Can Shapewear Reshape Your Body Permanently?

 by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.

I’m a fitness advocate with a holistic approach to health, wellness, and longevity. I’ve walked the walk since 2009 - using my personal development methods to unleash the fitness champ within you.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Celestial
Reviewed by Rhealyn Celestial

I’m a researcher, and I’m also a full-time mom. I spend my weekdays crafting thoughtful articles for small businesses, and my weekends with my son learning about the world together

Shapewear is now a hot topic of conversation, but perhaps the most frequently asked question is: Can shapewear reshape your body permanently?

It might take a lot of physical, mental, and emotional effort to maintain a flat stomach over time. We all want to look and feel our best, whether donning postpartum jeans, skirts, dresses, or leggings. Shapewear has been popular among men and women to achieve the ideal body. The outcome is that those troublesome regions are reduced in size by a few inches, giving your clothing a more appealing appearance.

Body reshaping using shapewear is not a permanent process. It does not resemble or function as a corset; instead, it is made to constrict and slim using compression clothes. It’s crucial to realize that there are other factors at play in permanently flattening your tummy in addition to shapewear. 

What Is Shapewear?

Shapewear is a category of elastic undergarments that squeeze and compact a specific body part and help you acquire a more excellent appearance. The main goals of body shapers are to reinforce, accentuate, and thin the core, lower back, thighs and hips.

Shapewear is manufactured from stretchy but non-rigid material, including nylon or polyester. Additionally, it is composed of flexible spandex to provide breathability since a tight-fitting garment would lead you to sweat more than a loose-fitting one.

What Is the Purpose of Shapewear?

Note that the answer to “does wearing shapewear help tighten skin” is no. Compression is the main function of shapewear. But what problem do you hope to alleviate with a shapewear’s compression? Body shapers come in a variety of designs that offer various options.

side view of a fit woman wearing black top

a) Tummy Control

A shapewear or the best underwear for big tummy control compresses your lower abdomen and streamlines your midsection. It is an excellent option if your goal is reducing the size of your belly.

You can stride out in style by having them typically flatter your stomach and tighten your hips. They are made of a thin fabric that is barely perceptible when worn.

b) Posture Restoration and Lumbar Support

You don’t need to constantly remind everyone that you’re a confident lady since your posture oozes it.

Additionally, correct posture can lessen or even eliminate backache. This is something to keep in mind when exercising or if your job requires you to sit behind a workstation non-stop.

c) Overall Body Shaping

There is nothing strange with wanting to look good in a bodycon for a particular occasion. However, whole-body high-compression shapewear will assist you in flattening out any lumpy regions. So, the answer to the question “do shapewear work?” is yes. They contribute by accentuating your physique.

They go with everything, including jeans, skirts, dresses, pants, and shorts, and they are ideal for sustaining an hourglass figure throughout the year.

What Sets Shapewear Apart from a Waist Trainer?

To understand the difference between shapewear and waist trainers, first, seek the answer to “how does shapewear work?” Shapewear is intended to shrink and re-curve your figure, but it shouldn’t squeeze, chafe, or hurt.

slim woman wearing bodysuit and socks

Body shapers are typically used to cover minor faults and sculpt the body, allowing you to slide into your desired bodycon dress or outfit.

Although shapewear can’t change how your body looks permanently, it has its uses since you can use it all day long without experiencing any distress. Shapewear with high compression will also stabilize the back and improve your alignment.

Contrarily, waist trainers are the real deal regarding weight loss and long-term body reshaping. They are likewise made of tight, elastic materials like lycra, nylon, or neoprene. However, the fiber is solid.

Additional reinforcements for the product include Velcro, hook and eye closures, or boning. They aid in increasing your sweat production and belly fat burning while you exercise by at least two times.

However, the rigidity of a waist trainer can impair normal breathing, digestion, and bodily fluid movement. In light of this, you are advised as a beginner to limit your undergarment use to at least three hours. Even once you become used to wearing one, you shouldn’t use it for longer than eight hours straight.

This implies that using a steel-boned corset or an aggressive waist trainer might permanently alter your body’s shape, either for the better or worse.

Long-term use of these garments may cause the kidneys and liver, among other soft tissues, to move unnaturally. As you strive to achieve the coveted hourglass body form, they may also cause your ribs to break.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Shapewear

A waist trainer or cincher is the ideal shapewear option to contour your physique. So, can a faja shape your body without surgery? Yes.

