Binding Effects and Safe Binding

Here, we will explore some of the health impacts that binding for a long period of time may have, as well as some tips for safe binding.

Binding for long periods of time may result in:

  • Sore neck, back and shoulders
  • Acne or irritated skin where the binder is worn
  • Discomfort in warmer weather
  • Increased symptoms of existing health conditions such as Asthma
  • Especially with unsafe binding practices, circulation and other body systems may be impacted

Contact your Primary Care Provider if you experience pain, difficulty breathing, ongoing tingling/numbness, skin rash, or sores.

Safe binding

Here, we will explore some of the health impacts that binding for a long period of time may have, as well as some tips for safe binding.

The first tip to safe binding is ensuring the binder is the correct size. It is not recommended to wear smaller sized binders to enhance an even flatter chest appearance as a binder that is too small can cause severe pain and injury. A general rule of thumb with binders: If it hurts, cuts your skin or prevents you from breathing it is too tight.

It is not recommended to bind with elastic bandages, ace bandages, duct tape or saran wrap. These methods can restrict blood flow, make it hard to breathe, cause rashes and bruising and even break ribs.

To avoid negative health outcomes from binding you can try:

  • Binding for shorter periods of time (no more than 8 hours per day)
  • Finding looser alternatives such as a well fitting bra or medical compression shirt
  • Taking time off binding if possible. 
  • Ensuring your skin is completely dry before putting on a binder
  • Using a non-irritating body powder or thin undershirt beneath the binder to help prevent skin irritation.
  • Practicing regular stretching of the back, neck, shoulders and chest to alleviate binding discomfort. 

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