If one thing remains true about my everyday wardrobe, it’s that you’ll always find a simple black hair tie around my wrist. I don’t know when this beauty essential became such a steady part of my look—it doesn’t even come off in the shower, TBH—but I like to be prepared in case I want to pull my hair back at a moment’s notice.
But without fail, after a few hours of wearing my trusty black “bracelet,” I’ll wind up with an indent around my wrist, which makes me wonder if I’m maybe cutting off the supply of blood flow to my hand. On the extreme end of the spectrum, I’ve even woken up with the tell-tale indent on my wrist and some slight tingling in my hand to wonder what’s going on.
To finally figure out what the heck the deal is—and to confirm whether I’m doing something bad to my circulation—I sought a cardiologist’s advice. In the most obvious news: “If you have numbness or tingling in your hand, or it becomes cold and pale, your hair tie on your wrist is probably too tight,” says Suzanne Steinbaum, DO, a volunteer medical expert for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement and director of women’s cardiovascular prevention, health, and wellness at Mount Sinai. She says your hair elastic-related numbness is generally caused by a lack of blood flow. (However, arm and hand numbness can be caused by a number of other factors, too, so it’s worth talking to a doctor if you’re experiencing this on the reg.)
While you’re probably okay if you’re decorating your arm with a plush ’90s-style scrunchie or a loose ribbon tie, you may want to be careful with wearing those wrist-constricting elastic bands every single day. “Elastic is the most concerning when it comes to hair tie materials,” she says. “Elastic can dig into the wrist and prevent blood flow,” explains Dr. Steinbaum, noting that those made out of fabric are less likely to do so.
The thing is, every woman I know—including myself—tends to wear a hair tie around their wrist 24/7. Is that fine to do? “If it’s not too tight, then it is okay to wear it for extended periods,” says Dr. Steinbaum. “If it is too tight, however, it’s important to not wear it for too long.” The indent is an indication that it could be too tight. She advises to take it off while you’re sleeping, and to make sure there’s space between the band and your wrist when you are rocking one.
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