Having many babies, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol can dramatically age your breasts but certain factors can stall inevitable sag, according to a new study.
Researchers claim to have found that certain environmental factors and lifestyle habits can greatly impact how a woman's breasts age.
In a study of 161 identical twins between the ages of 25 and 74, researchers questioned each twin about their individual lifestyle habits, such as whether they smoked and drank, how many pregnancies they had, how often they wore a bra, whether they played sports, if they used hormone replacement therapy during menopause, how often they moisturised their skin and how much sun they exposed their skin to.
Dr Soltanian, lead researcher for the project, was quoted as saying to ABC News: "It's very rare that both twins have been through the same exact environmental factors throughout life. The idea was that they have the same [breasts] from a genetic standpoint. If we see a difference, it's more likely to be environmental factors."
Each twins’ breasts were photographed and evaluated subjectively, according to Plastic surgeon Dr Hooman T Soltanian of University Hospitals Case Medical Center in the US.
While researchers agreed that there is no objective measurement to define perfect breasts, researchers appraised breasts looking at their shape, size, skin tone and droopiness.
They discovered that environmental factors such as higher body mass index, larger bra and cup sizes, smoking, drinking and multiple pregnancies all make breasts appear uglier over time.
On the other hand, moisturising everyday and the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) during menopause were regarded as beneficial to aging breasts. Interestingly, breastfeeding was among the habits that could benefit breasts by enhancing skin quality, but could also have a negative effect on the size and shape of the areola.
Researchers hope these findings will minimise the amount of women resorting to plastic surgery in a bid to improve the appearance of their breasts. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 443 902 women had procedures done on the breasts last year alone. With almost 316 848 women having breast augmentations and about 127 054 receiving breast lifts.
According to Soltanian breast health and appearance as a whole are significant to a woman's overall fitness and health.
Judy Kuriansky, a sex therapist from Columbia University, agrees, saying that breasts have a great psychological importance to women because "no matter how liberated women feel about their bodies, their breast size is so tied up in their sexuality and self-image."
"Breasts carry such anthropological importance. Like the hip size, it's about being fertile. Women are obsessed with their breasts at all ages, because men are obsessed with their breasts,”
The study was published today and was funded by a grant from the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation.