A binder is essentially a compression undergarment that functions to flatten the breasts. While it can also act as a minimizer bra for women, a chest binder is common among the non-binary, transgender, and androgynous communities. Wearing a binder is believed can boost mental health as it allows those who experience gender dysphoria (distress from the occurrence of breast development) to express themselves. It is useful for those who would like to portray a more masculine look without having to undergo chest surgery.
Oftentimes, binders are made of thick nylon and spandex, and it resembles tight undershirts. There is little study examining the safety of wearing chest binders, especially when many claim that they experience side effects such as pain around the upper part of their body, skin irritation, and difficulty to breath. Hence, there are some precautions you need to consider before buying chest binders, and you should know how to wear binders safely to prevent injury. Let’s check it out!
Get Yourself Fitted
Even ‘though a chest binder is meant to tighten your chest, you need to make sure that you’re still able to breathe, and wearing it should not restrict your movement. Knowing the shape of your body is also important before deciding to buy a chest binder. For instance, if you have an hourglass figure, you will need to adjust the binder to correspond to the size of your waist. Do take note that chest binder sizing is different from normal bra sizing. You may follow the guide on how to measure your busts for binder sizing from Trans Missie.
Limit the Time Amount
The next thing you should know is how long you can wear a binder. While you may feel tempted to wear it the whole day, it isn’t recommended to. A chest binder is not a long-time replacement for a bra which you can wear anytime and as long as you want. Over time you may experience problems like skin loosening, difficulty to breath, or pain in the upper part of your body. Make sure you don’t wear a binder for over 8 hours and schedule a break in between wearing periods. It is also a good idea to have at least one day a week where you don’t wear a binder. This is to ensure giving yourself room to breathe and you don’t overtax your breasts from wearing a binder.
Try Not to Exercise in A Chest Binder
Apart from knowing the time limit for wearing a binder, you also need to know when is the time wearing a binder is not encouraged. Exercising is healthy, but you shouldn’t bind your chest during exercise. Binding your chest while exercising will limit your capacity to breathe and could restrict the blood flow which could cause problems later on. Of course, you would want to move freely while keeping your busts in place while exercising. Besides, it can also cause the bacteria produced from sweat to get entrapped in your binders. Therefore, it is best to know which bra is suitable to wear for every occasion. For exercising and working out, wear a sports bra instead of a chest binder.
Choose Your Binding Tools Wisely
Your Body Knows Best
Next, the most important thing you need to know is to listen to your body. If you start to feel discomfort or pain, or maybe, you have trouble breathing, that means the binder is too tight. It may also be a sign that you have been wearing the binder for too long without a break. It’s understandable that you wanna wear a binder to aid your dysphoria and to improve your mental state. However, you must not forget to take care of your physical health as well. Again, wearing a chest binder should only be a temporary replacement for not wearing a bra.
Although you wanna wear a binder to look the way you wish to be, it is also important to not harm your body in the process. Now that you know how to wear binders safely, here is an extra tip if you have a child who’s binding her own chest. Try to limit how long she is binding, especially if she is in the stage when her breasts are starting to grow. Eventually, she will get a hump on her back from binding so frequently. Last but not the least, you can wear a binder, but wear it wisely by following the tips shared in this article.
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