a liner most likely prevent this from occurring? I would like to persevere but naturally I don’t want anymore scars. I would love some feedback? Thanks, natalie

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hi Natalie, discomfort and permanent marks from your corset is not normal. What brand and style are you wearing? Does it have steel bones? A singlet under your corset should be fine as long as it doesn’t wrinkle – it doesn’t have to be thick at all though, just a thin cotton will do. You were right to take some time off from the corset to let your skin heal.

  6. Hello there, I’ve been waist training for a month now and today I took off my waist clincher after wearing it for 11 hours today and I noticed a row of 14 bumps ranging from small to tiny full of puss. That hurt a little, do you have an idea what they maybe

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hi Cin, which corset are you using? That is really not normal – I have never heard of another case where a corset has caused pimples or boils. Blisters are possible if the corset doesn’t fit you correctly or if it wasn’t worn with any kind of liner to protect your skin. I would stop using the corset until your skin heals, and see a dermatologist if you’re worried.

  7. I have tried for at least a week at a time with the corset cincher training, my issue is that while the cincher is do its job and I am notuncorfortable by the 3rd day the toop part start to dig into my sides and I have scars cause of it. I only iwear it while I am erect meaning while I a m working and takeit off as soon as I get home. I have a small torso so it fits properly it just digs into my skin and is very painful days after. What can I do to minimize the scarring aside from wearing something on top of it ..

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hi Shea, it sounds like your cincher is not properly fitting you. The top or bottom edges of the corset should never dig into your body. Only the waist should be cinched, and the top edge should just gently cradle your upper ribcage while the bottom just supports the hips but not cut in. Contact customer service of the company you purchased it from, and ask if you can get a refund. Then see these other options for curvier cinchers that may be less likely to dig into your skin.

  8. Domonique on said:

    How do you keep waist trainers from rolling up?

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hi Domonique, if your corset is a true waist-training corset, then it should not roll up at all! Is it possible that you’re using one of the latex cinchers instead of a real corset? I have an article on the differences here.

      • Hi! I just had a baby (c-section) 10 months ago and I made the mistake in buying one those latex fajas and it rolls up so much! So annoying! I now know that a true corset does not do that but what if you have kind of a double bet due to the after math of pregnancy? What do you recommend ?

        • bishonenrancher on said:

          Hello Ya, first I’d recommend going to your doctor and making sure that she or he is alright with you wearing compression garments. Some other corset wearers have told me that after surgery, they had to wait a year or more to fully heal, so it’s good to make sure that there will be no complications. If you have some tummy hanging down, you might need a longline corset to flatten it. If you have a long torso, I have a gallery of longline corsets here, and if you have a short torso, here is a different gallery of suggestions.

  9. Sacire on said:

    I have recently started corseting and I have some scarring close to the hip area, under my stomach. What can I do to treat and prevent this?

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hi Sacire, I’m sorry to hear about your scarring, but I can’t really pinpoint the cause of it without knowing what corset you’re using, how often and how long you’re wearing it, whether you’re using a proper liner, how sensitive your skin is to begin with, whether the scarring happened before or after corseting, etc. If you’re concerned, I would highly recommend you talk to a dermatologist!

  10. crystal on said:

    I’m not waste-training but I have worn a corset twice maybe. The thing that is irritating is that when I take it off, you see the indents on my skin from where the boning was. Can I get rid of this with a liner? Or is this just normal..?

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hi Crystal, as long as you’re wearing the same corset, you will likely see the indentation from the bones. It depends on the construction of the corset. If you have a corset with external boning channels and the inside is smooth, you will notice fewer indentations. I’m guessing that the corset you currently have contains internal channels, or sandwiched bones which is causing the marks on your skin. A proper liner may be able to reduce the amount of lines, but unless you get a different corset, you will still get some marks on your skin. Fortunately, the marks shouldn’t stay forever – they should fade after a couple hours of taking your corset off.

  11. Intuition on said:

    Hi Lucy!

    I’m new at corsetting, i’ve started using mine just for 1month and 10days, but about 1 week ago i0ve started to nottest something on my skin, on my ribs, i don’t know what it is, it seems to be some kind of irritation, but i don’t know..the only thing i know is that it’s a little itchy. Can you help me please? I would like to talk with you in private, do you have a e-mail or something like that please?
    Thank you so much

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