The topic of bras and whether or not one should wear them has been widely debated for years. While some people swear by the supportive power of wearing a bra, others insist that not wearing a bra can actually be beneficial. But what about sagging — does not wearing a bra cause sagging?
Let's find out.
First, Let’s Talk About the Anatomy of the Breast
The breast is made up of fatty tissue, glandular tissue, connective tissues, and ligaments. The underlying muscle helps support the breasts from underneath but does not provide significant lift or shape by itself. The connective tissues and ligaments within the breast — known as Cooper's Ligaments — are responsible for providing shape and support for your breasts over time.
What Causes Breast Sagging?
Breast sagging can be caused by a variety of factors, including aging, sunburn, weight fluctuations, and pregnancy.
- As you get older, the skin loses its elasticity which can cause your breasts and pectoral region to start drooping. This is why saggy breasts are an aging-related issue for many.
- Weight gain and weight loss can have an effect on breast shape as gravity pulls the breasts downward when additional weight is added or lost. This is also a common cause of back pain and other women’s health issues.
- Pregnancy puts extra strain on the breast tissues due to hormones that increase during this time, which can cause stretching of the ligaments supporting the breasts. This stretching may result in drooping after childbirth if not enough support is given to the chest area before and during this period. However, breasts may absolutely return to their original shape after breastfeeding or pumping — genetics plays a big role here too.
- Wearing the wrong size bra over the course of a long day can lead to the illusion of sagging as well. If your bra straps and cups don’t fit correctly, hours of wear can make your breasts appear to flop around a bit. This won’t make your breasts change sizes, but an incorrect size, especially with a push-up or wire bra, can diminish the desired appearance.
Can Wearing a Bra Prevent Sagging?
Many people believe that wearing a supportive bra can help minimize sagging by helping to maintain skin elasticity and preventing undue stress on the Cooper's Ligaments due to gravity or movement. But we’ll be honest: several studies have found no significant difference in breast droopiness between those who wore bras regularly and those who didn't wear bras at all,
In addition, some experts believe that wearing an ill-fitting or overly tight bra can actually cause more damage than good when it comes to supporting your breasts over time, but the jury isn’t totally decided. Researchers haven’t quite agreed on the health implications of an improperly-sized bra.
That said, though studies have failed to provide concrete evidence linking not wearing a bra with sagging breasts, many people still find bras comfortable and convenient for everyday wear. Whether you opt for a supportive style or prefer going braless altogether, there is no right or wrong choice as long as you feel comfortable and confident with your decision.
Ultimately, it’s important to note that there are many factors at play when it comes to the health of your breasts — from genetics to lifestyle choices — so don’t be too hard on yourself if you feel like you’re seeing changes in their shape.
Taking care of your body from within by staying hydrated and getting active can help keep them looking healthy regardless of whether you choose to wear a bra or go braless. We mean, that sounds like a great reason to schedule a stroll through your favorite park and a delicious smoothie!
Tips for Supporting Healthy Breasts
Breasts are important parts of many people’s bodies, and they should be taken seriously (of course, that doesn’t mean not wearing a bralette with a joyful rainbow print). While it may seem overwhelming to think about taking care of them, there are a few simple steps everyone can take to support healthy breasts.
Here are six tips to keep your breasts in tip-top shape:
Tip #1: Wear the Right Bra Size
Here’s the truth for all bra-wearing folks: wearing the right size and fit of the bra is one of the most important things for supporting healthy breasts.
If you need assistance, consider getting measured in person at least once a year to ensure that your bra fits correctly and provides optimal support. Otherwise, you can check out the sizing chart of the bra designer and measure yourself. Simply grab a soft measuring tape, and you’re good to go!
A flawlessly-fitting bra should fit snugly around your chest while not being too tight or uncomfortable. Consider bras with wide straps, as they provide more support than thinner straps. If you have a larger breast size, finding a supportive bra is especially essential.
Not sure where to find the best bra for you? Check out our gender-inclusive inventory of bras here at TomboyX. From Soft Bras to Bralettes, we prioritize your comfort so you can shine every single day.
Tip #2: Break a Sweat
Believe it or not, regular exercise can help strengthen the muscles that support your breasts. So if a little sagging is making you blue, we recommend investing in an awesome supportive sports bra and working up a sweat!
Some great exercises for breast health include push-ups, chest presses, planks, and squats. All of these exercises will help you create stronger muscles around the chest area, which helps provide better support for your small, medium-sized, or large breasts — all sizes need that extra support.
Tip #3: Practice Good Posture
Another way to promote healthy breasts is by practicing good posture throughout your day. Poor posture can cause many physical problems, including soreness in the back, neck, and shoulders.
To practice optimal posture, straight with your shoulders back and chin level with the ground when sitting or standing for extended periods of time.
Tip #4: Avoid Crash Diets
Crash diets may promise quick benefits, but avoiding them is essential for maintaining healthy breast tissue as drastic changes in diet can affect hormone levels which in turn affects breast tissue development and health overall.
Instead, focus on incorporating nutrient-dense foods into your meals along with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats like olive oil or avocado. Not only do we adore avocado toast, but avocado has positive effects on our internal and external health.
Tip #5: Invest In Quality Underwear
Wearing quality bras and underwear made from breathable materials is essential for keeping your skin dry and comfortable throughout the day while providing proper support to the breasts as well, which is key when trying to maintain their health over time.
Pro Tip: For the best of the best fabrics, we recommend TENCEL™ Modal. Made from sustainable beechwood, it’s twice as soft as cotton, temperature regulating, and certified biodegradable. Oh yeah, and it comes in super cute prints. It’s a ten out of ten for us.
Tip #6: Perform Self-Examinations
Lastly, performing regular self-exams on yourself is an excellent way to stay informed about any potential changes taking place in your body so that you can take proactive action if needed.
This means doing a visual examination where you look at your breasts from all angles, including top, bottom, sides, etc. Check their texture by feeling around, gently using two fingers (not pressing!) in a circular motion from outside, going inward towards the nipple area each month.
Self-examinations can help identify any unusual lumps or density changes early on before it becomes more serious. Make sure to schedule mammograms when needed and remind your friends too! October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but we can practice breast health all year long.
So, does not wearing a bra cause sagging?
While wearing a supportive bra may help reduce skin stretching in certain activities and/or post-pregnancy, it doesn't appear to make much difference when it comes to preventing permanent breast sagging due to natural aging processes — at least according to current scientific data available on the matter.
In fact, wearing an ill-fitting bra proves to be far worse than not wearing a bra at all. So if you want to be a part of the “Free the Nipple” movement and go braless, then we say go for it! Because at the end of the day, wearing — or not wearing — a bra is entirely up to you. Just be sure to invest in a good quality bra that fits if you do decide to wear one.
Not sure where to find a comfortable bra? Check out our inventory of quality bras here at TomboyX. Whether your goal is comfort, support, or style, you can always count on us to have just what you need to help your breasts thrive!