What Causes Saggy Breasts? (It's Ok if You have them)
What Works and What Doesn’t to Remedy It?
As Explained By a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
The medical term for sagging breasts is ptosis. Changes in the breast are normal as we age. Other factors can also lead to breasts that droop. There is no set age for women when this occurs. Someone in their twenties can have ptosis and conversely, a woman in her 40’s can have perky breasts. There are numerous factors that contribute to sagging. Ultimately, age does come into play for everyone at the onset of menopause when there is a loss of fullness and elasticity.
There are abundant myths about what works in terms of prevention. Although some things are simply in nature’s hands when it comes to sagging, there are some things women can do in terms of prevention says Dr. Michael Horn, a board-certified Chicago plastic surgeon who is also a breast specialist.
Is One Bra Better than Another?
“I think a sports bra is best, but really any bra that offers real support is actively preventing the effects of gravity,” suggests Dr. Horn. Constrictive garments might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but unfortunately, they are a fact of life. “As most women age, the tendency to have loose skin develops. If a woman doesn’t wear a supportive bra on a regular basis, it will in fact contribute to the sagging or stretching of the breasts over time.”
The Breastfeeding Dilemma
New moms can relax. Research shows that breastfeeding does not cause breasts to sag. It’s the weight gain during pregnancy that can stretch the ligaments and lead to sagging later on. Women who are pregnant should do their best to gain an amount of weight that is healthiest for them and the baby. For any woman, pregnant or not, a dramatic change in weight will likely cause breasts to change.
Can You Exercise Your Breasts Back Into Shape?
“A longstanding misconception has been that exercise will strengthen and tone the pectoral muscles, thus pumping the breasts back into shape. Let me set the record straight by saying there is no evidence that any procedure other than plastic surgery will correct breast shape,” asserts Dr. Horn. “Even trying to strengthen the pectoral muscles under the breasts will make little or no difference.”
Creams and Pills Can Prevent Sagging
According to Dr. Horn, “For decades there have been pills and creams on the markets that claim to prevent sagging or increase breast size. There is no magic lotion or pill that can do either.”
Although this one probably goes without saying, smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your health including your skin! Your skin ages much faster when you smoke, and your skin becomes weakened because the chemicals decrease the blood supply to the skin surface.
Your body’s skin elasticity, breast size, and breast density all affect how your breasts look. Every woman has a different breast tissue ratio. Some women have “fatty breasts” while others have firmer more fibrous ones. Naturally, heavy, softer breasts are more apt to sag than firm small breasts. Due to genetics, you might also have thin skin which is less supportive and if you are lucky, stronger skin that will hold your breasts tighter.
This should be avoided at all costs. Yes, women will fluctuate five pounds or so, which is no problem. However, if you keep gaining and losing the same twenty or more pounds, your body and skin will not respond well. Your breast tissue in particular will become more and more slack, like a cheap sweater that goes through the wash.
Here’s what you can do
Along with smoking, one health mishap that can lead to dire consequences is avoiding sunscreen. When the sun is out, sunscreen should be your best friend. The sun, though it feels great on your skin, harms more than it helps. UV ray exposure can cause early wrinkles and damage; it also stretches out the collagen in your skin, leading to breast sagging.
Your sleep position
If you sleep on your side this may cause your breasts to sag more over time. This is because one will dangle downward and the ligaments will stretch. If you sleep on your back, the breast weight is fully distributed on your chest and may help with “perkiness.” As a side note, sleeping on your back is also better for keeping your face youthful as well.
What’s an easy non-surgical fix to look better? Perk up your posture!
Good posture is really basic. Although it won’t change the anatomy of your breasts, if you are standing or sitting with hunched shoulders and a bent back, this emphasizes sag and puts additional pressure on the breast tissue. When you stand with your shoulders out, it thrusts the breasts upward without looking fake or obvious.
Get a better bra
Everyone looks and feels better when they are wearing a garment that fits them perfectly. The key to looking lifted is finding the perfect fit. There are many online guides to help you find your perfect size and many online companies have fit calculators as well.
Seek help from the pros if your self-esteem is suffering
If your breasts are affecting your self-esteem, or preventing you from wearing the clothes you want, wearing a bathing suit, or dating, the only way to physically change sagging is through surgical intervention. Make sure you are doing this to please you! Options include breast augmentation, breast lift, and breast lift with augmentation.
Dr. Michael Horn
Board- Certified Chicago, Illinois Plastic Surgeon
With more than 10,000 breast augmentation surgeries performed during his career of more than 23 years, Dr. Horn is known in the Chicago land area as the authority on breast augmentation. His artistic eye, mastery and surgical skill in performing various face and body procedures, his dedication to patients’ safety, combined with his focus on unparalleled care and attention, make him one of the most sought-after surgeons in the Midwest.
Dr. Horn earned his medical degree at Loyola University in Chicago. He completed a general surgery residency with the Medical College of Wisconsin, as well as a sub-specialty training in plastic surgery with a second residency at Loyola University. Dr. Michael Horn is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Chicago Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Dr. Horn is a frequent lecturer on the subject of plastic surgery and his work has been featured in several professional publications. He frequently attends national meetings to continue developing innovative plastic surgery techniques. His ongoing commitment to patient safety and satisfaction is evident in the personal attention and care he provides to each of his plastic surgery clients. From the initial consultation to the final follow-up exam, Dr. Horn provides compassionate treatment tailored to the specific needs and goals of each individual.