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Breast Sagging And Wearing (Or Not Wearing) A Bra

Let's separate the myths from the truth once and for all!

Belle-Lingerie09 December 2022

Breast Sagging And Wearing (Or Not Wearing) A Bra

Sagging breasts is something that can concern many women, and while it’s an inevitable part of getting older, you may be wondering whether there’s anything you can do about it. Specifically, you could be questioning if wearing a bra (or not wearing a bra) can make sagging worse as you get older.

Below, we look at both sides of the story to try and reach a conclusion about bras and their effect on sagging. You can also find some of the ways you can prevent sagging as you get older.

Does Wearing A Bra Cause Sagging?

Firstly, can wearing a bra increase your chance of sagging breasts as you get older? A 2013 study by Jean-Denis Rouillon says that this could be the case. 

His 15-year study found that the nipples of women who never wore bras were on average seven millimeters higher than those of women who regularly wore a bra. To reach this conclusion, he used a ruler and a caliper to measure such changes over a period of 15 years in 320 women, initially between the ages of 18 and 35. 

Breast tissue is connected to the chest wall on the backside of the breast only. This means the front of the breast isn’t supported by anything, hence sagging can occur as we get older. Rouillon stated that his study showed wearing a bra could weaken the muscles that hold up the breasts, resulting in further sagging.

However, before you take his results as gospel, it’s worth remembering that collagen in our skin (the thing that keeps it elastic) reduces as we get older, particularly from the age of 35, and so this could be another reason for sagging. Rouillon also said that the 320 women involved in the study are not reflective of the entire population and many more subjects would be required to make his findings definitive.

Does not wearing a bra cause sagging?

If we take the results of the above study as somewhat inconclusive, can the opposite be true, and does not wearing a bra cause sagging? There is some controversy around this topic as well, with further inconclusive results. 

Some medical professionals, such as OB-GYN and author Dr. Sherry Ross, M.D., state that going braless doesn’t provide sufficient support for the breast tissue, and eventually, it will stretch and become saggy. Others, however, such as breast surgeon Dr. Andrea Madrigrano, M.D., say it's down to the density of a woman’s breasts - the more fat there is compared to tissue, the more likely they are to sag, regardless of the bra being worn (or not worn). 

What these professionals do agree on, however, is that there are multiple factors that can affect sagging and that it can’t be attributed to one thing, such as going braless. 

Our conclusion

With such conflicting data and evidence, it’s hard to say whether bras can make your breasts sag more or prevent such sagging. The experts above, however, do seem to agree on one thing - sagging isn’t just down to the bra you do or do not wear, but also other factors such as age, genetics, weight, and whether you have large or small breasts.

Whether you wear a bra or not may not have much impact, so you should do whatever feels most comfortable for you. If you have larger breasts, it’s probably more comfortable to wear a good-fitting, supportive bra, but if you have smaller breasts, going braless likely isn’t an issue. You should always wear a sports bra when exercising to provide maximum support. 

How To Prevent Breast Sagging

So what does prevent breast sagging if wearing (or not wearing) a bra doesn’t seem to make much of a difference?

Giving Up Smoking

Smoking can prematurely reduce the amount of collagen in your skin and destroy elastin, a protein that is responsible for keeping your skin looking young and supple. Therefore, smoking can age your skin, and the reduction in collagen can result in saggy breasts. If you want to prevent your breasts from sagging as dramatically when you’re older, you may want to try to give up the habit. 

Maintaining A Healthy Weight

Frequently gaining a lot of weight and then losing it can have an effect on your skin and breast tissue. As you gain weight, your breasts get bigger, and so the skin stretches to accommodate this. The more the skin stretches, the less likely it is to snap back into place upon losing weight. Therefore, to prevent sagging breasts in the future, you should try to maintain a healthy weight.

For this reason, pregnancy can also have an effect on how much your breasts could sag as you get older. It’s thought that the more children a woman has, the saggier her breasts could be. 

Staying Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water seems to be an antidote to all sorts of problems, but it’s no surprise when you consider our bodies are 55% to 60% water. Staying hydrated can help to keep your skin supple and even maintain the firmness of your breast tissue, so ensure you’re drinking the right amount of water each day.

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