Do Breast Firming Creams Really Work? Yes And No.

I tried several products and had a dermatologist weigh in on keeping your melons as juicy as possible.
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Wendy
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I tried several products and had a dermatologist weigh in on keeping your melons as juicy as possible.

I often receive Facebook messages, tweets, or even texts, asking me for advice on pressing beauty matters. "What's the best way to get rid of under-eye circles?" queried one person last week, and "Do you recommend any antiperspirants for the face?" asked another. I usually answer to the best of my ability, or redirect to an appropriate source.

Last month, however, I received a note from a girlfriend asking me about the efficacy of breast firming creams. 

I've heard of such creams before, but always assumed they were overhyped products that provided a placebo affect for anyone who claimed they actually worked. As a 29-year-old woman with (large) breasts, though, my curiosity was piqued and I wanted to do a little investigating.

urkel surprised gif

We're going on a research expedition, and the answers may surprise you. (GIF via)

My first move: have breast firming products shipped to my door ASAP. 

Over the course of about a month, I tried several different products, pictured below.

Left to right: Lush Lovely Jubblies, intended specifically for the breasts and smells quite nice; REN Instant Firming Shot, which "instantly firms, lifts and plumps the skin" via a "liquid matrix of Hyaluronans" and can be applied anywhere, though specifically for the face (was worth a shot on the boobs); Phytomer Remodele Tonic Body Gel, intended for full body use and promises to tighten; and Wei Ginkgo Leaf Repairing Decolletage Treatment Pads.

Left to right: Lush Lovely Jubblies, intended specifically for the breasts and smells quite nice; REN Instant Firming Shot, which "instantly firms, lifts and plumps the skin" via a "liquid matrix of Hyaluronans" and can be applied anywhere, though specifically for the face (was worth a shot on the boobs); Phytomer Remodele Tonic Body Gel, intended for full body use and promises to tighten; and Wei Ginkgo Leaf Repairing Decolletage Treatment Pads.

I gave each product a fair shake, using them for a minimum of a week to let them work their magic before making any assumptions. 

I can confirm that each product did provide a very--and I mean extremely mild--firming effect, but this was not long lasting. 

The results were so subtle that nobody else could have ever noticed. To be fair, I did have softer breasts that were gently fragranced, so that's always nice.

Brief trials aside, I wondered if prolonged use would make more of a difference. 

I continued using the products, but also scheduled an interview with Dr. Neal Schultz, a NYC-based dermatologist, founder of DermTV.com, and creator of BeautyRX.

Cantaloupe! 

Cantaloupe! 

Before we confronted the dubious claims of breast firming creams, Dr. Shultz went into the characteristics of skin--breast skin in particular. 

"If you take a paperclip and bend it back and forth a few times, what happens?" he asked me. "Well, it eventually breaks," I replied. "Exactly. If you stress your skin, if you fold your skin or crease your skin, it's like repeatedly folding your collagen, and ultimately it breaks."

The very nature of existing as a woman with breasts means that your breast skin will fold or crease. Additionally, gravity naturally pulls your breasts downward, very slowly causing skin to stretch out. Naturally, the larger your breasts are, the heavier they are, and the more they will sag over time. This is a fact of life, so you might as well accept it, my fellow big-boobed comrades.

Things that expedite wrinkling and decreased firmness:

  • Exercising without the assistance of a supportive bra.
  • Wearing unsupportive bras in general, especially those that allow for a lot of breast movement throughout the day.
  • Being vertical and not wearing a bra.
  • Wearing push-up bras, which distort the natural fall of your breast, pushes them upward, and creases the skin.
  • Sleeping without a bra on (Note that Dr. Schultz doesn't recommend wearing bras to bed unless you feel comfortable doing so. Sans-bra, sleeping on your back will create the least amount of creasing and folding. His words: "You can only go so far without affecting the quality of your life. Do what is most comfortable to you.")
  • Pregnancy, which Dr. Schultz calls the "ultimate un-firmer to your breasts." This is because everything gets stretched out very suddenly, even more so than with a simple weight gain since the mammary glands also increase).
  • Sudden weight gain and loss.

