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Corsets and Skin issues

Last updated on April 4th, 2021 at 05:40 pm

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

People vector created by brgfx –

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

Dry, cracked and wrinkled elephant skin (via cocoparisienne on Pixabay)

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.*

38 thoughts on “Corsets and Skin issues

  1. Hey Lucy, I first want to say thank you for making and keeping your videos up. I’ve been watching them for years! You bring up good points and I love how informative you are!

    My questions is in regards to 2 bumps I’ve developed on my spine. Over the years I would try to waist train every now and again, but was never consistent. So a few weeks ago I started wearing it mostly every day for about 2 hours. However during my “rolling like a ball” Pilates move I noticed a slight pain. Didn’t think anything of it. Then I started sleeping with it every night for 4 nights and notice the two painful bumps on my spin. One of them is a little bluish in colour. I’ve since stopped wearing it and they’ve gone down.
    I didn’t feel pain while I was wearing it and it didn’t feel too tight. Would you know a way for me to avoid getting these bumps again?

    Thank you in advance for taking the time to read my question! Much love 💕

    1. Hi Eleni, does your corset lace fully closed in the back, or does it have a lacing gap? If you have a bony spine, having a lacing gap will help prevent the corset steels from rubbing against those spinous processes. But I’m not there to see your bumps or analyze the fit of the corset, so if it happens again and you’re concerned, I’d definitely see a doctor.

      1. Thanks for getting back to me! No it doesn’t lace fully closed. I have quite a bit to go actually. It’s the waspy fit from orchard corsetry.

        I’m not sure where I went wrong, did I wear it for too long too soon? Although it felt perfectly fine, I was able to sleep in it. Would you by any chance know of a coach who can help me out? Or just look over some photos and give me some guidance? This is really something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and I really don’t want to give up. Thanks again! 🤗

        1. Hi Eleni, I would definitely take a break from the corset until the irritation is completely gone. Regarding looking at your personal photos and suggesting solutions, this might actually be considered beyond my scope of work – I have to be very careful about not making any “diagnosis” per se – if you’re really concerned I would recommend going to a real physician.

  2. Hi pls I just started waist training but I have severe itching whenever I wear it for up to 5hrs after removing it my belly itches a lot, pls will this lead to stretch marks? How can I avoid it

    1. Hi Precious, what kind of corset are you wearing? If it’s a rubber cincher, then you might be allergic to the latex and I would definitely avoid wearing it. 100% cotton or mesh is better for the skin. Always wear a corset liner between your body and the corset, making sure it’s snug with no wrinkling under the corset. Some people who sweat a lot like to use powder, while other people with dry skin prefer a good lotion – it’s up to you and how your skin normally is. I prefer to go without lotion these days as I itch more with cream than without. Itching is not usually a sign of stretch marks coming, but I would definitely try to clear up the itching for your own comfort and for the general health of your skin.

  3. Hi! I just got my first corset from Orchard Corsets, and I’ve been wearing it daily from 2 to 5 hours for one and a half week. Overall, I’m very satisfied, except that there is a pressure point on a rib. I’m quite lean and my ribs tend to stick out and there’s one bone in the corset that sometimes presses against a rib on the right side of my chest. I usually don’t feel pain at that rib until after the 3rd hour of wearing the corset, especially when I’m seated. I don’t feel it much either if I use the upper part of my lungs more, but I’m not used to that pattern of breathing and sometimes I get a little out of breath when breathing that way while walking (I don’t usually get anywhere close to out of breath when walking unless going uphills or carrying something heavy). I don’t think it’s that bad since there’s no visible blemish on my skin at that rib and the pain at that rib dies down within a few hours after I take off the corset. My waist has already adapted to a 2 inch reduction. The rib spring is 6 inches. Does it mean that I’m lacing too tightly too quickly for my ribs to adapt?

  4. Been wherein a waist trainer for 2 day woke up today n have blisters on my sides

    1. Hi Janet, what corset brand and style was recommended for you? And are you sleeping in your corset, or have you broken it in / seasoned it at all? Also, are you wearing a corset or a rubber / neoprene garment? Corsets and rubber cinchers are two very different things that work differently!

  5. Hi! I wore a corset yesterday and today I woke up with what seemed to look and feel a lot like sunburns on my skin. My entire stomach/back is bright red & somewhat painful. Is this common at all? I am hoping it will clear up in a few days. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jessica, that does not sound normal at all. Were you wearing a liner or some kind of cotton tank top between your body and the corset? That can stop any rubbing or chafing against your skin.
      Also, how regularly do you wear a corset and how long (and how tight) did you wear yours yesterday? Just like how we get sore skin on our feet when we wear strappy sandals for the first time after a long winter of soft socks and insulated boots, the skin on our torso can be sore if we don’t wear a corset in a long time and then we suddenly wear it for extended durations.

  6. Hi I don’t know if this will be replied to but just in case….I have had these bruise like spots on my stomach from waist training, but they don’t hurt so idk if they are bruises. I admit, maybe I’ve gone to tight with a waist trainer but not over excessively where I can’t breathe and I’m in physical pain, no, simply just a hook up and leaving it on for a hour over due. These spots have been on my stomach area for about 2 months and have not made progress on disappearing. If anyone see’s this or has the same experience..plz help.

    1. Hi Rose, that doesn’t sound normal at all. I would stop wearing that corset until it eventually clears up – and if you’re really concerned, speak to a doctor or skin specialist.

  7. Hey!

    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!

    1. 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. :)

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