Some of you have written that you still have problems attaching your breast forms. Some of you have questions about using bras with silicone breast forms. I'll try to answer your questions here.
I have tried gluing my "Silicone Balloon" breast forms, which rip apart.
The lower end of the market has seen so much development that living with these awful things is no longer necessary. If you still have some, replace them. Sturdier alternatives now exist for less money than you spent on your 'balloon' forms.
I've tried everything, but my breast forms don't stay on.I get a lot of mail about this, so it's clear that many of you still have trouble, even with more expensive breast forms and adhesives. Different skin types might cause this. Some of us are oilier, and some sweat more than others. People with dry, non-sweaty skin will have an easier time getting their breast forms to stay on. You may be having problems because you have "problem" skin. But with effort, I believe you can achieve a successful transformation for at least a few hours, probably longer. The first step in solving these problems is double-checking the basics. You must be meticulous, especially if you fall into the problem skin-type category:
- It is critically important to prepare your skin. Exfoliate (you can do this the night before), shave or epilate and shower or bathe. I also recommend cleaning the attachment area with some alcohol.
- Don't use moisturizers or creams, including moisturizing soap.
- Make sure your breast form is clean. You should clean it well right after you use it, but a quick swab with some alcohol before applying the adhesive is a great idea.
- Use something like Telesis Top Guard or Skin Tac wipes on your skin to help with oil and sweat issues.
- After applying the adhesive to the forms, make sure you wait long enough. With silicone adhesive, even 20-minutes is not too long to wait but wait at least five minutes. Remember that it should be tacky before you put it on. The tackier it is, the better your chances for successful bonding.
- You don't need a lot of adhesive. Aim for an even, thin layer.
Some of you say you have done all the above religiously and still have problems. I believe you. Here are some other things to try:
- Controlling sweat. Silicone is an insulator, meaning the area underneath your breast forms will get hot. When that happens, you are going to sweat. Some people will sweat more (some a lot more) than others. No adhesive is impervious to sweat. Dealing with sweat deserves an article, and here it is. A quick summary is that antiperspirants work best if applied before you go to bed. It's amazing how much better they work. And try stronger antiperspirants. See the article for more details.
- Use iron oxide as a base for the adhesive. See my latest application technique here. It helps a lot with sweaty and oily skin.
- Don't apply adhesive everywhere. You might be over-applying adhesive. You don't need it on the centers of the forms, just around the edges. Applying the adhesive everywhere on the form can increase your chances of sweating and make it harder to keep the form on!
- Applying adhesive to your skin and the breast form. This should create a powerful bond. It might be harder to remove.
- Don't deform the breast forms! I believe this could be one of the largest causes of failure. If you are having trouble getting your breasts to stick, it is natural to press harder and longer on them. This problem is that silicone breasts are elastic and have a natural resting shape. If you change that shape by pressing on the form, when you remove the pressure, like any elastic, the forms will try to return to their natural shape, pulling away from the places where they are attached to your chest. You can use a bra, such as a sports bra, to hold them on while the adhesive sets, but make sure it is not so tight that it changes the form's natural shape. This is crucial.
- Work from the inside out. This is standard advice for attaching prosthetics. The breast forms are naturally sticky, so focus most of your attention on the edges.
My sponge soaks up too much adhesive and wastes it.
Some of you have written that using a sponge soaks up too much of the Telesis adhesive. I think you must be using a sponge which is too large! Use a small one, or if you don't have a small one, do what I do and cut down an existing sponge. Or you can also use a brush. I have switched back to brushes.
That's all the advice I have. Let me know how this works out for you.
What's the best way to use Bras with Breast Forms?
If you have balloon breast forms, the only solution is to use a pocket bra. As breast form design has evolved, it has become more complex. Your manufacturer should list which bras will and won't work with your breast forms.
Step one: Make sure your bra fits
This is the most important step. The bra should not be so tight that it leaves red marks and welts on your shoulders and ribcage. Only ten percent of the bra support comes from the straps over your shoulder. The other ninety percent should come from the band. You want to be able to slide two fingers under both the straps and the band. If you can fit more fingers in, use a smaller band. In my experience, most women use too small and tight bras.
The bra band shouldn't be too large. If you think about the simple physics of bras, the strap should be level or slightly below your breasts. A bra strap that is too loose won't support the breasts, which will press down on the bra and cause the strap to go up in the back. A bra strap that rides up on your back is the number one clue that your strap is too large (or loose).
If the cup size is too large, the bra will sit too low on the front of your body. If you find space between your bra cup and your breast (or your breast forms always peel away from your skin), go down a cup size.
When looking for the proper bra, I always toot-the-horn for the Bratabase. Many thanks to Emily Alt, trans beauty and bra lover, for this information!
