My corset-specific skin care regimen really is tailored to me, so I can’t assume that it will work as well for everyone. I definitely did have to fight a lot of itching the first couple months of wearing corsets daily (which I did as soon as I seasoned my first one). However, the skin really does get used to it after a while. It’s not quite a callusing effect, but the concept is similar in that the body no longer reacts to the corset or liner pressed so tightly against it. That of course, goes out the window if you have a wrinkly or dirty liner!
With that in mind, I use nylon/spandex or polyester liners only. I know that there are a lot of folks who disagree with this, but I find them to be ideal for a couple reasons.
1) The ability to really s-t-r-e-t-c-h the liner is vital in being able to tug out the wrinkles without creating new ones beneath the corset.
2) Manmade materials are, in my experience, extremely strong. I still use the same nylon undershirt I started with on a very regular basis.
3) Does not absorb moisture (unless specifically designed as activewear) – I do not want to have my body oils and sweat wicked away to my corset!
But how, then, do I keep my mid-section moisture at bay? Body powder. Lots of it in the summer. Because talc has been shown to be carcinogenic, I try to avoid it. However, most commonly-available non-talc based body powders contain some perfumes that fall into the category of “scary chemicals”. Plain old corn starch is a decent option if you are really concerned. Or you could just play the same “how long can I not breathe for” game that I do when powdering up! (This could also be due to the fact that I live in America, where lots of toxic things are still allowed.) An unexpected consequence of allowing my body oils to stay close to my skin, though, has been extremely soft skin around my waist.
Probably one of the most important ingredients to my regimen, though, is time spent in a dry sauna around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The gym at which I am a rat has one large enough for me to hang out in for a substantial amount of time. I’ve worked up to the point of spending about 30-40 minutes in there, usually 3 days a week after my regular workouts. Every pore in my body is cleared out by the time I’m done. And before my skin cools down, I give it a good scrub with an exfoliating product. I use St. Ive’s Apricot Scrub, just because it works and is inexpensive. Dap it on a wash rag, then go to town on the waist – all the way around. So, even though I live in a very arid region now, I never have issues with dry skin on my waist, even if I do everywhere else. Lotions on the waist are a no-no to me, but depending on how your skin reacts, it could be just fine. The additional moisture in there just seems to increase the likelihood of itching recurring.
I still do have what I refer to as “cinch marks” at the narrowest part of my waist. They’re just little red marks where the most pressure is applied. These seem unavoidable, and my flesh has simply become accustomed to it over time. This goes for my tiger stripes as well (i.e. lace lashes). The majority of my corsets do not have hard back panels, so, again, the skin becomes accustomed to that sort of sensation.
So, that was an excess of explanation. But what works for the rest of you?