When we get dressed in the morning, our main focus tends to be on what makes us look good. However, we may need to start thinking about how our style affects our bodies, as there are certain fashion choices that can hurt our health. Many of us enjoy picking out cool outfits, but for those of us concerned with the long term effects of what we wear, that awesome look probably isn't worth it, especially when there are less harmful options out there that can still have us looking fabulous.
"It's great to be fashionable, but not when it risks your health," dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman, author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets From A Top New York Dermatologist," tells me over email. But it's not uncommon for women to dress in outfits that are uncomfortable in order to look good — we've all heard the saying "Beauty Is Pain," but it turns out this pain can have some long term effects that most of us likely don't want.
No one's saying you need to wear sweatpants and baggy T-shirts every single day, but knowing what fashion statements have long-term effects can help you make more healthy choices and help you cut down on how frequently you wear these items. Wearing high heels once won't kill you, but wearing them daily might leave you with some serious foot damage.
If you think your outfits might be causing some issues with your well being, consider these eight fashion choices that could be hurting your health.
1. Skinny Jeans
Wearing tight pants may look cute, but they can also cause abdominal discomfort and swelling. One incident studied in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry involved a woman who experienced nerve damage severe enough to cause numbness after a day of wearing skinny jeans. "Tight pants can also cause yeast infections," says Jaliman. Good thing boyfriend jeans are still in style.
2. High Heels
When you think of painful accessories, high heels may be the first on your list, and that discomfort is a sign that you're doing damage to your ankles. A study from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte found that long term wear of high heels leads to instability and weakening of the ankle muscles, and over time, this ligament and nerve damage in the ankle leads to complications in the legs and back.
Waist training is trendy these days, but is it really worth it? Wearing a corset for too long can weaken abdominal muscles, cause issues with breathing, and even create acid reflux, according to Health Magazine. There's also no evidence that these corsets can shrink your waist, so you're better off going without them.
4. Heavy Dangly Earrings
Heavy, dangly earrings can cause damage to the earlobes. Not only can they be easily caught or tugged on, but the weight of the earring can stretch the earlobe and thin it out, according to the Huffington Post. "Cheap metal earrings can also cause allergic reactions from the nickel," says Jaliman.
You might think wearing flats is a better option than wearing heels, but they can be just as bad for your feet. "Ballet flats are no better than high heels, as they offer no cushioning or support, which can lead to heel pain," says Jaliman. Take advantage of the athleisure trend as an opportunity to wear some supportive sneakers on the daily.
6. Thong Underwear
It's hard to imagine that underwear could be dangerous, but according to Medical Daily, people who are predisposed to vaginal infections have an increased susceptibility to infections when wearing a thong. These types of underwear typically aren't made of cotton, so when they rub up on your skin in the areas between your backside and your front side, it's causing tiny tears, inviting bacteria into the skin.
7. Heavy Bags
Large, heavy bags are convenient if you've got a lot to carry around — and they can be super stylish — but they aren't the best for your posture. "The increased weight to one side of the body can wreak havoc, causing muscle imbalances, pain, and loss of balance," Dr. Scott Schreiber tells me over email.
8. High-Waisted Pants
"High waisted pants are known for putting pressure on the abdomen, causing heartburn," says Schreiber. "They will also cause you to breathe irregular, weakening your core muscles."
Experimenting with different outfits can be fun, but just make sure you're looking out for your own health, and try to make choices that not only make you look good, but feel good as well.
Images: Brooke Cagle/Unsplash (2); Pixabay (7)