Breasts are beautiful. I don't care what size, shape or hue, they're bomb. Yet if there's one thing that is pretty much unavoidable when it comes to them, it's the fact that sooner or later, they're not going to be quite as perky and youthful as they once were. A few things can cause that—breastfeeding, smoking, extreme weight loss or weight gain, multiple pregnancies, illness, menopause, having some really big girls and yes, aging.
While aging is something that none of us can avoid (and why would you want to? It means that you're being blessed with longer life), thankfully, there are some things that can be done to keep your breasts looking like they did, back when you would stare in the mirror, right after getting out of the shower, and smile because you liked looking at them so much. And the really cool thing is they are all-natural. So, are you ready to learn 12 ways to take a few years off of your girls? If so, keep reading.
1. Eat What Keeps Your Breast Tissue Healthy
In order to keep your breasts looking years younger, it's important that you do work from the inside out more than anything else. This starts with consuming a healthy diet; one that focuses on foods that are directly related to breast health. Let's start with omega-3s. Since they are fatty acids that help to balance out your skin's hydration levels and minimize signs of aging, of course, they had to get a shout out. Foods that are loaded with omega-3s include salmon, chia seeds, walnuts, spinach and Brussel sprouts. Citrus fruits, cabbage, broccoli, whole grains and watermelon are good for you because they're full of antioxidants and your breasts can always use some of those. If you're looking to increase your breast tissue growth (so that your breasts look plumper), foods that have monounsaturated fats in them (like olive oil, avocados, cashews, eggs and almonds) should go on your grocery list. And peaches, pears and apples (the apple's skin more than anything) have your back because the antioxidant polyphenol can help to keep your breast cancer risk at bay.
2. Stay Hydrated
Water flushes out toxins. Water moisturizes. Water aids in weight loss. Water helps your body to better absorb the nutrients that it needs. Water improves blood and oxygen circulation. And your breasts definitely need all of these things in order to stay healthy and to appear younger. That's why you should make sure to consume no less than 6-8 glasses of water a day. Shoot, do your breasts a solid and drink some infused water while you're at it. It will give them some extra vitamins and minerals. Plus, infused water tastes less…boring.
3. Work Out Your Pectoral Muscles
I can personally attest to this one. Although my breasts are still looking pretty good out in these streets (not literally but you know what I'm saying), I've gotta admit that they were perkier in my 20s and 30s. A lot of it doesn't have to do with aging. It's because I was more physically active then and definitely had stronger pectoral muscles.
I promise that while you're out here looking for the perfect bra in order to make your breasts look supple and youthful, if you'd just get your chest muscles right, it can take literal years off of your breasts' appearance.
Push-ups are kind of a given. If you'd like to learn about more exercises that can strengthen your chest muscles, check out Healthline's "Try This: 13 Breast-Firming Exercises".
4. Improve Your Posture
I once read somewhere that about 80 percent of Americans have really poor posture. That's not good because that can eventually lead to back pain, headaches, trouble sleeping, digestive issues and yep, you guessed it—sagging breasts. On the breast tip, bad posture is specifically problematic because it puts your breasts in a position that leads to droopiness. So, definitely be intentional about walking with your shoulders back and sitting with your back aligned to your chair. If you'd like to take a bit of a posture test to see how far off from good posture you might currently be, I read an article that can walk you through a quick exercise. You can check it out here.
5. Watch Your Deodorant
You might've heard somewhere that, due to a lot of the chemicals that are in many popular deodorant and antiperspirant brands, it's best to stay away from them. Why? Because they could increase your breast cancer risk. Although Cancer.org considers this to be an unfounded myth, I'm the kind of person who likes to be on the safe side; especially since my girls are large (36H) and I'm getting older. It's taken me a while to find an all-natural deodorant brand that doesn't irritate my skin (and works well). I finally have, though. A company called Deep Well Botanicals has safe and affordable deodorants that come in scents like lavender, bergamot and herbal spice that are made out of ingredients like baking soda, coconut oil, zinc oxide, activated charcoal and Vitamin E oil. And since the less chemicals that go into your system, the healthier your breast tissue will be, you can see why it's a good idea to go the all-natural route.
