10 Fashion Trends that Are Bad for Your Health

View as:|
1 of 11

It has long been said that looking good can carry a hefty price tag. Sometimes this refers to the actual cost of garments and caring for oneself; in other cases, it directly refers to the health hazards that some fashion trends can cause. Here are 10 fashions to avoid.


Skinny jeans

According to a recent study, tight-fitting jeans can cause a myriad of problems for men, including urinary tract infections, twisted testicles and bladder weakness.  The study found that tight-fitting pants can also cause low sperm count and fungal infections.

For more information, see Skinny Jeans Cause Health Problems for Men.


High heels

"High heeled shoes absolutely wreak havoc on the entire body from head to toes," reports Dr. Christina Lasich, a practicing physiatrist and HealthCentral Expert.  High-heeled shoes cause bunions, foot arthritis, knee and back pain.  Another reason women should be more careful when selecting footwear: Cramming your foot into an ill-fitting shoe can cause nerve damage.

For more information, see Hall of Shame: Shoes That Cause Pain.


Flip flops

Flip-flops offer no support to your foot, increasing risk of injury to the feet, ankles, knees and lower back.  The lack of support can leave a person susceptible to plantar fasciitis and even nerve problems.  According to report from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, flip-flops also change the way a person walks, forcing them to grip the sandal with the toes and putting unnecessary strain on a different set of muscles.


Heavy purses

Some women are notorious for carrying around enormous bags despite the pain that it inevitably causes.  Heavy bags can cause significant back and neck pain and  some doctors recommend weighing a purse to ensure that it’s no more than 10 percent of your body weight.  Skinny straps also can dig into the skin and bags that are not worn properly can even lead to nerve pain.  So, is everything in that purse really a necessity?


Body piercing

Body piercing has become much more commonplace, but that doesn't necessarily mean it comes without risk.  A 2002 study published in the Western Journal of Medicine found a variety of complications associated with piercing, particularly infections, including impetigo and cellulitis.  Some piercers can also have adverse scarring known as a keloid, leaving a raised scar as an unsightly memory.

For more information, see Common Complications of Body Piercing.



Though tattoo parlors have come a long way since the old image of a seedy biker painting MOM into his a bicep, this fashion likewise comes with some potential complications. Like body piercing, tattoos carry risk of infection as well as a negative reaction to ink.  Tattoos – now present in 24 percent of the population – can also cause scarring and will change in appearance with increased age and/or weight gain.



More than 30 million people in the U.S. visit tanning salons every year, of which nearly 70 percent are white females between 16 to 49.  This includes 2.3 million teens.  Yet tanning increases risk of melanoma by 75 percent if you're exposed to tanning beds before the age of 35.  Using a tanning bed more than 10 times a year increases melanoma risk by 800 percent!  It's dangerous – even if you think you look better bronzed.



Arguably the most popular accessory there is. And yet, blaring music directly into the ears is definitely not a good thing.  Headphones can blast sounds at 110 decibels, roughly equivalent to a rock concert and twice the volume of normal conversation.  The NIH recommends turning down the volume "if a personal standing near you can hear the music coming through the headphones."


Tight Underwear (for him)

For some men, wearing tight underwear can cause an increase in temperature in the area around the testes, which can lead to infertility.  Jock itch, a fungus that grows around the groin area, can also be triggered by friction with clothing and prolonged wetness in the groin, such as sweating.  Urinary tract infections have also been tied to wearing tight, non-breathable underwear.


Sexy underwear (for her)

As is the case for men, women wearing tight, non-breathable underwear can create an environment that does not stay cool or dry.  This environment can lead to urinary tract or other infections.  Thong underwear causes significant friction and can cause abrasions and, potentially, actual wounds.  Yeast infections also are more common among women who wear thong underwear.