Take a break every 8 hours
Take your binder off at least every 8 hours. Binders compress your chest, including your lungs and ribcage, and can affect the muscle and skin of your chest. Give your body a break as often as you can, try and go binder-free a couple of days a week.
Never sleep in your binder
Take your binder off at night. Always. You need to reduce the risk of breathing difficulties in your sleep. You won’t be awake to notice if you begin to struggle for breath. Your skin also needs a break as sweat and dead skin will build up under your binder.
Don’t bind with bandages or tape
Never bind with bandages, tape, or any other home made material. These are not designed to bind with and don’t move with your chest as you breathe. These materials can stop you breathing properly, bruise and squish your ribs, and irritate your skin.
Wear the right size
Do not wear a binder that is too small. It can seriously affect your health. If you’re young and still growing you need to watch out for this. If your binder is too big or loose, never ‘double bind’ with two compression garments as this can cause injury and breathing problems. Get in touch about an exchange to get the right size.
It shouldn’t hurt
Binding can be uncomfortable but it shouldn’t cause pain. If you’re hurting or getting sore, take your binder off and give your body a break. Shortness of breath, red skin, bruising, swelling, or muscular pain are your body telling you to stop. Speak to your GP if you have persistent health concerns and try a larger binder.
Try a sports bra
Sports bras are actually a decent way to compress your chest if it’s medium to small. They are worth trying before binding or on your off days from binding. If possible, you should try a sports bra out for exercising or PE. Binders can cause shortness of breath and pain when exercising so be careful and stop if you can’t catch breath.
More support and tips
gc2b have got you covered for more safety, style tips, and caring for your binder.
Pink News have a super handy video for you on how to safely use a binder.
Ethan from scotTrans talks you through binding as a heavier guy, and has some good tips.
Gender Construction Kit is a volunteer run site with comprehensive info on binding as well as other gender stuff.
Gendered Intelligence have a great guide to gaining the appearance of a flat chest as well as safety tips.
If you are 13-25 and need support with your gender identity, LGBT Youth Scotland provide online support and youth groups.
If you are over 25 then LGBT Health & Wellbeing provide support and social opportunities for LGBT people.