Because so many of us have transitioned to working from home this past year, boobs all over the country have broken out of “boob prison.” Translation: no more office, no more bra. The bra-free life is a comfortable dream that many of us have finally achieved. But is going sans bra a good idea? What effect does it have on your body? Will it cause your boobs to sag? Let’s address some common bra myths.
Myth #1–Not Wearing A Bra Will Cause Chest Muscles To Grow
Many of us are aware that breasts are mostly made up of fatty tissue. But underneath against the chest wall, there are ligaments and the pectoral muscle. Because of this connection, the muscles underneath the breasts can affect breast size.
French sports doctor Professor Jean-Denis Rouillon found in his research that when women go braless, their breasts actually develop more muscle tissue. In other words, bras weaken the chest muscles and make them lazy.
Rouillon says that the “suspension system of the breast degenerates.” However, his 16-year-long study only covered 330 women between the ages of 18 and 35. A bra’s effect on chest muscles is still unclear for women who are middle-aged, as well as those who’ve had children, and those who are plus-sized.
Myth #2–Going Sans Bra Will Alleviate Physical Pain
For many women, wearing a bra all day long can cause back, neck, and chest pain. Studies have also shown that wearing a bra for hours can cause acute pressure that can disrupt your sleep cycle and circadian rhythm, even if you’ve taken the bra off way before bedtime!
“It is essential for the breasts to rest adequately to stay healthy,” Heidi Lehmann, Master Bra designer of Vibrant Body Company, told HelloGiggles.
According to Lehmann, going braless will give everything a breather–from the mammary glands to the rib cage–and relieve pain. What’s more, a 2008 study found that 70 percent of women wear bras that are too small. Wearing the wrong size can make the pain even worse.
Founder of MINDD Bra Company Helena Kaylin notes that a lot of research shows wearing a bra for prolonged periods of time isn’t good for you. Studies have also shown that going braless has health benefits like improving circulation and “reducing neck pain. Kaylin also points out that for women with large breasts, wearing a bra causes more back pain than going braless.
Myth #3–Ditching A Bra Will Cause Skin Issues
We have to admit, this one isn’t really a myth. But, it does need some clarification. Those of us with large breasts know all too well that boob sweat is a very real thing. One of the benefits of wearing a bra is that it creates a barrier between your chest and the underneath part of your boobs, AKA the inframammary area. When you go braless, that skin on skin action combined with boob sweat can result in skin irritation.
Living a bra-free life can sometimes cause intertrigo, a condition which arises as the result of two skin surfaces coming in close contact for a prolonged period of time.
“In the inframammary area, this fold of skin builds up heat and humidity that can inflame and start to break down the skin. This can also lead to a secondary yeast infection as well,” says dermatologist Dr. Erum Ilyas.
Both intertrigo and yeast infections under the breasts are very common conditions, and they can happen to anyone. The larger your boobs are, though, the more likely you are to develop a rash because there’s a lot more space for moisture to develop.
Luckily, these skin issues are easy to treat. Your doctor can prescribe you a topical steroid. But, for many women, these things will go away on their own if you just put a bra back on for a few days to let the skin dry out.
Myth #4–Going Without A Bra Will Cause Your Boobs To Sag
Bras date back thousands of years to 2500 BC, but they were never intended to prevent sagging. Even when the first modern bra arrived at the 1889 World’s Fair, the whole point was to create a more desirable silhouette and keep the ladies in place.
The design has always been about aesthetics, not sag prevention. This means that going without a bra will not cause your boobs to sag. There is zero evidence that bras prevent sagging. It’s also a myth that wearing a bra to bed will keep the girls shapely and perky.
“We have no evidence that wearing a bra could prevent sagging, because the breast itself is not a muscle, so keeping it toned up is an impossibility,” John Dixey, CEO of Playtex, said in the documentary Bras – The Bare Facts.
That’s right. The CEO of a bra company just told you to let the girls breathe and live their best life. If you’re staying at home, there’s no point in wearing a bra.