As we get older, gravity and thinning skin, as well as factors such as breastfeeding, inevitably lead to breasts becoming less perky than they once were.
But there are a number of bad habits you could be guilty of that are contributing to their journey south, according to Dr Dirk Kremer of Harley Street Aesthetics.
The leading plastic surgeon told Glamour that a number of habits that you might not immediately recognise as risk factors, such as failing to apply sunscreen and sleeping on your stomach can all contribute to sagging.
And while you might imagine that going braless could have a negative impact on perkiness, that’s not always the case.
Read on to find out how many mistakes you’re guilty of, and what you should do to correct them.
DON’T: Sleep on your stomach
Pressing your breasts against the mattress for hours on end won’t do them any favours, while lying on your side will cause the ligaments to stretch over time.
If you want to maintain uplift in your cleavage, then sleeping on your back is the best position.
DON’T: Rely solely on high impact exercise
According to Dr Kremer the research is not conclusive, but some experts believe that ‘back-and-forth repetitive motions that happen when you run or do a similar workout can lead to a breakdown of breast collagen.’
If you want to be on the safe side, alternate between sports such as running and lower impact exercise like swimming and yoga.
DON’T: Wear a bra all the time
A study by French researchers found that constant support can weaken chest muscles and make the breasts sag.
However, going braless all the time is likely to have the exact same effect.
The best approach is to give your breasts a break now and again and ditch your bra.
DON’T: Skip sunscreen
UV rays will stretch out collagen and damage the skin, leading to the dreaded sag.
DON’T: Crash diet
Every time you gain and lose weight, the breast tissue will become more slack.
Even if it’s just a few cigarettes, any smoking decreases blood supply to the surface of the skin, which will weaken and age it.
What causes breasts to sag?
No other part of the body is more affected by the force of gravity than the breasts.
From the moment a woman’s chest is fully grown, in her late teens to mid-twenties, there’s a battle against the downward pull.
While an average pair of breasts weighs around 2lbs to 4lbs, there’s not much of a natural support structure to keep them in place.
The condition even has its own medical name — ptosis — and droopiness can be graded by doctors on a three-stage scale.
In pert, young breasts, the nipple is usually above the line where the base of the breast meets the chest — or the inframammary fold.
By stage two, the nipple is around one to three inches below that point.
At stage three, the breast hangs more than 3cm below, with the nipple often pointing down to the floor.
Over a lifetime, a woman with heavy breasts may see her nipples drop by as much as ten or 11cms if they descend to her waistline.