All the dangers that the use of binders can generate

Binders allow many people to express themselves more authentically, allowing for a greater sense of gender or body congruence and confidence in one’s appearance.

These benefits can improve self-esteem and identity assertion while helping to control chest dysphoria, which is the distress someone experiences in relation to the chest. When deciding whether chest binding is appropriate, it is important to consider both the positive results and the potential risks.

What is?

Chest girdle, also known as binder, refers to the process of compressing or minimizing chest tissue to create the appearance of a flatter chest.

Although chest binding may be a more common practice among transgender, nonbinary, and androgynous people, the decision to bind the chest does not actually indicate or determine identity. The chest bandage is for anyone who wants to flatten or minimize the appearance of their chest, either on an occasional or regular basis.

People strap their chests for many reasons. Among the most common are:

  • Hide or minimize the chest for a flatter appearance
  • Manage gender dysphoria, including chest dysphoria and social dysphoria
  • support mental health
  • Drag, role play or cosplay
  • Affirm gender identity or expression
  • aesthetic preference
  • Fit into clothing designed for “men” more easily
  • Being perceived as masculine or a man


There are several methods that a person can use to flatten the chest. The method you choose may depend on your breast size, budget, comfort level, and body type.


Binders are tight garments that people wear under their clothes. They are to compress the chest tissue. Binders are the safest and most recommended way for a person to bind their chest.

They are available in different sizes and varieties. Some cover just the chest, while others are torso-length and also compress the hips.

sports bras

People can also wear sports bras as chest binders. Sports bras with higher Lycra content are more effective at compressing the chest than other bras.

However, there is conflicting information about whether a person should wear multiple sports bras or not. Comfort is important when someone is bandaging their chest; a person should always keep their safety in mind. If a person feels pain or discomfort during the bandage or experiences shortness of breath, they should remove the sports bra or bandage and find an alternative.

layers of clothing

We may find that wearing multiple layers of clothing helps the chest look flatter. They can start by wearing a fitted shirt, followed by layers of looser clothing.

However, people should be careful when using this method as they could overheat if they wear too many layers.

compression sports shirts

Athletes wear compression shirts made up of Spandex or Lycra to help with muscle recovery. Anyone can also wear these shirts to make the chest appear flatter. This method generally works best for people with small amounts of chest tissue.

kinetic tape

Although some people use kinetic tape to flatten the chest, this practice is not safe and is discouraged by health professionals. Kinetic tape is a type of elastic sports tape that people use to support their joints and muscles. However, manufacturers do not design it for chest compression.

Using kinetic tape to bind can restrict a person’s breathing, and LGBTQIA+ healthcare specialists recommend against using it.

binders faja de pecho

What size to choose?

To measure the chest for a girdle or compression top, we will use a flexible tape measure. If we don’t have one, we can use a string and measure the length of the string with a ruler.

First, we will place the flexible tape measure or string against the bare chest and wrap it all the way around. Then we will take note of the following measures:

  • Below the armpit, where the chest tissue begins
  • Largest or widest point on the chest
  • Under the breast tissue, where a bra band might sit

Next, we will measure the distance between the shoulders, point to point (instead of going around). After taking these measurements, we will compare it to what we see in the manufacturer’s size chart. Pay special attention to the measurement that reflects the widest point of the chest. This is usually the measurement that “chest size” refers to.

If the measurements fall between the sizes in the size chart, we will go with the larger size.

Can it be used all day?

The leading study on chest binding and health outcomes in adults showed that frequent binding for longer is associated with an increased risk of chest binding-related health problems. If you feel more confident in your body and appearance when wearing a binder, it can be tempting to wear it as much as possible. Unfortunately, there are times when chest binding is not recommended and should be avoided.

Wearing a full or high compression garment while playing sports or exercising is generally not recommended. The binder can inhibit deep breathing, mobility, and perspiration associated with physical exertion.

From a physical health standpoint, wearing a sports shirt or garment with lighter compression is often the safest option during physical activity.


There are known emotional benefits and physical risks associated with chest binding or the use of binders. But there is currently no long-term research on the ways binder use can affect the body, gender dysphoria, self-esteem, or general mental health.

The most notable study on binders drew data from an online survey of 1,800 participants, where 79.5 percent identified as transgender. According to the data from this survey, 97.2 percent of people reported at least one negative result related to the chest bandage.

The most commonly reported side effects are:

  • Back pain
  • excessive heating
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Itch
  • poor posture
  • Shoulder pain

People with larger breasts were more likely to report skin problems such as tenderness, tissue changes, itchiness, or acne.

Despite these negative physical results, those who decide that the binder is right for them report an increase in self-esteem,
decreased gender dysphoria, anxiety, and suicidal feelings. An important finding not always included in community resources shows that commercial binders are the method most often associated with negative physical outcomes.

The methods associated with the fewest negative side effects are layering shirts and wearing sports shirts or neoprene compression garments.

Tips for binders

Everyone bonds differently, the trick is to figure out what’s best and safest for you.

Limit the amount of time it is used

Don’t wear binders for more than 8-12 hours and don’t sleep while wearing your binder. It’s also crucial to schedule daily breaks and make sure you’re not tying up every day. People who bandage their breasts more often, such as every day, are more likely to experience negative side effects (2,4).

Avoid tying while exercising

While physical movement can exacerbate dysphoria for some people, exercise is when you need to breathe deeply, move freely, and are most likely to be sweating. If you still want to flatten your chest while working out, look for a sports bra that has this effect.

suitable size

If you want to use a business binder, take the time to make sure you’re buying the right size and that it fits you. When shopping for a business binder, do some research to find the perfect binder for you, and read customer reviews to get an idea of sizing accuracy. Try not to buy one that is too tight: if it causes pain, cuts/trauma, or restricts your breathing, then you need to go up a size or two. A folder should breathe normally and allow air to circulate (look for breathable fabrics). Moist, sticky, and sweaty skin conditions provide the perfect environment for skin rashes and fungal infections (4).

Do not bind with plastic wrap, tape or bandages

These are associated with an increase in negative symptoms. Adhesive tape can damage your skin, and bandages can tighten as you move. You may be in a hurry to start binding or lack the resources to buy a commercial binder, but it’s not worth risking your health. Sports bras, layering shirts, or wearing neoprene compression or athletic wear are the options associated with the fewest negative side effects (2).

Tie less if we are going to have superior surgery

If you plan to have upper surgery (a procedure to reduce or remove breast tissue), it is best not to bandage as often, as this can affect the elasticity of the skin and have surgical impacts (4,5). Some FtM (transgender female-to-male) mastectomy researchers feel that long-term bonding can cause a decrease in skin quality, specifically elasticity, which can actually make performing a mastectomy more complex (5 ).

listen to the body

If you feel pain or have any difficulty breathing, remove your girdle (or other restrictive garment). Maybe what you were wearing was too tight, or you’ve been strapping yourself in too long without a break. You may be tempted to strap all the time if it has a positive impact on your dysphoria or mental health, but it’s critical that you take care of your body in the process.

Much more research is needed on the health and needs of transgender men, non-binary people, and gender-fluid people. These populations have different health care needs and everyone deserves access to appropriate and personalized health care.