Step 2: Putting on your bra
- Put your arms through the straps, lean forward, and fasten the back on the hooks.
- Place the breast forms in each cup while leaning forward. You want to ensure your breasts are settled comfortably and correctly into the cups, which won't happen if you try this standing up straight.
- While still leaning forward, grab the underwire or bottom of each cup, and wiggle gently from side to side.
- Slip your hand inside the cup and lift the breasts up and toward each other gently.
- At this point, you will need to adjust the shoulder straps. Slip each off your shoulder one at a time to adjust the sliders. They must be short enough to stay in place without cutting your skin.
Step 3: Still having trouble? Double-check that fit!
Once you get the hang of this bra stuff, it will be simple. Sometimes we tend to ignore the simple things, so let's take a moment to double-check things:
- Does the band fit? A properly fitting band provides most of the support. It should fit perfectly on the loosest hook if it is new. Some people think those hooks on the back are there to adjust the fit. Oh no! They are there because a perfectly fitting bra, being elastic, will start to stretch out, and, over time, you will need to move to the tighter hooks. If your bra is new and only fits you well on the tighter hooks, you need a smaller band size. If the back of the band rides up, then your band size is too large. Be aware that if you move to another band size, you might also need to change the cup size. As a rule of thumb, going down a band size means going up one cup size.
- Does the cup fit? The breast cup should be filled with no wrinkled fabric or extra space. If there is any spillage, the cup size is too small, even if you use a low-cut or pushup bra. Check around the cups for bulging, either at the front or the sides under your arms. Bulging means the cups are too small.
- Where does that underwire go? If you have an underwire bra, the wires are intended to sit on your ribs, not the breast tissue. Since most people reading this are using breast forms, it won't be uncomfortable (as it would if you had real breasts), so you might not notice it if you don't check it. When the underwire is in the right place, it will look much better and be easier on your breast forms.
The Joys of a Properly Fitting Bra.
When I finally figured out bras and started using ones that fit me, it made an amazing difference in the appearance of my clothes. And your breasts will look much more amazing also! Your breast line will suddenly be at the correct level, proportional to your figure (about halfway between your elbow and shoulder). And since this is where designers expect your breasts to be, your clothes will fit much better. It's amazing how much better shirts, long dresses, tops, everything looks with a properly positioned breast, either in the bra or attached with adhesive.
Other Bra Issues
While I'm writing about bras, there are other issues we can talk about.
Keeping Bra Straps from Falling
I don't know about you, but as far as I am concerned, this is the most irritating wardrobe malfunction. The most common cause for this is the obvious one: they are too loose. Bra straps loosen with wear, so they do need frequent adjusting. If you can put more than two fingers under the strap, it's too loose.
It can also be caused by wearing a bra style that is wrong for your particular body/breast form combo. If you have narrow or sloping shoulders, you must ensure that the bra's straps are not too far apart. You can try demi or balconette bras, which have closer straps.
If your straps are properly adjusted, and you love your bra, but the straps still slip, here are some other solutions:
Strap-keepers These go back to the 1940's and the Hollywood starlets. They are thin pieces of ribbon with a snap sewn on each end. You pin them into your dress or top (careful to grab only the lining so it doesn't show on the outside) and then snap them around your bra straps. You can buy them for about two dollars at any sewing or notions shop.
I learned about these because I have a beautiful vintage-style dress with them already sewn in! I thought the tiny ribbons with snaps were there to keep the clothes on the hanger, and I know some women cut them off. Oh no! But if you're lucky, your dress will already have them, or you can add them yourself or pay someone to do it.
Topstick tape Put some of this stuff onto your bra straps at the shoulders; they will stick to your dress. They stay on all day.
You can go backless with a bra! It's easy. You buy these amazing things called low-back bra converters. These hook onto both sides of your existing bra clasp and wraps around the front of your lower stomach, pulling the band down in the back, hiding it while still giving maximum support in the front. If you are on a budget or cheap, you can make your own with a piece of elastic and some hooks from a bra that is too stretched to wear or use safety pins.
Backless and strapless require a long-line bra, which I haven't yet tried. I will update this article when I do.
No one has asked me about this, but since I'm on the topic, I thought I would address this. I hope you are all washing your bras by hand. Soak them in the bathroom sink in warm water with a capful of gentle laundry soap for about ten minutes, then rinse well. Rinse them! Excess soap attracts dirt and makes your bras wear out faster.
To dry them, lay them on a clean, dry towel until they are not dripping wet, then hang them by both straps on a hanger to air dry. Make sure the cups still look like cups and are not dented. Gently reshape dented bras with your fingers. Do not wring, twist or press your bras, which will cause them to lose their shape.
I hope this has been helpful and your breasts stay put, and your bra straps stay up. I know many of you are having issues, so I hope this helps you out. Let me know how it's going. Feel free to write me