Does Not Wearing a Bra Cause Sagging?
We’ve quarantined and lounged about for two years now. And while that may eventually come to an end, wearing our comfy clothes won’t. No one wants to spend more time than they have to in restrictive styles, but what if wearing a bra can help with sagging breasts? We’ve got answers on all your questions about what really causes breast sagging (going braless or not) as well as the best bras for sagging breasts so you don’t have to wonder anymore. Here’s to your boobs.
Common Beliefs About Sagging Breasts
There are many beliefs surrounding sagging breasts, some being true while others just being mere myths. Let's explore some common beliefs.
Wearing Bras Prevents or Causes Sagging
Many women wonder whether wearing bras can prevent or cause their breasts to sag over time. Their fears are worsened by the conflicting reports and opinions communicated to them. Does ditching your bra cause gravity to pull those delicate curves southwards, and do bras prevent sagging? Does not wearing a bra cause sagging? But what does the scientific evidence say? Hold your horses, as the truth is more complex than it seems. We’ll explore this further later in this article.
Breastfeeding Causes Sagging
Another common belief is that breastfeeding causes sagging. Many women fear breastfeeding and think it is the culprit behind the dreaded droop. But what is the truth of the matter? As we will learn, it is not about breastfeeding but rather the weight change.
Small Breasts Don't Sag
Another belief that many have held is that breast sagging only happens for larger breasts. Some believe that small breasts don't sag. The truth is, even small breasts are subject to gravity, definitely not as much as larger breasts since they have less tissue pulling down, but they also experience their fair share of sagging.
You Can't Prevent Breast Sagging
Finally, since breast sagging is a natural process, some believe that there is nothing you can do to prevent it. While sagging is part of the natural progression of aging, it does not mean there is nothing you can do about it. Certain lifestyle choices have been proven to affect the amount of breast sag you encounter. Smoking, sunbathing, and crash diets are some that can worsen breast sagging.
Anatomy of Breasts
To better understand why breasts sag, it helps if we first know what they are made of. Primarily, breasts are composed of fat, glandular tissue, also called lobules, and connective tissue or fibrous. The glandular tissue consists of lobes and lobules that produce milk during lactation. The connective tissue includes the skin and the ligaments that support the breast shape. The breasts also have blood vessels, lymph vessels, and nerves that supply them with nutrients, oxygen, and sensations.
The breasts do not have muscles, so they cannot be toned or strengthened by exercise. However, there are pectoralis major and minor muscles underneath the breasts, and they help with the movement of the arms and shoulders.
The different tissues that form the breast can occur in different ratios in a person's life. The fluctuations in the ratios cause the corresponding change in the perkiness of one's breasts. As we are about to discuss, several factors can cause changes in breast composition and cause sagging.
Factors Contributing to Breast Sagging
There are some of the most common factors that contribute to breast sagging.
- Aging: Breast sagging, or ptosis, is a natural consequence of aging and gravity. As time continues its relentless march, a woman's body gets older; her skin loses elasticity, the ligaments stretch and lose strength. The aging causes the breast to lose the perkiness of the former days and bow to gravity. However, aging is not the only factor that can cause breast sagging.
- Pregnancy: Pregnancy causes breasts to enlarge and swell due to hormonal changes, creating room for milk production. This can stretch the skin and breast ligaments. After childbirth, they lose some of the weight gained, which can cause the breasts to sag.
- Menopause: After menopause, the body makes less estrogen than before. It causes the breast tissue to shrink and appear smaller and less full. As estrogen levels decrease, the connective tissues supporting the breasts become less elastic, causing the breast tissues to sag.
- Weight fluctuations: Gaining or losing weight causes changes in breast size and tissue composition. If you gain weight in a short amount of time, your breast skin and ligaments will stretch. After weight loss, the ligaments and skin may not snap back to their original shape, contributing to sagging.
- Smoking: Smoking increases exposure to harmful chemicals called free radicals. These chemicals cause collagen and elastin to break down; hence, the breast sag since these are the fibers that give the skin its strength.
- Sun exposure: Sun exposure also damages the collagen and elastin fibers in the skin.
Drawbacks & Benefits of Wearing a Bra
Now, let's tackle the million-dollar question: to bra or not to bra? Let us explore the benefits and drawbacks of each option.
Wearing a bra brings with it many benefits, including:
- Support: Primarily, the function of a bra is to lift and support your breasts. Supporting your breasts helps to prevent various back and neck problems, especially for those with larger breasts. It also helps reduce the strain on the ligaments, hence reducing discomfort.
- Enhanced comfort: A bra provides comfort to your breasts by reducing friction, chafing, bouncing, and sweating. Bras for a sense of security for your breasts against rough clothes or anything else that would cause discomfort.
- Shape enhancement: Many women are insecure about their physical appearance. Bras can provide a flattering shape and lift as you need. Whether lifting the breasts to look perkier, contouring them to show more cleavage, achieving symmetry, or minimizing them to fit in a button-down shirt, bras are proven tools for breast shape enhancement. A bra can help you fit better into your clothes and boost confidence.
Some drawbacks of wearing a bra include.
- Discomfort: Just as they offer comfort, an ill-fitted bra can be a real pain in the neck - literally. It could cause discomfort for your breasts by digging into your skin, causing irritation and compressing your breast tissue.
- Expense: Quality bras can be pricey to acquire.
As you can see, there’s no definite research that suggests there’s any disadvantage to wearing a bra. In fact, as long as your bra fits you well and is made with comfortable materials that help hold you in place and support you, it’s great to wear one. For women who have larger breasts and experience back or neck discomfort from the added weight, wearing supportive bras can help keep you comfortable and prevent pain.
Bras and Sagging
Wearing the wrong size bra or one that fits poorly can contribute to the weakening of the ligaments attached to your chest muscles, causing breast sagging. Why? A badly fit bra puts more stress on your tissue over time, can likely cause back pain and general discomfort. A little secret: your breasts don’t actually have any actual muscle tissue in them; those Cooper’s Ligaments that run throughout your breasts are like elastic strings that connect to your chest (otherwise known as your pectoral) muscles.
As you get older or your hormones change and those ligaments get weaker and become slack. What happens to our breast tissue is similar to what happens to our skin as we age – we lose strength from our collagen fibers, causing sagging and wrinkles. Depending on genetics and age, it’s more likely your breast tissue will droop naturally.
Does Not Wearing a Bra Cause Sagging?
Long story short: not wearing a bra may cause saggy breasts. Some experts say, however, it’s a good idea to let those babies breathe once in a while. That means take a break from your wired bra when you get home or are just lounging about. We’re fans of wired and wireless bras alike, but there's no clear winner between wireless bras vs underwire bras. It's really up to personal preference. So if you’re looking for a break from a wired bra or tight constricting sports bras, try something wireless that’s made from super soft material and still gives you that support you need. If you're looking for a wired bra that's more breathable, try an unlined bra. Learn more about unlined vs lightly lines bras to see which is right for you.
At the end of the day, sagging is just a natural phenomenon that happens to your boobs over time and there are plenty of bras out there to help lift sagging breasts. And if you’re wearing a bad bra, remember it’s not you—it’s the bra. Get a good fitting bra and say goodbye to uncomfortable, bad bras for good to help reduce the stress on your breast tissue, neck and back. If you need a little help, go ahead and take our Fitting Room Quiz to see what we’ve picked for you at ThirdLove.