Many women bemoan the loss of their youthful “perky” breasts. Realistically, the gradual dropping or sag of breasts has a number of causes, some of which involve the realities of aging and our bodies. Sagging breasts may not be altogether unavoidable then.
However, you can take some preventative steps. It should be noted that these steps aren’t magical, overnight treatments. They’re a commitment of care for your breasts and health. But, at the end of the day, saggy breasts are a cosmetic not a health concern. And if you’re healthy and happy, the best treatment might be some kindness!
What Causes Sagging Breasts?
There are two main reasons your breasts can begin to sag:
- The ligaments in your breasts, called Cooper's ligaments, that lift and support your breasts, stretch out and cause the breasts to sag.
- Your skin loses elasticity or becomes loose, which leads to an appearance of droopy, deflated boobs.
What gives rise to these situations? Well there’s a long list of contributing factors, including:
- Age: Although sagging boobs can happen at any age, the hormonal changes during menopause can cause skin to thin and lose elasticity.
- Genetics: The size and shape of your breasts and body can be hereditary. Sagging happens with small breasts too, but it might be more noticeable with large breasts. Breast shape can also be a factor in the likelihood of sagging.
- Gravity: Gravity pulls everything down, including our breast tissue. Large breasts which weigh more may be impacted more greatly. But having small breasts does not mean you won’t experience saggy boobs either.
- Fluctuating Weight: Losing or gaining weight quickly can affect breast tissue and cause skin to stretch and result in a loss of skin elasticity.
- Poor Posture: Hunched shoulders or sitting at a desk all day can cause your breasts to droop.
- Smoking: Among the many health risks associated with smoking is a loss in skin elasticity, which can affect the delicate skin and breast tissue.
- Sun: UV rays are a big source of free radicals which can damage the skin and increase wrinkles and cause skin to sag. Avoid sun damage on your breasts and chest area.
- Exercise Without Support: Running, jumping and other impact sports can cause the breasts to bounce a lot which can stretch the Cooper's ligaments. A sports bra is specially designed to keep your breasts in place while you exercise to minimize discomfort and strain.
Myth-Busting: What Does *Not* Cause Sagging Breasts
Were you surprised the list above did not include the following?
- Breastfeeding: Many women believe that breastfeeding will result in boobs that sag. This is not true. However, pregnancy and the changes it causes to your breasts may contribute to sagging. This is because during pregnancy, your breasts can grow rapidly. Then afterwards, they return to a smaller size. It’s this dramatic size change that may cause breasts to sag after pregnancy. You should not be put off breastfeeding your baby due to fears of sagging.
- Going Braless (Except When Exercising): Lots of women believe going braless will lead to saggy breasts. If you’re doing high impact, high energy workouts or playing sports, you should definitely wear a bra. But according to many studies, wearing a bra every day (or even sleeping in your bra) will not help either prevent or reverse sagging.
A Note from Knix About Realistic Standards of Beauty
Whether the reasons are genetic or not, sagging is a normal part of the aging process. As women, we are inundated with unrealistic standards of beauty that cause us to set many unfair standards for ourselves and our bodies. At Knix, we want you to feel unapologetically free, which can mean the most powerful act is to accept your breast and body shape.
Can Sagging Really Be Prevented?
Given the range of causes listed above, it’s easy to see that come are avoidable lifestyle choices (e.g. smoking, sun damage), while others sit beyond your control (e.g. aging, genetics).
Think of it like skincare: You can’t really change your skin, but you can take measures to make it the best skin possible, for you. Breast care is the same: You may not altogether avoid sagging, but you might delay or reduce it based on some consistent lifestyle and care choices. Read on…
What Helps Prevent Sagging Breasts?
If You Do Lose Weight, Do it Slowly & Safely
Let’s face it, over the course of a lifetime many of us fluctuate. And it’s not just diet and exercise that causes weight gain. Stress, hormones, illness, pregnancy and more can cause weight gain, or loss. So the general advice is, if you do lose weight, do it slowly and safely. Again this is generally good advice for a wide range of health reasons.
Don’t Smoke, or Stop Smoking
There are many, many good reasons to avoid smoking, or to stop smoking. Again, breast sagging is probably low on the list of medical reasons to quit. But if it motivates you, your whole body will thank you.