But first, there are several recommendations to heed for a long-lasting outcome. It is best to shape and stick by the following rules to avoid the side effects of wearing shapewear:

Choose the Right Size

Always take a body measurement and compare it to a sizing chart. Typically, the circumference right below your lower stomach and around your lower back are measured to establish your shapewear size.

woman in black cropped top measuring her waist with tape measure

You can then determine whether you are an X-small, small, medium, or XL. Even more so, if you’re purchasing online, you should validate the shapewear sizing guide with a brand’s marketer or manufacturer. Additionally, your breast’s breasts will determine the size of an underwire camisole shapewear with a built-in bra.

Use Shapewear with High Compression for a Short Period

Light and moderate compression shapewear are comfortable to wear all day, daily. However, to avoid adverse effects, specialists advise you to wear very constraining shapewear for no more than eight hours daily.

Take time to get acclimated to your new body-shaping garment, and slowly raise the number of hours you wear it. Following a week or so, if your new shapewear still causes you agony or discomfort, it’s probably not the proper size.

When choosing a shapewear fit, go with the bigger size when you’re a newcomer and your size falls between two sizes. Your silhouette will be beautifully smoothed and shaped while being more secure and comfortable.

Don’t Neglect a Healthy Diet or Forgo Exercise

The only long-term methods for sustaining your target body weight and form are regular exercise and a nutritious diet. Shapewear will only support this quest.

Hydrate Regularly

Ensure you drink enough water and adjust your fluid intake to your physical activity. You’ll sweat significantly when using waist trainers, so consume lots of fluids. 

Do Shapewear Move Internal Organs?

One misunderstanding is that internal organs can move and be displaced by shapewear. Although this seems a little scary, it’s more of a fallacy. 

This painful-sounding myth comes from accounts of people who have worn steel-boned undergarments or excessive waist trainers. We caution against using these radical devices and suggest altering your body gradually and gently. Avoid using an extra-firm compression waist trainer for more than eight hours. 

Does Shapewear Affect Digestion?

Many people now consider shapewear to be a necessary garment. It is OK to wear a pair of these sleeker garments occasionally, but wearing shapewear frequently can have serious health consequences.

woman with a healthy meal on the table

Body-conforming apparel places excessive pressure on the stomach, which can lead to foodstuff and acids ascending through the esophagus. It presses the colon, stomach, and intestines, worsening heartburn and acid reflux.

Shapewear places pressure on the stomach, interfering with digestion and leading to bloating or gas. Irritable bowel syndrome is also made worse by it. Individuals with this ailment are typically advised not to dress tightly.

The bottom line is that you should only wear them on special occasions and with extreme caution. Also, pick the right size rather than trying to fit into a slightly smaller pair. Please make an appointment with your physician if you are having issues.

Can Waist Trainers Harm Your Body Permanently?

Waist trainers might cause breathing to be challenging due to core tightness. Your lung intake will be decreased by between 30 and 60%. This may cause fluid to accumulate or inflammation in your lungs. The organs will perform less effectively when the pressure on them is combined with decreased blood flow and oxygen levels. Just these two items could have a significant impact on your general health.

Acid reflux, heartburn, and intestinal pain can all result from difficulties with the systems not operating the way they should, which can also affect digestion. Long-term usage of waist trainers can also lead to rib fractures and deformities. This might be excruciatingly unpleasant and keep you from carrying out your daily responsibilities.

It’s crucial to remember all of these contraindications for waist trainers. However, shapewear is very different and considerably safer. It isn’t quite as restricting and rigid due to the absence of metal boning, but rather it creates the appearance of smooth contours and a smaller waist.


Shapewear cannot alter the form of your body. Shapewear can still help you lose weight, even though it can’t make you look thinner. To ensure that your shapewear promotes your objectives and is the appropriate size, follow the universal guidelines regarding shapewear.

In the end, shapewear has the power to reshape your body progressively. However, it needs support and effort on your back. Go to the gym to work out and consume a more nutrient-dense diet. Also, don’t forget to consume a lot of water!

Consider shapewear as a tool that helps you achieve the silhouette you desire while considering that it also requires significant effort.

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