Flip flops can leave you with an inflamed sole and sexy thongs with cystitis. But it’s not just too-tight undies to watch out for — the swimwear, sandals and sexy dresses we squeeze ourselves into can also play havoc with our health. Here’s our top-to-toe guide to make sure your style isn’t sabotaging your health.
The damage: Figures from the British Osteopathic Association show one fifth of Brits endured pain from sunglasses causing pressure around their heads. Overly tight sunglasses could cause headaches and neck pain. Solution: Buy from — or take your favourite sunnies to — a registered optician, who can fit them properly around your ears and nose, so they don’t cause any discomfort.
Pendants and bangles
The damage: With attractive and affordable metallic jewellery strewn roadside stalls, it’s tempting to update your wardrobe with new trinkets each season. But cut-price jewellery is often made from metals containing nickel, a common allergen, and wearing it daily can cause a nickel allergy, leading to rashes, itching and redness. Solution: The best way to avoid allergic reactions is to choose hypoallergenic jewellery made from metals such as stainless. German silver (cheaper than real silver) is good too. Or go for budget — and skin-friendly — summery alternatives to metal such as leather or plastic beads.
The damage: They may give you a sexy, hourglass figure, but wearing a restrictive body-con or bandage-style dress around your middle interferes with breathing, which is why corsetwearing Victorian women were always fainting! Plus, a constant pushing on the stomach — known as intragastric pressure — can force stomach acid back up through the oesophagus, causing a nasty bout of heartburn. Solution: Limit your body-con time to a few hours on a night out. Stick to looser shapes that don’t restrict the body.
The damage: They’re the best pants for avoiding a VPL under clothes, but thongs also help to spread bacteria from your bottom to the urethra and vaginal area, which can trigger thrush or cystitis.Solution: Buy good quality cotton undies and ensure they’re the correct size. If you’re prone to infections, avoid thongs altogether.
The damage: They’re a staple for many of us, especially during the rains, but research has linked daily use of flip-flops to painful plantar fascitis — an inflammation of the foot sole that causes severe heel pain — because they don’t support the arch of the foot. Solution: Choose more supportive trainers for walking around in during the day — especially on hard surfaces. And when the sun’s out, don’t forget to rub some SPF on your tootsies too.
Skinny jeans and capri pants
The damage: A few years back, Canada’s Dr Malvinder Parmar was one of the first experts to note that tight trousers can squeeze a sensory nerve under the hip bone, causing a tingling, burning sensation to shoot down the leg, something called meralgia paresthetica. Solution: Opt for baggier, boyfriend-style jeans, or highwaisted trousers that don’t squeeze the hips. Wear skinnies only occasionally.