chest binding safely

Chest Binding Safely With ContourMD

Beginning to bind means beginning to affirm your identity, while becoming more comfortable with the way your body looks. The early days of binding are exciting ones. It’s often when you begin to feel and become more like yourself. 

When it comes to chest binding, it’s important to remember that safety and comfort go hand in hand. To help you find your right binding garments and techniques we put together to help you safely chest bind whether you’re just beginning or you do it daily.  

Why Binding? 

Chest binding is the process of restricting and compressing breast tissue to create a smooth silhouette. This is often done through either sports bras, bandages, or compression garments. Compression garments often provide the “best” or smoothest result and are a very safe option, when used correctly. 

Binding may be used by individuals as a means of expressing their true gender or in preparation for chest reconstruction surgery. However, many individuals may experience different pains or discomforts associated with the act of chest binding. When done incorrectly, binding can lead to discomfort in the back, chest, shoulders, and breast tissue. Due to the pressure and friction against the skin, They may also encounter skin irritations, difficulty breathing, dizziness, numbness, or other respiratory issues. 

But often the benefits of binding far outweigh the discomforts. Binding allows individuals to feel and present themselves as their true gender. Chest binding is associated with increased confidence and self-esteem, along with decreased levels of anxiety and depression. This is why learning proper methods of chest binding and using high-quality compression garments are so important. By selecting ContourMD garments and support for this process, you can ensure a comfortable and compassionate compression experience. 


Binding Basics. 

Let’s just start with the basics, and go from there?

First, you should never NEVER use tape or plastic wrap for binding purposes. No matter what you read online, this is not easy, comfortable, or budget-friendly. These methods are extremely unsafe and should not be used. What should you use to bind your chest? Safest methods include sports bras, bandages, and specially designed compression garments. Also, it is important to take frequent breaks or even days off of binding, as it can become exhausting on your chest, breathing, and skin. 

People bind their chests in many ways including wrapping with elastic bandages, wearing athletic compression gear, strategic layering of sports bras and compression shirts and using commercial binders that are designed specifically to reduce the appearance of breasts. 


Binding For Larger Chests. 

Because everybody is different, remember to tailor these steps to what feels right and comfortable to you. It may take some trial and error to find the right method for you, and that’s okay. This is your journey and ContourMD is here to offer support every step of the way.

The first step is getting into your binder in the first place. It can be challenging, especially with a larger chest. 

ContourMD makes a variety of binder products and binder alternatives like compression vests that you can either step into, wrap-around, or zip up. Try different ways of getting into your binder, or try another type of binder to find what is most comfortable for you. Remember, you’ll probably want to wear it for as long as possible, so that is something to consider, as well! 

And don’t worry if you need to adjust it throughout the day, or take frequent breaks at first. Experiment to find what type of binder works best for your body and your comfort. Buy the highest quality binder you can afford, and it will do wonders for your skin and comfort. 


Pro tips: 

  • Don’t wear two binders (or two sports bras, or a binder over a sports bra) at once, as this can do irreversible damage to your lungs and ribs. Even if you know others who seem to be fine with this method, in the long term it’s not feasible for your health. 
  • Get the proper size for your body! Don’t size down thinking the result will be a flatter chest. The result will just be a lot of pain and maybe some rolling.
  • Take a picture of yourself with the binder on underneath a shirt for the most accurate representation of how you’ll look out there in the world. Just like those side-profile progress pictures you see in gyms and on fitness posters, photographic evidence is the best way of seeing how others will see you! 
  • Take extra breaks! You may already be used to taking more breaks simply from having a larger chest… wearing a binder for 6-8 hours with a large chest won’t come naturally, so remember to ease into it and give your body time to adjust. 
  • Finally, never wear a binder overnight and never wear one while exercising as your muscles and chest need to move to react to your exercises. 


How to go about taking breaks

Try to think of your schedule and use a day planner to track when you’ll be wearing a binder, if possible. Not only does this help keep track of your day-to-day life, but it also allows you to find small windows where you could be giving your body a break from binding for a while. 

For example, it might not be necessary to wear while working from home but you may want to wear it before going out with friends for dinner. Being kind to your body is the best way to ensure success. 

It’s important to remain safe while binding, especially if you are considering top surgery, as it can affect the elasticity of your skin and your recovery post-op. 

When you can, consider wearing a sports bra instead of a binder. Some bras provide a lot of compression and if you have a smaller chest, this may be suitable for everyday use. 

Risks to be aware of 

As we mentioned, there are some risks to be aware of that are associated with binding. 

Because of the compressive nature of binding, it can affect your skin, muscles, and movement. Especially as you sweat throughout the day, and you will sweat more with a binder on. It becomes very easy for bacterial or fungal infections to develop. It is important to clean the area regularly when you are giving your body a break from binding and to wash your binder regularly.

Binders that are too tight can also cause nerve and muscle damage. They can even restrict your breathing or cause you to develop GI issues. 

At ContourMD, we have been designing and manufacturing these products here in America for close to 30 years. We are always happy to lend an ear and provide our expert advice regarding sizing, product selection, or proper care for your garments. 

Recommended products from ContourMD 

ContourMD has been creating quality crafted compression garments since 1982. We are proud to offer a wide assortment of compression garments to help you feel your most confident every day. 

Universal Binder – The Universal Abdominal Binder by Contour features individual Velcro panels for precise control and compression. The abdominal binder is designed to help prevent rolling or shifting. The comfortable latex-free garment fits sizes from 28 to 44 inches and is available in white for 8, 10, and 12-inch widths.

Expand-A-Band Binder – The Expand-A-Band Binder fits all genders, giving you excellent support and compression. The Expand-A-BandAbdominal Binder attaches with a special Velcro that adheres to any part of the binder making it easy to adjust and control the amount of applied pressure to the abdomen. The Binder is Latex Free, made of material using DriRelease with FRESHGUARD, helping keep you feeling drier and fresher longer.

Contour PowerNet Vest – Contour works with surgeons to ensure that our patients have compression garments that deliver maximum performance without compromising comfort or style. Check out our PowerNet Vests to learn more about this durable and versatile garment.

Express yourself with ContourMD

Chest binding is an expression of who you are and ContourMD wants to support you with proper compression and compassion every step of the way. Feel free to reach out via email or give us a call & enjoy a knowledgeable & judgment-free experience. 

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