We all have our insecurities and for some women, the shape of our breasts is one of them. While appearance is a large part of that desire for ‘perfect’ breasts, in reality your concern should be for something much more important – your health. Sag can occur for natural reasons or lifestyle choices but there are things you can do to combat the sag and promote breast health regardless of the cause.
What Causes Saggy Breasts?
For starters, breasts do not have muscle, they are made of fat, connective tissues and milk-producing glands, and they need proper care to keep them in good shape. Though saggy breasts usually start happening after a woman reaches 40, it can occur earlier. According to various studies, it is understood that when a woman reaches her late thirties, the skin can become loose and begin to show signs of aging. According to the Oregon Institute of Breast Health Education, this is especially true in the breasts, particularly if a woman has gone through a pregnancy.
Apart from age & pregnancy, other factors that cause sagging breasts such as menopause, rapid weight loss or gain, strenuous exercise, nutritional deficiencies, smoking, over-tanning and wearing a poorly fitting bra.
Many believe that breastfeeding can cause sagging, but this is FALSE according to a 2008 study published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal which concluded that breastfeeding isn’t a risk factor for ptosis (a fancy name for drooping). The real culprit is actually pregnancy itself, as weight gain during pregnancy can cause ligaments to stretch, which can lead to drooping later. You can minimize this issue by making sure you stick to a relatively healthy weight gain while you’re pregnant.
Some diseases like breast cancer or respiratory conditions like tuberculosis can also cause breasts to sag. Excessive consumption of nicotine, alcohol and carbonated beverages can also contribute to the problem.
A wide variety of creams and lotions are available on the market to tighten and tone up sagging breasts. However, if you prefer natural methods, there are many simple and easy home remedies that you can try.
How To Firm The Breasts?
1. Keep your stable weight
There are two places where fat is found in the breast. Seventy per cent of breast fat is mixed with the glands to form the main bulk of the bosom. The rest of the fat is found in a layer of padding just under the skin. It’s this that tends to fluctuate in thickness as you gain and lose weight. If this layer thickens dramatically — and then thins out again due to yo-yo dieting — it will permanently stretch the supporting skin, leading to a droopier chest. As women in this country become more buxom — the average cup size is now a C compared to a B in the Fifties — they are more likely to face sagging. That’s because the rise is mainly due to an increase in fat content in the breasts — and fat is heavier and therefore harder to support.
2. Don’t worry about breastfeeding
Women have long blamed their saggy boobs on breastfeeding. Yet research has found that it’s the expansion and contraction of the milk glands triggered by pregnancy, rather than breastfeeding, that causes droopiness. In one American study, an academic interviewed 132 women seeking breast lifts or enlargements. Just over half had breastfed at least one child for an average of nine months. Researchers found no difference in the degree of sagging between women who had breastfed and those who had not. Consultant Mr Laidlaw says: ‘Women should definitely consider breastfeeding — especially as the health benefits for the baby far outweigh any possible effects on the breasts.’
3. Stub out those cigarettes
Like anywhere else on the body, the skin on the breast includes a network of collagen fibres, which make it firm, and elastin to make it flexible. Over time, these fibres break down. The rate at which skin cells renew themselves also slows as we get older. Just as on the face, it’s important never to expose the breasts to too much sun because ultraviolet exposure will break down collagen and elastin. And in the same way that smoking leads to wrinkles, it also leads to the deterioration of breast skin.
4. Exercise – But beware the bounce
There’s both good and bad news when it comes to exercise. The right regime can keep your breasts pert by improving blood supply. While there is no muscle in the breast itself, it is possible to build up the underlying pectorals for a lifting effect. But some activities — particularly running — can take their toll. When you run without proper support, the breasts bounce in a figure of eight, causing wear and tear on the supporting ligaments. Jenny White, of the Research Group in Breast Health at the University of Portsmouth, says: ‘We have found that breasts move an average of 10cms — up and down, side-to-side, and forwards and backwards”. The larger your cup size, the greater the force on the breasts and the more they need to be restrained to avoid damage to connective tissue and ligaments.
Aloe vera is another good way to keep your breasts firm. According to In Life Healthcare, all you have to do is massage your breasts with aloe vera gel, leave it on for ten minutes, and then wash. Do this 4 to 5 times a week and the aloe will naturally strengthen your skin. You can also massage your breasts with coconut oil or cacao butter 2 to 3 times a week.
You can also use a breast mask. PositiveMed has an incredible list of breast masks that you can apply to firm up your breasts. Here is one we adapted.
- One tablespoon plain organic yogurt (vegans can use a tablespoon of coconut kefir)
- One organic egg (vegans use one teaspoon of spirulina and coconut oil)
- One tablespoon vitamin E oil (organic olive oil is also good)
- Blend everything together and massage evenly onto your breasts. Cover with an old shirt and leave on for 20 to 25 minutes. Then rinse off.