You have science on your side if you want to ditch the bra, because research shows than constricting your breasts within the bra does quite the opposite of preventing it from sagging.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on May 13, 2019. It has since been updated.
Ever since you were a teenager who was just blossoming into a young lady and started developing breasts, your mother, peers, and media most likely told you that bras are a woman's best friend. The first time you put on your training bra, it was probably uncomfortable and it felt like someone was pressing on to rib cage making it harder to breathe. Yet, you learned to adapt to it, and let's admit it, it felt good to be part of the grown-up club finally. Soon, it just became as much a part of your life as brushing was.
But, would you feel that all of that was a lie if someone told you that you probably never needed to wear a bra since you were a tween? If you feel that you are at a loss for words, then there is more to shock you. A 15-year long study in France by Professor Jean-Denis Rouillon, a sports medicine specialist from Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Besancon in Besancon shows that wearing bras probably does not stop a women's breasts from sagging. It could, in fact, increase it.
"Our first results confirm the hypothesis that the bra is a false need," said Rouillon, according to Telegraph UK. "Medically, physiologically, anatomically, the breast does not benefit from being deprived of gravity. Instead, it languishes with a bra."
For generations, we have been told that a bra would not just prevent sagging but would also lead to better posture and prevent back pain.
The researcher studied the breasts of 330 volunteers between the ages 18 to 35 using a slide ruler and a caliper to capture the changes in breast position, said CBS News. He found that women could experience about a 1/4 inch lift in the nipples every year that the women didn't wear a bra. They also found that their breasts were firmer, the stretch marks faded, it prevents the growth of breast tissue, and there is no proof that bras helped with back pain. The researchers believe that wearing bras prevented the growth of breast tissue, leading to the deterioration of the muscles that support the breasts.
If you don't wear bras, your muscles are getting more exercise keeping them firm. One of the volunteers, 28-year-old Capucine, was quoted as saying by France Info, reported CBS News, that not wearing a bra for two years helped her breathe better, stand straighter and have less back pain.
However, the researcher cautions against older women from ditching the lingerie yet. He said that a 45-year-old mother who has worn a bra her whole life may not see any benefits. However, that is not known since the research only studied women till the age of 35.
The breast biomechanics research team at the University of Portsmouth, UK found that wrong bra size could be damaging your breasts by allowing fragile ligaments to be irreparably stretched, a press release said.
"Many women have strong preferences for certain styles of bra and won't buy anything else. They won't even look at anything that doesn't look like the sort of bra they are used to wearing. In sports bras, for example, many women won't buy a bra that resembles their everyday bra and does up at the back -- they think if it can't be pulled over their heads like a crop top then it's not a real sports bra. But this is not true and many sports bras do up at the back in the same way as a traditional bra and do a very good job of supporting women. And some women cause breast pain or discomfort by not buying the right sized bra. There's a social stigma about certain sizes; many women don't want to be seen as too small or too big and buy a bra that doesn't fit well in order to be what they consider to be a normal size," said Wendy Hedger, a researcher on the study.