What Happens When You Stop Wearing a Bra?

what happens when you stop wearing a bra cat

After a long day, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of unhooking the bra you’ve been strapped into for 12 hours. It feels so good, in fact, that it got us wondering: What happens when you stop wearing a bra altogether? As it turns out, quite a bit. There are certainly some pros—namely, less bacne and rib pain—but there are also, naturally, some cons—like back pain and more discomfort around your period. Read on to get the low-down before you decide to free boob it full-time.

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1. Your Boobs Might Actually Get Perkier

One of the most common misconceptions about not wearing a bra is that your breasts will rapidly sag. On the contrary, a 15-year-long French study cited by Medical News Today founds that, generally speaking, those who did not wear bras had higher nipples and perkier breasts than those who wore bras daily. Though more research is necessary, the study’s lead, Jean-Denis Rouillon, a sports science researcher from the University of Besançon, France, concluded that wearing a bra every day weakens the muscles that hold up the breasts, resulting in greater breast sagging. Rouillon admits that his findings are preliminary and that forgoing a bra won’t have the same effect on everyone, but that the subjects he studied over 15 years showed no deterioration in the orientation of their breasts but rather widespread improvement in the orientation of their breasts.

2. Your Bacne Might Get Better

“More than 50 percent of people with facial acne also have acne on their back, shoulders and chest, so it is a fairly common issue,” assures Dr. Caroline Robinson, a board-certified medical and cosmetic dermatologist in Chicago. Acne, whether on the face or the trunk of your body (i.e., the chest, shoulders and back) is caused by a combination of oil, bacteria and dead skin clogging the pores. Back acne is sometimes worsened by sweat as well,” explains Dr. Robinson. Think about it: If you’re wearing—and sweating in—a bra for 12 hours a day and you’re prone to acne, your breakouts make a little more sense. Ditching your bra, then, has the potential to improve your body acne.

3. Your Back Might Hurt

Depending on their size, boobs can be heavy, folks. Without the support of a bra holding them up, you might find your back hurting more than usual if you decide to go sans brassiere. For this reason, some folks with larger breasts might find that the support provided by a bra outweighs—pun intended—the freedom of not wearing one. 

4. Your Posture Might Improve

Though the oft-repeated statistic that 80 percent of women are wearing the wrong bra size is a myth, many bra-wearers aren’t sporting the proper size. A bra that’s too small can lead to issues like bad posture, rib pain or shoulder and neck aches. It tracks, then, that if you stop wearing a bra altogether—or if you get professionally fitted—the negative effects of your wrong-sized bra will go away.

5. Your Boobs Might Hurt More Around Your Period

Breast pain or tenderness is among the myriad of lovely symptoms many people experience during their period. Why? The hormones estrogen and progesterone both increase during the second half of your cycle. According to Healthline, estrogen causes the breast ducts to enlarge, while progesterone production causes the milk glands to swell. Both of these fluctuations can cause your breasts to feel sore. That soreness might feel more pronounced if you’re going braless, since a bra holds your boobs close to your body and restricts their movement, which could decrease the pain associated.

So, Is It Healthy to Go Braless?

Here’s the thing: It is totally up to you whether or not you want to wear a bra every day. Both the pros and the cons are totally dependent on your individual set of boobs, meaning there’s no right answer. If you try to go braless for a few days and notice your back hurting more than usual, maybe your best bet is to switch over to a soft bralette that will provide some support without making you feel too constricted. If you feel free as a bird—and physically fine—without a bra, go forth and prosper. If you’re someone who feels totally naked without your trusty Wacoal, wear it all day long, baby. Every body is different, and since there are no major medical issues that should arise from tossing your bra into the Goodwill bin, the choice to wear or not to wear a bra is completely yours.

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sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...