6. Put on Some Sunscreen
I know we all think that Black doesn't crack (it actually can, if we're not careful; check out "Yes, Black CAN Crack. Here's What To Do About It, Tho."). Still, that's not a good enough reason to go without sunscreen. Yes, we have more melanin than other ethnicities and praise the good Lord for it. However, the fact that many of us have gone without protection from UV rays is rooted in the lack of education that a lot of dermatologists have when it comes to how to properly care for our skin.
And when it comes to our breasts specifically, when we don't apply sunscreen to them whenever we're wearing a sundress or bathing suit and the underside of our breasts end up "getting overheated" from the sun, that can lead to extra drooping up the road. It only takes a second to apply a little bit, so as the weather heats up, please make sure that you do.
7. Take a Collagen Supplement
Something that our skin needs is collagen. A part of the reason why is because it's a protein that provides our skin with the elasticity that it needs. As we age, it's pretty common for our collagen levels to drop. A way to prevent this from happening is to take a collagen supplement. It's a smart move when it comes to your breasts because collagen is actually able to make the skin around your breasts appear more youthful; fuller too. That's why it's a good idea to add a collagen supplement to your daily regimen. You also might want to add more foods to your diet that have collagen in them like citrus fruits, egg whites, fish, white tea, bell peppers, tomatoes and bone broth.
8. Wear the Right Bra (Sometimes a Sports Bra)
While some folks believe that the ever-popular statement that 80 percent of women wear the wrong size bra is more of a myth than anything else, chile, I'm not so sure. It was just a couple of years ago that I thought I was a 36DDD, only to get fitted and find out that I was a 36H up in this mug! Moral to the story—if it's been a while since you've had a professional bra fitting (as opposed to a personal bra guessing), there is no time like the present to see what's really going on with your girlies. Once you do get the right measurements, make sure to go with a bra that offers great support over one that is just "pretty". Also, avoid wearing push-up bras a lot. Believe it or not, when it comes to making your breasts look younger, that kind of bra can work against you because it can actually weaken the muscles that support your breasts and that can lead to sagging.
Speaking of bras, if you're someone who works out or your girls lean towards the larger side, make sure to have a few sports bras in your possession. They're specifically designed to help keep your breasts' ligaments from stretching which can also cause droopiness. Plus, you'll feel more comfortable and confident as you're exercising.
9. Wear Your Bra Less, Though
Are you ready to trip right on out? While I was doing some research on breasts, in general, I happened upon some quotes from a book entitledDressed to Kill--Second Edition: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras. Something that really stood out to me was that the amount of time that we wear a bra can be directly linked to how much our breast cancer risk increases. For instance, it said that women who wore a bra 24 hours a day had a three out of four chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer; women who wore one 12 hours a day had a one out of seven risk; women who had one on less than 12 hours a day had a one in 52 chance of getting this kind of cancer, and women who never wore a bra had a one out of 168 chance of having cancer.
While I definitely see the purpose in bras and I'm not gonna flat-out cosign on not wearing one, what I will say is if you think about the fact that our vaginas need time to breathe after wearing underwear, why wouldn't our breasts need a break too? Especially if we've been sweating and those toxins get trapped in our bra material and our breasts aren't able to "escape". Yes, bras are supposed to offer up support. At the same time, going without can actually increase blood flow and, believe it or not, can help to improve muscle tone over time.
So, if your grandma had you believing that you damn near had to live in a bra every waking and sleeping minute, let that old wives' tale go. Taking off your bra as soon as you get home and sleeping without one can be the absolute best ways to keep your girls looking younger.
10. Apply Sweet Almond Oil During the Day
I've been a big fan of sweet almond oil for a while now. While I started using it for my face and neck (if you want to remain youthful looking, definitely pay close attention to moisturizing your neck), I've started putting it on my breasts as well. Sweet almond oil is awesome because it contains nutrients like fatty acids, vitamins A and E, protein, potassium and zinc that can help to improve skin tone, reduce the appearance of stretch marks (if you happen to have any on your breasts), can reverse sun damage (over time), deeply moisturize your skin and provide a natural sun-kissed glow to it. So, when you step out of the shower in the morning, apply some sweet almond oil before drying off. You'll love the way it makes your breasts look and feel.
