Why It's Finally Time To Ditch Your Skinny Jeans

Skinny jeans peaked in the early '00s and somehow still haven't gone away — yet, that is. Now, if you're a millennial, you might be muttering to yourself something about how we can pry your skinny jeans out of your cold, dead hands. We hate to burst your bubble, dear skinny jean lovers, but with new denim styles constantly coming on the scene  — personally, we're all about straight-leg jeans — it might be time to finally ditch your skinny jeans for good.

Style options aside, did you know that there are actually several medical reasons to let go of your skinnies? Yes, you heard us right. Medical professionals are suggesting that wearing tight jeans too often could actually contribute to certain medical problems. Dr. Axe cites nerve damage, abdominal pain, and joint issues as possible side effects of wearing skinny jeans. You don't need to start panic-purging right away, though! Now, let's dive into the health hazards skinny jeans can cause and go from there. If nothing else, branching out and trying new styles is a great way to expand your personal style horizon a bit.

Skinny jeans can cause fungal infections

If you've ever been sweaty in skinny jeans, you already know where we're going with this one. Skinny jeans trap moisture — any type of moisture — against your skin. Skinny jeans in the summer become an instant sweat factory, and the sweat simply stays there. It's a situation that's uncomfortable at best, and at worst, it can create a great breeding ground for bacteria and fungus.

EMediHealth cautions against regularly wearing tight-fitting jeans because they could cause fungal infections. If you regularly wear (and sweat in) skinny jeans, all that moisture trapped between the pants and your skin or between folds of skin can give way to a nasty fungal infection. Hallmarks of such an infection may include a rash and itching, swollen skin, which are especially not fun when the irritated area is trapped in skinny jeans. Want to mitigate your risk of fungal infection? Avoid skinny jeans when you're facing hot and sweaty weather, and wash yourself (and your jeans) regularly.

Your skinny jeans might give you a yeast infection

Cardi B posted a video on Instagram saying that she drives around without pants on to prevent yeast infections, and though it sounds strange, she's got a point. The vaginal area is a moist breeding ground for bacteria, especially when restricted by tight skinny jeans. If you've never been plagued by the dreaded vaginal yeast infection, we don't envy you. We beg you to count yourself lucky and keep taking preventative measures, including possibly becoming anti-skinnies. 

Vaginal yeast infections are a type of fungal infection that occurs when there's a buildup of yeast in the vaginal area. Some yeast infections can develop into thrush, according to NHS Inform. Thrush can have a variety of symptoms, including pain when urinating or itching in the vaginal area. If you develop a yeast infection, wearing skinny jeans might not have been the only cause; you may also have developed a sensitivity from over-cleaning down there, or maybe you have a generally weak immune system. Regardless of the cause, your skinny jeans definitely won't help the matter. If you're dealing with a yeast infection, we recommend avoiding your favorite skinnies until it's all cleared up — and maybe for good.

Your back pain might be caused by skinny jeans

Ever taken off tight jeans after a long day, only to slouch on the couch and immediately be assaulted by back pain? There's a reason for that, and your postural habits might be less to blame than oh, say, your beloved skinny jeans. 

That's right, your skinny jeans could be contributing to the back pain you loathe being greeted by every evening. Long Island Spine Specialists says that tight clothing restricts your range of motion, which will cause the restricted part of the body to become stiff and other parts to overcompensate. This means if you're a regular skinny jeans wearer, you might notice discomfort in your lower and upper back when you take them off. 

But why? Your lower back (the part restricted by the jeans), will feel stiff from not having moved all day. Meanwhile, your middle/upper back will feel sore from overcompensating, since they were making up for your immobile lower back all day. If you deal with this kind of pain regularly, see if foregoing the skinny jeans for a few days helps relieve it. If so, you might want to make the switch permanent.

Wearing skinny jeans might cause digestive discomfort

Picture this: you're out enjoying a perfectly lovely dinner (in your favorite pair of skinny jeans, of course), and have just devoured some yummy pasta, or steak and potatoes, or whatever your go-to restaurant dinner is. You're in the middle of a post-dinner chat and all of a sudden you're hit by the worst intestinal cramps imaginable. Not again, you're thinking — and in the same pair of pants, too. What a coincidence. Right?

