We all know to be checking our breasts regularly for lumps and bumps to ensure we’re healthy and everything’s going along as it should. But there are other ways of keeping ourselves healthy up there that are worth investing some time in.
Anyone with mammaries is vulnerable to ailments running the gamut from the more mild, like dry nipples and the slow sag that accompanies aging (sad face), to the more severe and scary, like cancer.
There are many ways to care for your breasts to prevent or postpone some of those concerns and to monitor for those things that could be dangerous. So here’s your totally comprehensive breast-care routine.
1. PUT LOTION ON
If you’re worried about stretch marks and dry nipples, moisturizing is, of course, essential to combatting those things. Plus, it feels good! Remember that some of your most sensitive skin is on and around your breasts, so daily moisturizing is essential to keeping everything looking and feeling good. Martha Stewart says to do it with the real thick stuff and we all know Martha knows best.
2. LET’S TALK ABOUT BRAS
Listen, a lot of people out there are going to say scary things to you about gravity and the threat of sag to your breasts. But you know what? There’s just nothing you can do about it. It’s not the bra. It’s not exercises. It’s not strapping them to your chest. They will sag. You will age. Such is life.
However, wearing a bra that fits you is essential for your own comfort. Nobody likes to be yanking on their bra straps all day or discovering later in a photograph that their breasts were actually sort of squeezing out of the tops of their cups (this happens to me constantly). Go splurge on a bra that really fits you and supports you. It’s good for your body, it’s good for your boobs, and it’s usually good for your photos.
3. NOW LET’S TALK ABOUT SELF-PERCEPTION
So now that we’ve established that we can’t control the sag or the general aesthetics of our breasts, let’s go to the next step: Why concern ourselves with how perky or not-perky our breasts are? Breasts come in all shapes and sizes and looks. Most of us have one bigger than the other! Some nipples point down, some point out, some breasts slope up, some go in different directions. Why are we trying to control or change what our mothers gave us? Own it.
If you’re struggling to do that, look at body-positive Instagram accounts. Do you know you can change what you perceive as beautiful? Like, objectively. You can decide small breasts or mastectomy scars or asymmetrical sag-atrons are GORGEOUS and not ironically and not in a way that’s forced.
People’s bodies are vulnerable places. There’s humanity there and getting to see it is a privilege. When we learn to accept others’ bodies as lovely and perfectly imperfect and unique, then we can start getting to a comfortable place with our own. So screw trying to keep them from sagging! Enjoy them as they are and as they evolve.
4. SUNSCREEN, SUNSCREEN, SUNSCREEN!
Not to overshare, but my doctor recently told me, a 35-year-old sun-damaged woman, that I had the skin of a 55-year-old. The tops of my breasts are freckly and splotchy and …yes, aged. And YES, I know I was just lecturing you on accepting yourself as you are, but this is less about how your skin looks and more about how safe it is. Of course, your chest is a prime spot for sun and you’ve likely been burned there a few times. If that’s the case, take extra care to use a moisturizer with SPF in it. That sun is not getting any cooler but your skin IS getting more vulnerable underneath its strengthening UV heat. Don’t blame me. Blame climate change.
5. MASSAGE YOURSELF
Gently massaging your breasts cannot only relax you and encourage affection for your own body (come on! your body feels good!), it also helps you stay aware of how your breasts feel. Some breasts are naturally lumpier than others; some are smaller and firmer; some are larger and firmer. In any case, regularly checking in on them will help you with the next thing, which is:
6. DO YOUR BREAST EXAMS
One arm up. Start in your armpit and move your fingers along to and around your breast. Do this every month and take note of any firmness’s, lumps, or nodes that are unusual. Do this every month around the same point in your cycle (your breasts change texture a bit depending on your cycle) and be sure to check in with your doctor if you feel any changes.
Also look at your breasts. Are they dimpling? Has the contour changed? Are your nipples changing or changed? Inverted? If you notice any redness, scaling, or patchiness, it’s a good idea to get your doc on the horn. These aren’t always the signs of something tragic, but they can be signs of something serious. So take good care.
Written By: Brianna Snyder