11. Apply Wheat Germ Oil at Night
Before turning in at night, how about adding another oil into the mix? Wheat germ oil is also wonderful because it's loaded with iron, phosphorus, zinc, folic acid and vitamins B, D and E. This powerful nutrient combo is known to provide anti-aging results. Plus, wheat germ oil has been known to soothe the effects of skin ailments such as psoriasis and eczema. So yeah, if you apply sweet almond oil in the day and wheat germ oil at night, you will be well on your way to having absolutely gorgeous skin as far as your breasts are concerned.
10. Take a Hormone Test
As we get older and head closer to menopause, that can cause our hormones to be a little all over the place. This can especially be the case when it comes to our estrogen levels. Unfortunately, when they start to drop, the connective tissues within our breasts can become dehydrated and the elasticity within our breasts can begin to wane too. It can be kinda difficult to simply guess where your hormone levels are on your own. That's why it's a good idea to ask your doctor to check them for you, the next time you have your physical. Being clear on where they're at can let you know if you simply need to eat more phytoestrogen foods (plant-based estrogen ones such as peaches, berries, garlic, sesame seeds and flaxseeds) or if it would be wise for you to receive actually hormone therapy. Either way, balanced hormones mean a healthy body and some pretty good-looking breasts too!
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Self-employment is something many people prefer or aspire to, as being your own boss is both admirable and empowering. And women are bossing up more than ever, representing almost 40% of all self-employed professionals. Being self-employed myself, I can attest to the benefits, but like everything in life, there are two dueling sides to every coin. And if you're considering taking the leap from 9-to-5er to self-employed, there's a lot to consider before totally pulling the plug on your day job.
Here are a few things to know, from my own experience, before transitioning into self-employment:
1. Recognize that self-employment is not entrepreneurship.
There are key differences between being an entrepreneur and being self-employed that many people get all mixed up and confused about. The terms are often used interchangeably, but they are definitely not the same.
A self-employed person operates just like an employee, often offering services and talents to business owners, nonprofits, or organizations. An entrepreneur typically offers goods and services to a client or customer, registers their business for tax purposes, and can reap the benefits of resources like business bank accounts, financing, and investments.
When you're self-employed, you often don't get paid if you don't work, most typically as a freelancer or on a project-by-project or client-by-client basis. When you're an entrepreneur, you can successfully scale a business where you can reap the benefits whether you're actively working in it or not.
You can indeed launch a one-person business (i.e., as a limited liability company or LLC), but there are requirements related to that, particularly when it comes to taxes. There are also things to consider, such as lifestyle, goals, and risk tolerance. The annual and financial obligations entrepreneurs have aren't the same as self-employed professionals, like additional taxes, filing fees, and mandatory financial reports.
(I know some of y'all entrepreneurs might be reading this with a side-eye, but hey, not every self-employed person is a business person, and some simply might not want the extra maintenance and responsibilities of having a registered business, no matter the perks.)
While I'm not discouraging any self-employed person from launching a business, knowing the difference between the two is important because it sets the tone for how you approach the work that you do, your expectations on the lifestyle and requirements, and what benefits might be afforded to you.
Many entrepreneurs can employ people, scale their businesses for expansion, get capital investment, and even take days, weeks, or months off without having to actually work yet still reap the benefits. This is often not the case for a self-employed person whose salary largely depends on actual work hours, paid invoices, and strategic budgeting.
2. Inform yourself about the tax obligations and other financial shifts that might happen once you are self-employed.
When you're working a 9-to-5, your company handles taking taxes out of each check. This is not the case for self-employed folk. There's a quarterly schedule that must be followed for federal taxes, and there are other regulations based on the state where you primarily work (even if you're working remote). If you're used to having a hands-off approach to taxes (other than going to the tax preparer once a year), you definitely want to shift your expectations and get to know all the information you can about self-employment taxes.
Also, the way you budget might be a bit different when you're self-employed. If you find, for example, that you're constantly living check to check or that you're used to a guaranteed paycheck every two weeks, you'll need to shift the way you look at how money flows in your household.
Self-employment can include periods where you're not getting paid as consistently, and many companies work with invoices that are paid 30, 60, or even 90 days after you've finished the work you've done for them. Keep this in mind and plan accordingly based on the industry you'll be working within.
Talk to a tax or personal finance professional to find out about how your finances and tax obligation might change once you decide to become self-employed, and then set up a plan so that you won't get caught slipping come Tax Day. The process is different for self-employed people, and this is an important aspect of the process that will save you lots of money and stress in the long run.
