Could your high-fashion belt be damaging your health?

Everybody wants to keep healthy: we do yoga, work out and meditate for our own wellbeing and set goals, but then some unexpected back or spine pain makes us miss a run or not perform our best. Can’t really find the reason? It might be the time to take a look at your favourite belt.

High fashion belts are actually one the most used accessories; it’s probably fair to say most of us wear ours without thinking it might interfere with our health missions. But they absolutely can. Here’s how your belt collection could harm you if it’s the wrong size or made the wrong way…

Point 1: why your high fashion belt size literally matters!

Wearing a belt that’s too tight not only cheapens your look, but can cause huge discomfort and put your health on the line. Some of the most common health risks are:

1. Acid reflux (heartburn)

If you ever felt a burning sensation in the chest and throat, and a bitter, acidic taste in your mouth, this might’ve been heartburn. Tight belts put pressure on the stomach and cause acid to go back into your throat.

2. Abdominal aches

We’re not talking about the good ab-ache you get from a workout, but the annoying abdominal pain that keeps you away from your normal day. Most of us try to improve our diets to give a boost to a slow metabolism. But all your efforts might be in vain if you sport a tight belt every day, as it can disturb the digestive flow, slowing down the whole process. Pressure makes it very difficult for gas and food to move down. This often leads to slow metabolism, bloating, pain and constipation.

3. Lower back and spinal pain

Research has also shown that increased pressure in the abdomen can cause stiffness in the spine and stress on the back. If the belt is worn too tight and low riding, it causes nerve compression in the back.

4. Leg tingling and numbness

Besides being fairly uncomfortable (especially after a big meal), a tight belt can also cause burning pain, numbness, sensitivity at a light touch and tingling in the legs. This condition is known as meralgia parenthetic. The cause is the unhealthy amount of pressure applied on a nerve which runs from the abdomen to the lower outer thigh.

5. Immune system damage

Constant pressure on your abdomen can complicate the immune system’s normal way of functioning. Blood vessels below the belly button take care of the lymphatic drainage. If the belt sits too tight on the waist, it slows down the lymph flow, which then directly interferes with the immune system.

 

The solution to all these problems is very simple: buy a proper sized belt, eat smaller meals or remember that after every meal, the stomach needs to be relaxed, not squeezed.

 

Point 2: why what touches your skin matters

Basic things like the manufacturing process, the materials used and the buckle type, play a very important role in avoiding getting rashes and other allergic reactions. Poor quality belt buckles, cheap fake leather substitutes and chemically treated fabrics can cause allergic reactions.

1. Allergies to metal belt buckles

Lots of people experience small rashes when wearing belts that have big buckles. This is known as a belt buckle rash and takes place when the skin is allergic to certain metal alloys that contain nickel. Nickel is amongst the most common causes for allergic contact dermatitis and unfortunately is commonly used in the production of cheap belt buckles.

2.Fabric chemicals

If you don’t know where and how your belt was produced, you might be experiencing exposure to belts who have been chemically treated or produced with cheap leather substitutes. It is best to always check where and how the belt was produces in order to avoid exposure with allergic materials. Always find out what is the type of material used in the manufacturing process. A report from Greenpeace detailed the toxic chemicals used in clothes from fast fashion chains.

 

The solution: Avoid these health risks by taking some elementary precaution measures, the simplest being: loosen up and get a proper size from local manufacturers! For allergies problems, buy locally-sourced accessories and seek out manufacturers whose production practices are transparent. Try to avoid metals that aren’t hypoallergenic and can harm your skin. Belts without nickel in their buckles are worth looking up.

 

TIP: Try Belts from OZ, a local family owned business from Melbourne that makes genuine leather belts and dog collars using only Australian or Italian leather.