Well, friend, your post-dinner intestinal cramping (that you somehow only experience while wearing your tight jeans) may not be as mysterious as you think. Yes, your skinny jeans could actually be causing your digestive discomfort. Especially if you already have an intestinal issue or digestive problem like IBS, your skinny jeans are definitely not helping. 

Why? Healthline says that your tight clothing could be putting too much pressure on your abdomen and intestines, and could be contributing to your intestinal discomfort. So the next time you go out to eat, consider a looser pair of pants and see if you can make it through the whole evening comfortably. If you can, that's a sign that your tight jeans might be a little too tight in the tummy area, so stick to wearing them for short periods of time or standing-only activities.

Skinny jeans may cause vulva pain

Vulva pain? Yes, vulva pain. If you've never experienced vulva pain before, we don't recommend it. It manifests as external pain in the vaginal area and can feel almost like a tender bruise. Vulva pain can be caused by a variety of factors, like yeast infections or hormonal fluctuations, but the Cleveland Clinic notes that your vulva pain could also be caused by skinny jeans. 

Vulvodynia, aka chronic vulva pain, occurs when a woman experiences external genital pain. If your pain is primarily internal, you may not have vulvodynia — you could be facing a yeast or other fungal infection. However, these infections could develop into vulvodynia when not treated properly. You might also experience bouts of intermittent vulvodynia with no other symptoms if you wear tight pants regularly. Unsure about the cause of your vulvodynia? Switch to looser pants and see if some of your pain goes away. If it does, your skinny jeans could be the culprit.

Skinny jeans could aggravate varicose veins

If you have varicose veins, we don't blame you for trying to cover them up (even keep them contained) with skinny jeans. It makes sense that restricting bulging veins might help them go away, right? Well, unfortunately, that's not the case. In fact, your skinny jeans are probably causing more harm than good when it comes to your varicose veins. 

Wearing skinny jeans won't cause varicose veins, but if you already have them, restricting them in tight skinny jeans can make them feel and appear worse, according to the Center for Vein Restoration. Why? Tight jeans restrict blood flow to your legs, which is likely to increase swelling in your varicose veins. If you want an effective solution to your varicose veins, wear looser-fitting pants with compression socks. Compression socks, though restrictive, are only tight against the vein, and can help promote blood flow through the vein, thus decreasing the appearance (and discomfort) of your varicose veins. In short: if you're troubled by varicose veins, skip the skinny jeans and opt for compression socks instead.

Acid reflux could be caused by skinny jeans

Acid reflux sufferers know, if there's anything they can do to mitigate the symptoms, they do it. The burning sensation in your chest that typically accompanies acid reflux is uncomfortable at worst, painful at best, and to be avoided at all costs, even if that cost is your dear skinny jeans.

That's right, your acid reflux could be caused by spending too much time (especially during mealtime) wrapped in skinny jeans. If you don't normally experience acid reflux but notice it when you're wearing tight pants, it's likely that your skinny jeans are the cause. Everyday Health says this happens because putting too much pressure on the abdominal area can cause stomach acid to get pushed back up through your esophagus, which will then give way to acid reflux symptoms. If you already regularly experience acid reflux, we recommend avoiding tight pants around mealtimes; if you don't and notice any symptoms suddenly appearing while wearing your favorite skinnies, they just may be the cause.

Skinny jeans could damage your nerves

In 2015, an Australian woman wound up in the hospital after spending a day helping a friend move, reported NPR. She found herself unable to walk home due to numbness in her legs and feet. Doctors later determined that the cause of her symptoms was, yes, the skinny jeans she had been squatting in all day, which had even caused some muscle damage in her calves. 

Yes, this is an extreme example of the adverse effects of skinny jeans, but it's not to be discounted. In fact, Denver South Chiropractic and Rehab says that nerve damage caused by wearing skinny jeans is a very real possibility. Meralgia paresthetica, aka "skinny pant syndrome," happens when tight pants cause damage to the nerves in your legs. The result could be numbness and tingling, but in severe cases, it could be life-threatening. If you notice the beginning signs of numbness or tingling in your legs while wearing skinny jeans, we recommend swapping them for looser pants pronto.