"Very often, when we end up replacing underwear, it's not that that they have holes in them," explained Dr. Schultz. "It's the elastic that wears out. The elastic in your underwear is like the elasticity in your skin in that it has a finite number of stretches before it gets tired."

friends joey boobs gif

All boobs = thumbs up. (GIF via)

Preventing Breast Sagging/Wrinkles

You've probably noticed a theme here: keep your breasts supported. The best way to do this is with a well-made bra that fits you perfectly.

Now, I'm not going to majorly bravangelize you right now, but I will say the following about bras: the gore should be tacked, your breasts should never spill out, you should never have to readjust your breasts during the day, and your band should never rise up your back. That goes for everyday bras, plunge bras, demi bras, corset bras, and sports bras. 

Wearing an excellent bra as often as you can is Dr. Schultz's number one tip for keeping your bazoombas in top-top shape (he didn't call them bazoombas). Outside of that, wearing sunscreen is another highly effective step you can take, especially where décollatage is concerned.

"Sunscreen is always going to help prevent wrinkling," he says, adding that UV damage encourages wrinkling of thinner skin in particular. The skin on your chest and breasts is very thin, so be wary of this area, and "do not go anywhere near a tanning booth."

Bust Firming Claims, Explored

Claim #1: You Can Do Certain Exercises To Firm Your Bust

"The only thing exercise can do is increase the size of the pectoral muscle," explains Dr. Schultz. "Doing this will then decrease the appearance of some lines by adding more volume, but at the same time, you're stretching the skin more because there's more volume underneath."

Basically, while you're building muscle and decreasing the appearance of some lines, you're also creating more lines due to added stress around the bust. In a way, everything kind of evens out.

"I can't tell you which factor is going to win," he says, "but unless you're a body builder, you're not going to make enough muscle to make a real difference."

show me boobs gif

Show me boobs! I think everyone can agree that boobs are nice. (GIF via)

Claim #2: Topical Products Can Result in Firmer Breasts

I was curious to hear Dr. Schultz's opinion on bust firming creams, and he was curious about my experience using them, as well. I relayed my findings, and then asked him if--and how--these creams live up to their promises.

"There are only two mechanisms that will account for visibly increased firming," he began. "Moisturizing, and the phenomenon of tensing."

Moisturizing skin anywhere on your body will inevitably cause a slight plumping effect, including the skin on your breasts. This is because you're restoring moisture to the area. Tensing is caused by chemicals or ingredients "that almost form a lattice when you put them on the skin," he continued. "As [the product] dries, the molecules contract, so they cause a certain tensing or firming until the stuff gets washed off, you sweat, or put additional moisturizer on."

"If your goal is to have an exposed part of your cleavage look better for your date or your evening, you may get some meaningful, but temporary, improvement," says Dr. Schultz. 

Ultimately, breast creams can cause a very subtle firming effect, but you simply will not find sustained firming.

"If your goal is to have an exposed part of your cleavage look better for your date or your evening, you may get some meaningful, but temporary, improvement," says Dr. Schultz.  

WEI's Repairing Decolletage Treatment pad, which fits perfectly atop your cleavage. My skin was certainly softer and more luminous looking after use. I'm a big fan of WEI products, in general.

WEI's Repairing Decolletage Treatment pad, which fits perfectly atop your cleavage. My skin was certainly softer and more luminous looking after use. I'm a big fan of WEI products, in general.

In the end, the only way to permanently alter the contour of your breasts is to have surgery. This is a mechanical solution that essentially involves re-suspending them (very costly). You can also employ the use of non-ablative resurfacing to improve skin texture and reduce fine lines, stretch marks, or wrinkles. This isn't as costly, but you're not going to notice a difference in contour, only skin texture.

"We've gotten to this point in society where we think we can change everything," says Dr. Schultz. "We simply can't."

As you age, your breasts will change, and this is simply a fact of life. Do what you can to take care of your body and your skin (wear a good bra, use sunscreen, be kind to yourself), but don't get too caught up in perfection. Your boobies are really nice the way they are, OK?

Your boobs are real nice. (GIF via)

Your boobs are real nice. (GIF via)

  • Any thoughts on bras? What's your favorite brand?
  • Have you tried any firming creams? 
  • Can we share funny boob GIFs?
  • What's your favorite slang word for boobs?