Razor bumps, ingrown hair, cold sores… although common beauty conundrums, can make you want to hide in embarrassment. Bounce back into the spotlight with these easy solutions and beauty products
Beauty isn’t always glamorous – in fact, it can be quite the opposite. The human body throws at us some downright awkward beauty hurdles that often leave us searching for explanations online in fear that we’re going through them alone. From body odour to unwanted hair, no one is immune. Never fear – we’ve sought out answers to common beauty taboos so you can get your mojo back in no time.
• STRIP Ice Cream, $51.36 (50 ml). • Malin+Goetz Ingrown Hair Cream, $56, from STRIP.
THE ISSUE: RAZOR BUMPS/INGROWN HAIRS
In an effort to be silky smooth, women often have to contend with bumpy, itchy skin and ingrown hairs. Most common “below the belt”, ingrown hairs occur when the hair shaft bends and grows back into the skin instead of outwards. The body then perceives the hair as a foreign object and responds with swelling and redness. Thankfully, they usually sort themselves out, but that can take time. A hot compress on the follicle could help draw the hair to the surface and speed up the process. A bit of preparation can help prevent them in the first place: Exfoliate prior to shaving to remove flaky skin cells that could clog hair follicles, and use a sharp razor – don’t hoard old ones, swap out razors every five to seven uses. Also, shaving with ample foam or oil under warm water will open up pores and soften hair, reducing friction and the risk of inflammation.
NIVEA Whitening Powder Deodorant Spray, $9.10 (150 ml).
THE ISSUE: BODY ODOUR
Unpleasant BO can be socially debilitating, and contrary to popular opinion, it doesn’t typically mean you have poor hygiene. Sweat on its own is virtually odourless but when it mixes with bacteria on the skin it creates a smell. It’s often triggered by diet, with food containing onion, garlic, dairy and spices being the biggest culprits. You can also wash with an anti-bacterial soap and use a high-quality deodorant. Clothes also carry body odour but washing them regularly with a fragranced laundry detergent will help.
YA-MAN Rei Beaute R Flash IPL, $699.
THE ISSUE: THOSE PESKY HAIRS
Those who’ve dealt with that stubborn line of hair above the lip will know that it’s a tricky one and some women are more prone to it than others. “Excess hair growth in women is called hirsutism,” explains dermatologist Dr Harriet Cheng. Commonly associated with a hormonal imbalance and generally a genetic condition, hirsutism is the result of an overproduction of androgens, which are the male hormones. “It may also signal a deeper cause for concern such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is normally accompanied by acne and irregular menstrual cycles too,” adds Dr Cheng. If you’re worried about the possibility of PCOS consult a specialist and they will be able to perform the necessary tests for diagnosis. They may also prescribe an oral contraceptive pill to lower androgen levels. For a temporary fix, threading, bleaching and waxing are easy and low cost options, while laser hair removal offers a more permanent solution.
• Sally Hansen Complete 7-in-1 Nail Treatment, $19.50. • Sally Hansen Nail Rehab, $19.90.
THE ISSUE: DISCOLOURED, THICK AND/OR BRITTLE NAILS
Nail problems, often simply a direct result of exposure to harsh chemicals like dishwashing liquid or nail polish products, could occasionally be a reflection of your health. Consuming more nail-strengthening nutrients like vitamin B and zinc can help. If your toenails are thick and discoloured, it’s likely you have contracted a fungus, which can be found anywhere that contains lots of moisture, like public changing rooms. The best line of defence is to avoid going barefoot and always dry your feet thoroughly after showering. Treating fungus is straightforward – just trim infected nails as short as possible and treat daily with an anti-fungal cream.
Oral-B Pro Health Clinical Mouth Rinse, $10.90 (1,000 ml).
THE ISSUE: COLD SORES
If you have a cold sore it means you’ve picked up the herpes simplex type 1 virus, not to be confused with the other herpes (type 2). It’s spread through contact – so think twice before sampling tester lipsticks – and appears mostly on the lips but also inside the mouth, on the face or around the nose. Stress, UV rays and low immunity can further aggravate cold sores, so learning to manage stress levels, using sun protection and taking immunity-boosting supplements can help. At the first sign of tingling, take vitamin C and apply cold sore medication as directed.
• Betadine Antiseptic Ointment, $5.90 (10 g). • Nature’s Plus vitamin C supplement, $34.20 (1,000 mg / 60 tablets).
THE ISSUE: BAD BREATH
Halitosis, the medical term for chronic bad breath, is more than just “morning breath”; it’s generally a result of poor oral hygiene and diet, says dental surgeon Dr Deanna Nelson. “Bad breath can usually be avoided with routine brushing and flossing but if it’s already present, gum disease or a throat infection could be at play.” Look out for warning signs like bleeding after flossing, swollen gums and general mouth tenderness. Dr Nelson recommends visiting a hygienist for a thorough clean and scale to eliminate the smell and treat inflamed gums and plaque retention. Diets low in carbohydrates play a part too: “Fasting and low carb diets put your body into a state of ketosis and in turn trigger ‘keto breath’.”
TEXT: ERIN BERRYMAN/BAUERSYNDICATION.COM.AU / ADDITIONAL REPORTING: ARISSA HA & TAN GIN YEE / PHOTO: 123RF.COM