Fashion victim: Warning - fads can damage your health

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

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Indy Lifestyle Online

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

Leading optometrist Andrew Hogan made a foray into the world of hairdressing last week by claiming 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 have since rushed to dismiss his claims, leaving heavy fringe fans to breathe a sigh of relief.

However, this is just the latest episode to call into question the price we pay for looking good and the fact that style could be bad for your health. Just last month, Christian Louboutin, he of the red-lacquered 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.

The Independent on Sunday looks at the potential dangers of being a dedicated follower of fashion.

Looking good usually leaves you feeling good. But for how long?

Heavy handbags: A proper door stopper

Big bag ladies like Nicole Ritchie could be running 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.

Flip flops: Cool feet cost the NHS dear

The summer footwear sported by celebrities hurts more than 200,000 people a year. The NHS spends £40m each year treating such injuries: falls, blisters, weakened ankles or tendon pain in lower leg and shin splints.

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 the fibres in calf muscles in women and can change the position of joints and muscles in the feet. What's a fashionista to do?

Slimming pants: Hold tight to your tummy

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

Tattoos: Etched with pain

For Angelina Jolie, a tattoo follows a "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 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

Popular with punk rockers to supermodels such as Kate Moss, 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

Whether you shop in Prada or Primark, accessories can make or break an outfit (just ask Lily Allen, who launched her own jewellery collection). Pick the wrong material and your fashion statement could be an itchy rash: nickel allergy affects 30 per cent of us.