When ‘style’ poses a threat to health

Many women are into keeping up with the latest trends since fashion is a great way to express oneself and boost confidence. While we are all taught that health is more important than glamour, many women, mostly young girls, follow almost every fashion trend without considering the toll it might have on their health. 

Shoes

Take high heels, for example. While many designs come and go, high heels are a timeless trend that not only define class, but also prove to boost confidence for some women. This fashionable footwear, however, can lead to an ugly assortment of health ailments if worn on a daily basis.

It has also been noticed that over time, wearing high heels can eventually begin bothering the spine. 

“Women love to appear tall and elegant. As a result, some are addicted to high heels which stiffen and thicken the Achilles tendon that runs down the back of the heel and can become unattractive and cause pain,” Hellen Uwineza, a finance officer, says.

Also a lover of heels, she shares that alternating footwear and how you do so matters.

“Wear heels one day, and a lower heel the next, and try flats after that, but don’t change from six-inch heels directly to flats as you will suffer heel pain,” she says.

Heavy bags can cause a significant amount of back and neck pain, especially when carried over the shoulder. Net photos 

It gets even more complicated. Everyone loves the ease of slipping on a pair of flip flops when running a quick errand or going to the store, but the popular shoe is less than ideal for your health on several levels.

The shoes can change your natural gait, cause tendinitis from gripping the shoes with your toes and harm the bones in your feet because the shoes don’t support them, according to The Huffington Post.

Not only do they cause muscle and bone problems, but the average flip flop has more than 18,000 bacteria on it, it was reported. The bacteria included Staphylococcus aureus and fecal matter.

Undergarments

A while ago, a Twitter thread saw women reveal weird routines that allowed them to go as long as possible without doing bra laundry. Some even admitted to owning one bra in their entire wardrobe.

For Eduige Kayitana, a boutique owner, even though most women wash their bras less frequently than clothes, the reality is that the closer something is to your body, the more hygiene it deserves.

Imagine having all the oil, dirt, lotion, and deodorant sit on your bra for weeks. While this may not cause any health implications to the breast, the stench will build up and will even pass through your clean blouse. Undergarments are invisible, which is why some women ignore them but proper hygiene counts for self-care,” Kayitana says.

This, she adds, also goes to wearing ill-fitting bras which are not only uncomfortable, but also cause a range of health problems. 

“Ill-fitting bras may help with the push up of the burst but may in the long run cause permanent changes to the body, such as deep grooves in the shoulders caused by pressure from the bra straps and back pain for women with a heavy burst,” she says.

While most women are likely to be fitted in a shop while wearing their own bra, research from The United States National Library of Medicine suggests that regardless of whether or not it fits well, bra-size measurement should take place over a well-fitted, unpadded and thin bra. Bra size, which is determined by breathing and posture.

Kayitana adds that while silky or lace underwear have been deemed fashionable, they are not as ‘breathable’ and are more likely to retain warmth and moisture, which creates a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast infections.

“When you delay in your sweaty undergarments, you create a warm, moist environment for that infection-causing bacteria to thrive in. This is where our old-school cotton underwear get a pass here,” she says.

Makeup

For a long time, makeup has had its fair share of trends that women have embraced to accentuate their beauty. However, the last thing you want to do is wash your make up off after a long day.

However, Claudin Mwangachuchu, a makeup artist advises that the skin needs to breathe while you sleep, not suffocate under makeup and other dirt that sticks to your face. Leaving makeup on overnight, she says, clogs pores, causes irritation, and pimples, among other things, so if you’re prone to acne, sleeping with make-up will only aggravate it. Overtime, applying tons of mascara and eye makeup can also damage your eyes and weaken eye lashes and so she advises women to have a limit on that.

Mwangachuchu adds that cleaning it off is not as difficult, depending on how you prefer to clean and the type of makeup.

“I prefer to wipe off the makeup with coconut oil, especially if the makeup is waterproof, because it’s hard to remove. I then wash with facial cleanser and toner to restore the acid which is good for the skin,” she says.

Jeans and handbags

Wearing restrictive clothing has been confirmed harmful since it restricts essential blood flow. While skin-tight pants may draw attention to your curves, according HealthiNation, wearing them too tight too often can affect one’s health.

In an article in The Washington Post, one woman found out the hard way that the phrase “beauty is pain” is more than just a cliché — after skinny jeans she was wearing caused her to lose feeling in her legs. The women had been helping a relative move, and doctors reported that the squatting had caused damage to nerves and muscles in her legs. After walking home through a park she collapsed and had to wait hours before being found and treated. While the story does end well — the woman walked out of the hospital four days later — popular trends for both men and women can cause lasting health problems.

Pants that are too tight can cause skin friction and excess moisture down there which enables fungus and bacteria to thrive, causing yeast infections and UTIs.

You do not have to ditch your skinny jeans altogether, however, you can prevent these painful problems by alternating in some sweats, loose-fitting pants, or skirts.

Also, heavy stylish bags have been a must have for some women but the heavy slings have been known to disfigure posture and imbalance your back muscles.

Cynthia Mukansuro shares that as a businesswoman, big handbags came in handy as they not only complimented her attire but helped her sell some of her products from the shop. Trouble started kicking in when she started experiencing back problems and once she knew it was the bag, she ditched them for smaller ones and resorted to hiring a deliveryman.

“With the small bags, I’m forced to just leave the unnecessary things at home and carry light weight. If I must carry a big bag, I make sure I wear it on alternate shoulders at regular intervals of time so the weight gets evenly distributed, or I use a backpack that will distribute the weight evenly. Luckily for me, feminine backpacks are a trend now,” she says.

Weight loss

Some of the quickest methods to lose weight or appear smaller have included starving and liquid diets and wearing waist trainers.

Dieting without prescriptions from the doctor, however, can result into unhealthy consequences such as fatigue, dizziness, hair loss, according to Faisal Musoni, a nutritionist in Kigali, because you miss out on essential nutrients.

Along with pain, there is restriction of movement that comes with wearing of a waist trainer for a long time, which could weaken the muscles in the mid-section unless worn occasionally.

If you want to shed some extra weight from your midsection, Musoni advises, ditch the corset and stick to eating nutritious foods and exercising. This he says, may require hard work, discipline and have long term results but it’s healthier and effective.

editorial@newtimesrwanda.com

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