I learned the hard way to negotiate, upfront, a set period of time for my services (when applicable and reasonable) to be written into a contract and to set my rates not solely based on my previous salary but considering additional costs like WIFI, travel, health insurance that I have to pay for out-of-pocket, home office technology and tools, and the time it actually takes to complete tasks. The pandemic brought home how super-important this was because, as a freelancer, someone can simply cut you with no compensation or warning.
3. Get to know your true strengths and weaknesses when it comes to work ethic, skills, environment, and motivation.
Self-employment is definitely not for the faint at heart. It can be a constant hustle in the beginning, and if you're not careful, you might end up wondering how you'll pay your rent or car note simply because you don't have clients or work lined up. It's good to be a self-starter and super-organized. It's also good to brush up on your marketing, communications, and sales skills because you'll need to pitch yourself and your background in order to land projects and clients.
While working your full-time job, take a few courses or find a self-employed mentor so that you can strengthen your skills in areas where you might need some improvement (i.e., pitching, online marketing, social media branding, or project management.) Practice self-employment on the side as an intern or with a side hustle so you can learn a bit more about yourself that you might be overlooking while serving as an employee.
Being self-employed means you become multiple departments in one person. For example, your current company provides support like assistants, accounting departments, legal teams, and IT, so you might not be used to having to handle all of those things on your own. For some, this can be overwhelming, while others find the challenge invigorating and worth the sacrifice if it means having autonomy and financial and time freedom.
Also, if you're motivated to do your best by being around teams or working in an office, self-employment might be too isolating for you. True, there are groups and co-working cultures you can join, but it's definitely not the same as having built-in comradery of fellow full-timers at a company. Be aware of these things so that you're realistically making a choice that suits the life you want to live and the work experience you want to have in order to thrive.
4. Create an emergency fund solely for the transition.
While you're working a 9-to-5, create a separate savings account just for the transition. Anything can happen between quitting your job and getting your first freelance gig, client, or project. When I first stepped out to be self-employed, I thought I had the dream client, only to find out that it wasn't a good fit and I'd be looking for a new one after six months. This might happen several times before you really hit a groove, find your fit, build up your reputation, and get consistent work.
Having a financial cushion outside of your usual emergency fund helps to soften the blow if something like a client loss, a late invoice payment, or an unexpected work-related expense (i.e., computer replacement or broken equipment repair) comes up.
Sometimes, self-employment can include certain up-front costs like renting an office space, investing in new technology or other tools, travel expenses, or hiring other self-employed professionals (i.e., a consultant, web designer, or tax preparer), so you'll want to be smart, be prepared, and keep your receipts.
5. Understand your why.
Every great and sustainable journey starts with a good reason---a "why" that keeps a person going. If you know your why, you're less likely to just give up when things get rough, and you're less likely to make costly, mentally and physically draining mistakes. I decided to go for full-time self-employment because, after more than a decade working in my field, I really felt burned out at the time, began to resent not being promoted as quickly as I thought I should, and saw that I could make more money contracting my skills and talents out than working full-time for one company.
I also loved that I could pick and choose who I worked with and align my values with the projects that I was part of (versus being forced due to being a full-time employee beholden to a contract and the so-called values of a corporation or company.)
I've made quite a few mistakes over the years, but my why remains the same, and when times get hard, I simply remember the overall peace, flexibility, and autonomy I have in serving the women millennial audiences I want to serve through journalism and communications.
6. Be sure that you're offering services or expertise that can be used for years to come and that's competitive.
If you're considering self-employment, be sure your skills are competitive and have a future of need. I knew, even a decade ago, that much of the media industry was going the freelance route, and today, with layoffs becoming commonplace and full-time employee budgets being cut, contract work has become the name of the game. I saw this industry shift coming a mile away, and, like my early foray into digital media before publishing houses were monetizing it, I knew eventually, freelance work would be abundant and preferred.
If you're already doing a job that is in high demand or you offer something niche and one-of-a-kind, working for yourself might be the move. But if you've found that your current skills might be obsolete in the next two to five years, try learning another skill, shifting how you do the work you do, or tapping into another passion that can ensure you're offering something valuable in a market where it's direly needed.
Self-employment can be a joy and a pain, and for many of us, it's the only choice for self-care, mental wellness, and financial freedom. If you're considering taking the leap, take into account these tips and go forward in bold confidence, informed, and prepared.
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