Fashion Fads, and 13 unintended health consequences

‘Light Reading for Sick Rooms and Parties’

Unhealthy Fashion Fads:

1. Hair pullback:   Severe and under tension hair pullback will yield an enlarging forehead. It permanently  damages hair, causing hair loss.  So does wearing hair extensions for long periods. Tight ponytails, headbands, and braids can cause headaches.

2. Hair on forehead:  Bangs in adolescence are associated  with aggravation of acne via the oiliness of hair in contact with the skin.  Hair should be held off the forehead during sleep.

Remember ‘Hands, Hair, and Hydration”.   The dirtiest part of our bodies are our hands:  keep them off your face.  Get hair off the face too, at least during sleep.   2/3 of your body is water; skin is your largest organ.  Help your skin by staying well hydrated (70-90 ounces/day)

3. Tight belts, tight pantyhose:  can cause numbness in the leg by pressure on the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve that runs from the abdomen to the outer thigh. A similar problem occurs with policemen and journeymen who carry guns or equipment on their hips.

Symptoms includes numbness on the side of the leg, back pain sometimes radiating into the buttocks or hip. A fat wallet carried in the hip pocket is a common culprit for symptoms as well.

Victorian style corsets  could crush ribs and interfere with digestion;  today we have  too tight jeans. “Tight Pants Syndrome” coined in 1993 can cause abdominal discomfort, distention, heartburn, and belching especially after eating. Also possible:  low back pain, yeast infections in women and a condition known as lipoatrophia simicircularis (horizontal skin changes around the thighs, much more unwelcome appearing than cellulite).

4. Spanx and other “body tamers”:   can cause nerve compression, digestive issues, and painful welts.

Compression wear for the abdomen can prevent full expansion of the lungs and cause lightheadedness.

5. Tight collars, or ties: can reduce circulation to the brain, increase pressure in the eyes, decrease range of motion of the neck.

- 67% of men buy shirts that are smaller than their necks. Ties are seldom cleaned, can carry infection.

- Lingerie experts say 75% of women wear the wrong size bra.  If too big it give no support which causes pain and back strain.

6. Tight bike shorts: can raise temperature of the testes, reducing sperm production.

Also, allergies occur more often with synthetics and blends than cloths that are all wool, silk or cotton. People who develop rashes  from clothes are reacting to dyes and fabric softeners that can include formaldehyde. Washing new clothes a couple of times before wearing can reduce that.

7. Socks with tight elastic:  can cause raised reddish welts around ankles.  The marks are harmless but can last for years.

They can also occur around wrists from tight mittens.

8. Shoes with heels hight than two inches:  are linked to bunions, hammer toes, stress fractures and ankle sprains.

Bony protrusions on the back of heels (“pump bumps”) can also develop, along with nerve damage between the toes (neuromas), and circulation blockage causing foot bones to die.

Do your shoe-buying after 3 or 4 in the afternoon when your feet are most swollen.  Remember that one foot is larger than the other and size your shoes to that foot.

9. Years of wearing high heels: shortens the Achilles tendons making flat shoes uncomfortable.

Flats can lack support and lead to plantar fasciitis (pain that feels like you are stepping on a nail when you get up in the morning) .

10. Flip flops are worse: Wearers have to clench their toes to keep them on, leading to foot fatigue, sore calf muscles and an altered gait which could cause long term ankle and hip problems.

11. Heavy handbags and book bags:  throw the back out of line, causing back and neck problems.  Don’t carry more than 10% of your weight on a shoulder, and don’t do it long term without sharing the burden equally on both shoulders.

12. Body piercings: Over 20% of body piercings  get infected. In my experience 80% of naval and nose piercings get inflamed or infected.

Also nickel allergy is common, and nickel even in very small amounts is included in rings, earrings, and watchbands.  People who have no allergies to their jewelry can develop an allergy when exposed to citrus (e.g. lime or lemon).  It is the combination of the acid in contact with  nickel in the jewelry,  and the allergy becomes a permanent one even without future exposure to the citrus. Sometimes the jewelry can still be worn if a layer of protection (e.g. fingernail polish) is applied to that part of the jewelry that contacts the skin (e.g. the back of a watch or ring).

13. Fingernail extensions and appliques:  very, very frequently develop bacterial, and more often  fungal infections.

Have a Care;  Buyer Beware.

Bruce Kiessling, M.D.





‘Just a G.P.’

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