Protect Yourself from the Sun
Your motivation for protecting your skin from sun damage should not really stop with cosmetic concerns. Sun damage can cause cancers way more serious than saggy breasts. However, UV rays also cause elastosis, the destruction of the elastic and collagen tissue, which causes lines, wrinkles and sagging skin.
The best way to prevent this is to stay out of the sun or don’t expose skin to excess sun, wear SPF daily - even on days when it doesn’t necessarily seem sunny. You can also keep a physical barrier (hats, clothing) between yourself and the sun.
A good diet, rich in fruit and vegetables, with the right balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats and proteins will keep your skin healthy and supple, which will help maintain a more youthful appearance. This will benefit your whole body and support your energy levels and exercise regime too.
Regular Exercise, Especially Upper Body Weight Training
There are no muscles in your breasts, so no amount of exercise will make them harder or tighter. But your breasts do sit on top of muscles, your pectoral muscles. Strength training targeted at these muscles won’t change the shape of your breasts. However, working your pectorals, shoulder and core will improve your posture and overall tone.
Wearing a Bra for Sports When Exercising
Sports bras are not like regular everyday bras. They are designed to protect breasts from moving and bouncing too much when you’re exercising. All this movement can cause discomfort, friction and back strain. It can also stretch the Cooper's ligaments. A sports bra will keep your boobs “locked down” for the duration of your exercise. But don’t wear one all the time. They’re far too constrictive for everyday wear.
Wearing a Supportive Bra That Fits Correctly
While wearing a bra (with the exception of sports bra when exercising) won’t prevent sagging, many women prefer to have the support a bra gives them. While you’re wearing one, your bra can help you maintain your desired silhouette. To make sure your bra feels comfortable and gives you adequate support, consider getting fitted properly.
The wrong size or fit of bra will ruin your day. You’ll feel uncomfortable, maybe even sore, and just want to get home so you can rip the damn thing off.
At Knix, we really wanted to help more women avoid this experience altogether. As an online retailer, we know it can be especially daunting to make a bra purchase online. That’s why we developed our virtual fit program. Learn more about it today and book your appointment!
What to Expect from a Knix Virtual Fitting:
- Book your virtual fitting here
- We’ll connect you with one of our expert Knix team members for a 1-on-1 fitting session over video chat.
- For your bra fitting, we recommend you wear a bra with little or no padding and a fitted t-shirt to make sure we get an accurate measurement. You’ll also need either a) a soft measuring tape or b) a piece of string or cord and a tape measure or ruler.
- With different styles and sizes for 30A to 42G in the world’s most comfortable and supportive wireless bras, our fit experts can help you get into something that you will love to wear every single day.
A Focus on Posture
Between handheld devices and desk jobs, our posture can sometimes take a turn for the worse. Hunched shoulders and a rounded back can encourage your breasts to droop and sag.
Focusing on posture will help you prevent neck and back strain and other injuries. You can also try exercises like Pilates and yoga, which focus on posture and form. Or, even avail of therapies like physiotherapy and registered massage therapy to help improve your posture.
Take Care of Your Skin
If one of the causes of sagging breasts is a loss of skin elasticity, keeping skin hydrated and healthy can also be a preventative step. Use mild cleansers and moisturize after a shower or bath. You can also stay hydrated by drinking water and eating healthy fats. Avoid harsh formulations or aggressive scrubs and exfoliators.
In general, taking care of your whole body has myriad health benefits. Eating a wide variety of foods for great nourishment, finding an exercise you love, avoiding smoking and excess sun, and taking care of your skin should also help you accept and appreciate your body. Ultimately, having that acceptance and appreciation will get you through the natural changes that come with aging, including changes to your breasts. Because as far as we’re concerned, sagging breasts can be beautiful too.
That said, there are plastic surgery options for those who wish to augment the size and shape of their breasts and reverse breast sagging. Any plastic surgery should be carefully considered and it's worth chatting with your healthcare provider before embarking on this change. Plastic surgery has helped many women come to terms with parts of their body they dislike or are self-conscious about and this is a very personal decision.