Yes, those skinny jeans are out to get you

28 June 2015 - 02:04 By GABI MBELE and CLAIRE KEETON


Skinny jeans can make you weak at the knees - and they are not the only fashion items hazardous to your health. Bra straps, high heels, jewellery, hair dye, handbags and piercings can be even more dangerous.This week it was reported that an Australian woman was admitted to hospital after repeated squatting in her skinny jeans caused swelling and cut blood flow to her legs. She recovered after four days of rehydration.The case was reported in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, which said prolonged squatting in tight jeans could damage muscle and nerve fibres, leading to numbness and swelling.mini_story_image_vleft1But dressing to kill does not end there.Durban chiropractor Kyle Deutschmann said high heels, tight clothes and heavy bags came with complications.His practice often had "female patients with tension headaches that have been caused by bra straps".Cape Town orthopaedic surgeon Dr Peter Smith said women often put fashion ahead of health."Women would rather carry on with bunions or knee problems than give their shoes away," he said.He estimates that 30% of his foot surgery on female patients is linked to the wrong shoes.Bunions, toe deformities and pain are the most common problems he sees from tight-fitting shoes and high heels.Smith warned: "High heels keep the knees in a flexed position and women can get knee-cap pain, tendonitis, ligament problems and discomfort going up and down stairs, kneeling and squatting." Zaziwa presenter Pearl Modiadie, who is competing on the celebrity show Strictly Come Dancing , said she was "living on painkillers" because many years of wearing high heels had given her a weak ankle.mini_story_image_hleft2"Heels maketh the outfit and I would never be caught wearing flats at functions because they just don't do anything for my outfits," she said."Lately my ankles are swollen and so painful because I am dancing in heels for the competition, but we have to suffer for beauty."Modiadie admitted that most of her denims were skinny jeans because they were "flattering" on her.Top Billing presenter Roxy Burger said: "I've had an old pair of skinny jeans tear right near the crotch. They were my favourite pair, so I wore them a lot."I generally like to wear high-waisted jeans to avoid the muffin-top situation; I'm not about that baking life."Socialite and TV personality Khanyi Mbau knows how tricky it can be to get the right fit."We black girls have big calves, bigger bums and chunky thighs, so I always go for stretch jeans because sometimes the ones that don't stretch can be so tight on the thighs, which can leave you with a numb sensation," she said.mini_story_image_hright3Some reports say cheap jewellery, often aimed at young buyers, may contain high levels of the toxic metal cadmium.This has replaced lead in many items, but it is also potentially dangerous and can cause cancer.A US study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspective found that children's jewellery containing cadmium was not safe if it was scratched, damaged or swallowed. Lead has found its way into handbags, according to another study by the Centre for Environmental Health.The centre tested 100 handbags from leading stores such as Macy's and Walmart in the US and found the bags had 30 to 100 times the recommended federal limit for lead in consumer goods.Closer to the bone, studies have shown that piercings can lead to infections, allergies and scarring, particularly if sterile procedures are not followed.mini_story_image_hright4Cape Town dermatologist Dr Suretha Kannenberg said infection was the main risk."Even worse is the possibility that the infection may spread into the blood stream and lead to septic shock and even death."Permanent hair dye was linked to "eczema, redness, blistering, and itching of the scalp, face and throat", according to a Norwegian report.A 2001 California study linked regular use of permanent hair dye to bladder cancer.However, none of the hair-dye studies are regarded as conclusive.mbeleg@sundaytimes.co.zakeetonc@sundaytimes.co.za

This article is reserved for Sunday Times subscribers.

A subscription gives you full digital access to all Sunday Times content.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Registered on the BusinessLIVE, Business Day or Financial Mail websites? Sign in with the same details.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@timeslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.