The ever-wise Nicole Richie once said, "Everything good in life is either illegal, immoral, or fattening." While we'd disagree on the grounds that jumping on piles of crunchy leaves never hurt nobody, we have to concede that it does sometimes feel like the things we love the most hate us.
Case in point? Your beloved handbag might not actually be so hot for your health. From being an actual receptacle of disease and death (possibly a slight exaggeration there) to straight-up wrecking your hair, here's what the damage could be:
1. It makes you walk funny
When you're carrying a heavy bag, it throws off your natural gait—which is the natural swing of your arms and legs as you walk. Adding a bag into the mix just makes you off-balance, especially if it's heavy. And when you're carrying around, oh, I don't know, a massive makeup bag, a book, umpteen snacks, and some random debris, it gets heavy fast.
2. It damages your back
Carrying a heavy bag will particularly affect the trapezius muscle, which sits along the top of your shoulders. The constant weight and pressure can cause it to spasm, which can lead to back pain and back problems. Think stiffness, soreness, and general inflexibility—not good, if you ask us.
3. It could give you headaches
Those muscles in your shoulders and back have been linked to headaches. The spasming of the muscles in your back kind of radiates around to the front of your skull—kind of hard to explain, but the upshot is, a heavy bag might make your head start thumping.
4. It might thin your hair
Weird but true: if you always carry your handbag on the same side of your shoulder, you might seriously thin out your hair. Basically, some hair always inevitably gets caught under the strap, and then the pressure from the strap makes the hair break and get thinner. Embellished and chain straps are the worst offenders, as they're that bit more likely to get hair caught around them. Don't believe us? Ask your hairdresser to guess which side of your shoulder you carry your bag on.
5. It could be full of germs
Now this is grim: a study by the University of Colorado Boulder found that if your bag's not been cleaned for a while, it could have up to 10,000 kinds of different bacteria. In total, that's more bacteria than a toilet. YUCK. Keep yours as germ-free as possible by always hanging it on the door, rather than leaving it on the floor in public loos, washing your hands before rifling through, and tightly wrapping any food you pop in.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.