Wearing skinny jeans may damage your muscles

Sure, your skinny jeans may be "supportive," but are they too supportive? Skinny jeans that hold everything in might make you look great, but they could also cause muscle damage, especially if you wear them often and are frequently inactive. Why? Well, for your muscles to grow stronger, they have to work, and skinny jeans encourage your muscles not to work as hard.

Physiotherapist Sammy Margo told The Guardian that skinny jeans "[h]old in and support the quadriceps (thigh muscles), buttocks and core muscles in your tummy, and do the job the muscles are supposed to do." This lets your muscles rest a little too much, even during inactivity. When you wear skinny jeans often, especially through the winter, you may notice that you're not as toned as you used to be when you finally peel them off to prepare for warmer weather. You may not even have experienced significant weight gain; it could just be that you've lost some muscle definition because of your skinny jeans. Mitigate how often you wear them to make sure you don't lose too much muscle mass and, of course, make sure to get some exercise in when you aren't wearing them.

Skinny jeans only offer your body one silhouette

Sure, you can wear skinny jeans with a variety of tops (tight or loose) but when it comes to creating a flattering silhouette, you'll be pretty limited if you reach for your skinny jeans day after day. Because skinny jeans stay tight against your skin, they can really only fit you one way, so you can't create illusions as well as you can when you mix up your style of bottoms. 

To create a balanced look with your favorite pair of skinny jeans, you'll probably find yourself reaching for loose-fitting, flowy blouses on a regular basis. Switching up your style of pants is a great way to balance the proportions of your body differently and will allow you to wear a greater variety of clothing and achieve more looks than if you just stuck to your skinnies (pun intended). For example, you could opt to style baggy jeans with a more form-fitting top and a cropped jacket, which will give you a completely different silhouette than skinny jeans and a blouse would. Neither is bad, but variety is the spice of life, as they say — so why not switch it up a bit?

Skinny jeans really aren't that comfortable

Can we all just agree that skinny jeans really aren't the most comfortable option out there? Especially when you have to sit in them for extended periods of time. If you've ever found yourself fidgeting while sitting at a restaurant, or if you have that pair of jeans that you call your "standing jeans" and only wear when you know you definitely won't be sitting, it might be time to shop for new styles. 

Lucky for all of us, we're no longer in the '00s when skinny jeans were the only option if you wanted to be considered even remotely fashionable. We're in the era of styles galore, and this will only serve you in your search for skinny alternatives. If you're new to the non-skinny-jean world, you might want to ease yourself in by opting for a pair of straight-leg jeans. They're form-fitting enough that you won't feel like you're swimming in your pants, but they aren't nearly as restrictive as skinny jeans. You could also opt for flare-legged jeans if you want to go full groovy '70s or a pair of cigarette pants if the French girl style is more your vibe.

Your self confidence could be impacted by skinny jeans

If you live in your skinny jeans, you're likely to notice your body image more on a daily basis. Even the tiniest bit of weight gain will probably be felt the next time you try to zip them up. Now, noticing your body definitely isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if that's triggering for you or you've struggled with body image issues in the past, you may want to find a new style. Looser jeans are more forgiving with weight fluctuations and bloating — not to mention being more comfortable than your skinny jeans. 

Also, if you're holding on to too-tight skinny jeans in the hopes that one day they'll fit again, we're here to give you the final push to let them go and love the body you're in. More than one-third of women are still holding onto clothes that are too small for them. If you've had the same pair of skinny in a drawer for years to motivate you to lose weight, it may be time to let them go. Enjoy dressing the body you have without wishing it was different. Your body is lovely, and you are lovely in it.

Reasons to ditch your skinny jeans

So, why should you ditch your skinny jeans? There are more reasons to ditch them than to keep them, in our opinion. From yeast and other fungal infections to acid reflux, heartburn, nerve damage, and body image issues, skinny jeans really might be causing you more harm than good. 

Besides, skinny jeans have already been done over and over again, so why not try some other denim trends? Denim maxi skirts are back (we're a little shocked, but we'll take it), and denim-on-denim is making a comeback, too. A fitted denim vest with baggy denim jeans? Chic. Flared jeans are back and better than ever, too, and you could grab a patterned pair if you really want to stand out. Most importantly, wear what you feel comfortable in. If that's skinny jeans, we won't judge, but we do recommend switching it up regularly for both stylistic and health reasons. Your body will thank you.