I am somewhat obsessed with preventing my breasts from sagging. I’ve spent a significant amount of time researching the causes of sagging, as well as the prescribed prevention – and I have to tell you, no one seems to know jack for sure. Oh, everyone agrees that genetics, breast size, pregnancy and breast feeding will have an effect on the state of your breasts as you get older. It may surprise you, however, to learn the controversy over whether a bra helps or hinders sagging.
There are two schools of thought, and neither has enough evidence to be considered proof. Let’s take a look at them.
Theory #1: Wearing a bra speeds up the sagging process.
Scientifically speaking, this is a pretty fascinating claim, and one I’ve definitely taken note of. The concept is this: when you wear a bra, the straps and underwire are keeping your breasts in place – which means your ligaments no longer have anything to do. When ligaments have nothing to do, they tend to atrophy. Simple translation? They no longer work. This is, essentially, what happens to most women anyway, but this theory suggests that wearing a bra makes it happen far more quickly.
Studies which seem to confirm this theory:
There have been several studies regarding this theory, and while they’re not 100% conclusive, they are interesting. I won’t go into all the details, I’ll just say that the first study showed an increase in drooping over a period of several months with women who wore properly-fitting bras. The second study, which was far more impressive, was conducted over the course of a year. What’s particularly interesting about this one, is that these were active sportswomen, who went braless even during sport. The study claims that after a year, these women had less drooping and firmer breasts, with the distance between nipple and shoulder being reduced – which means less sagging.
A BBC report which seems to disagree with this theory.
There was a 2006 report which suggested that sport activity (jogging, specifically) could “damage” a woman’s breasts if they weren’t wearing a proper sport bra. They went on to say too much bouncing about could permanently damage the ligaments which hold the breasts up. This sounds perfectly logical to me. The problem is, the above studies seem to conflict.
Theory #2 : Wearing a bra keeps your breasts firm until age and gravity kick in.
Studies? Eh, look around you. Most women have been wearing bras most of their lives and there are plenty of sagging breasts. Of course, most women (80%, allegedly) wear the wrong bra size, so perhaps that’s why.
I have 34 DD breasts, and I really feel more comfortable wearing a bra than not. That, and lingerie is just sexy, thank you. For the last few years I’ve rarely been without a bra, even while sleeping (though the one I sleep in is more like a bikini top – not a proper underwire!) in an effort to keep my breasts where they are. However. Upon discovering these new theories, and having to admit they sound conceivable, I see no point in being rigid in my practices, especially if aging is going to happen whether I want it to or not. I’ve decided to mix the two and see what happens. I’d still wear a bra when out and about, but since I work at home, I can go braless some of the day and see if I notice any changes either way.
Other things you can do to prevent sagging:
Tone up your pectoral muscles! I don’t know why women get so upset over hearing this. Your breasts are not going to turn into man-pecs just because you do some pushups. It doesn’t work like that, for God’s sake.
Those chicks you see on ESPN with man-pecs are not an example of what happens just from toning, so don’t worry about that. Also, if you hate pushups like I do, you can do them against a wall. Stand a foot or so away from the wall with your feet shoulder width or so, and push your bodyweight. It's really not hard and you will feel it, trust me. It works, and doesn’t make your knees ache. You can also do Fly reps and Chest Presses with dumbbells. No, it's not hard and it doesn’t take long.
Use good posture. Standing up properly, with your shoulders back and chest somewhat-out, won’t necessarily make them sag less, but it will make them LOOK like they do. Hell, anyone can look like they have saggy breasts if their shoulders are slumped forward and their whole body is pointing downward!
Lose weight. This is obvious, but true.
Keep your breasts smooth and silky. Exfoliate, use lotion. Keep the skin healthy! It helps to use adequate sunscreen, as well!