Fashion victims: The potential dangers

By The Independent, Annemarie Quill

So, that emo fringe could be affecting your eyesight, but it's hardly the first style fad to leave a trail of harm.

It is a must-have hairdo for emo kids everywhere. So, news that their trendy coiffure, rather than having fringe benefits, could, in fact, damage their eyesight, made headlines across the globe.

Leading optometrist Andrew Hogan last month claimed that sporting a side fringe - also favoured by celebrities such as Rihanna - could give you a lazy eye. "If a young emo chap has a fringe covering one eye all the time, that eye won't see a lot of detail," he told the Australian Daily Telegraph. "And if it happens from a young age, that eye can become amblyopic."

Other experts dismissed his claims, leaving heavy fringe fans sighing in relief.

However, this is just the latest episode to question the health price we pay to look good. Just last month, Christian Louboutin, he of the red lacquer-soled shoes, admitted he had little sympathy for people who struggled to walk in his towering creations. "High heels are pleasure with pain," he declared.

So, what are the potential dangers of being a dedicated follower of fashion?

Heavy handbags: A proper door stopper

Big bag ladies like Nicole Ritchie could run a weighty risk in the name of fashion. Some bags are so large "they can get stuck in revolving doors", the American Chiropractic Association suggests. It warns they can cause shoulder and neck pain, and headaches.

High heels: Posh's bunion burner

All that tottering can cause painful bunions: see stiletto poster-girl Victoria Beckham. Researchers in Australia have found regular wear shortens fibres in calf muscles in women and can change the position of joints and muscles in the feet.

Slimming pants: Hold tight to your tummy

From Oprah Winfrey to Selena Gomez, women reach for contour-forming knickers for a big night out. As well as cinching in the tummy, control underwear can cause heartburn, panic attacks, backache and incontinence, and aggravate reflux and irritable bowel.

Tattoos: Etched in pain

For Angelina Jolie, a tattoo follows "self-discovery". For the rest of us, it follows pain under the needle. The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health warns it carries the risk of infection from HIV and hepatitis, and skin conditions such as scarring and lumps.

Body piercings: Prince Albert's legacy

Risks: infections, blood poisoning, toxic shock, bleeding, swelling, scarring ... and, specifically, speech impediments and chipped teeth for pierced tongues. Genitals? Sex and urination could be "difficult and painful". Something for guys to bear in mind before choosing a Prince Albert.

Ties: Too tight around the neck

Men, it seems, need to loosen up. Or pay the price. According to a Cornell University study, 67 per cent wear shirts that are too tight. Tight ties can result in headaches, blurred vision and tension.

Skinny jeans: Close to the nerve

Tight trousers are a definite style statement. But they increase the risk of a condition called meralgia paresthetica, compression of the nerve running from the pelvis into the outer thigh, according to the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Jewellery :The price of a rash choice

Wherever you shop, accessories can make or break an outfit. Pick the wrong material and your fashion statement could be an itchy rash: nickel allergy affects 30 per cent of us.

But Bay plastic surgeon Adam Bialostocki says, "I can't say I've seen this from clothing, only from trauma or plaster casts. You would have to wear pretty tight clothing for hours, ignoring your body's cries for help. There are a few spots where sensory or motor nerves are very superficial and are susceptible to external pressure. We usually think of casts, etc, causing those, but I guess tight pants and / or boots could put pressure on the upper outer aspect of the lower leg causing a foot drop (inability to lift the toes), and pressure further down above the front of the ankle, could cause numbness in the webspaces of the toes."

Rodelle Payne, owner of Sisters Boutique, is not worried : "I am a big fan of skinny jeans and like to squeeze into one size down so they remain skinny. The end result of this is looking one to two kg lighter (fabulous!) but having to peel them off at the end of the day and being left with a jean imprint. I also do suffer from that dreaded 'muffin top' but nothing a loose top won't cover!"



- Bay of Plenty Times

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