Some people share their deepest secrets at a drop of a hat. Others, not so much. But no matter how comfortable you are with your loved ones, there are certain beauty questions that will make any human being wince in embarrassment.
1. Gray Hair Down There
Q: "Today I went to pee. As I sat there, I looked down (as you do) and saw a gray pubic hair. I am horrified and feeling old. But mostly horrified. What can I do about it?"
A: Getting older is great. We are more comfortable in our own skin and care less about what people think. But we'll be frank with you - some things about becoming older suck. Hangovers from hell. Not being able to eat what we crave (spicy food) when we want it (midnight). Squeaky knees. But there is one thing that no one mentions. Gray pubic hair. You checked, and it's not a trick of light, so what to do now?
Let's start with the obvious. Leave it be. If you feel it might hinder your sex life, soft lighting is your friend. Another option to consider? The Brazilian. Drastic times require drastic measures. But, all puns intended, waxing will take care of the root of the problem. A Brazilian wax is a big step so think about the cost, the maintenance involved and your tolerance for pain.
A less aggressive approach would be a dye job. Betty color for the hair down there is just that. A gentle product that contains natural ingredients and no ammonia or parabens to prevent irritation. A range of shades is available (including blue and pink, if you want to go all out). Also? These are your lady bits, please patch test first.
2. Butt-ne Is a Thing
Q: "I never had pimples as a teenager. But I discovered one on my butt the other day. On my butt! How do I make it go away?"
A: Out of all the places! But no judgment here. Chances are most of us had a zit (or two) on our butts. What is a butt pimple? A mixture of dead skin, oil and bacteria stuck in a hair follicle. If you exercise or sit a lot, you are prone to butt pimples. Another contributing factor? If you skip showering and changing your clothes right after a work out. Sweat plus tight clothing is a breeding ground for bacteria.
This is no excuse to stop exercising, the problem can be tackled head on. Use a body wash with benzoyl peroxide. Salicylic acid is also a good option as it unclogs the pores. Moisturize your skin and don't forget your behind. Wear clothes made from natural materials that let the skin breathe. And, for the love of everything, shower after workouts.
3. Stink to High Heaven
Q: "This is embarrassing, but my feet smell. My dog runs away in horror when I take off my shoes. He is terrible at personal hygiene (he licks his butt for crying out loud,) but he has a point. It's bad. What can I do so my feet feel and smell fresh again?"
A: Foot odor is caused by sweat. Pregnant women and teens are most prone to excessive sweating (because of hormonal changes), but if you are under stress or stand all day, it can happen to anyone. Sweat is odorless, but once it soaks socks and shoes, it creates an ideal environment for bacteria (they love dark and damp places.) When sweat and bacteria mix you get foot odor.
Fret not - it is treatable. Good personal hygiene is the key. Make sure you wash and dry your feet properly (don't forget in between your toes). Use a foot antiperspirant spray. It works in the same way as the underarm antiperspirant and prevents sweating. Socks should be made from breathable materials such as cotton or wool instead of polyester or nylon. Rotate your footwear. Switch shoes every day to allow them to air out in between the wears (a spritz of an antibacterial spray won't hurt either).
4. Leak Where You Least Expect It
Q: "The other day I noticed something strange. When I say strange, I mean terrifying. My nipples are leaking. I repeat, my nipples are leaking! And I am not breastfeeding. I am doing my best not to freak out, but I am failing miserably. What is happening?"
A: Fun fact - did you know that nipple discharge can happen to both men and women? According to the information provided by Johns Hopkins Medicine, nipple discharge is common and, in most cases, benign. However, if you are freaking out anyway, have it checked out by a doctor.
Nipple discharge can vary in color (from clear and white to green and yellow), and it will affect both breasts. It can be caused by many things - maybe you bumped into something really hard, breasts first. Or your breasts chaffed a lot during jogging. Hormone changes in your menstrual cycle could be the cause. Or you stopped breastfeeding. The Canadian Cancer Society states there is a cause for concern when the discharge is confined to one breast or if it is bloody and spontaneous. In these cases, consult your doctor as soon as possible.
5. Ingrown Hair Down There
Q: "I wanted to hit the beach over the weekend, so I shaved my bikini zone. All was well. A few days later I got an ingrown hair. It's itchy and annoying. This keeps happening whenever I shave. Is there some secret trick I don't know about that prevents ingrown hairs?"
A: UGH. The first rule of ingrown hair - do not (we repeat DO NOT) pick at it. Take our word for it; inflammation is painful. The reason why this happens is that our pubic hair is coarse. When you shave or wax, hair will grow and rise to the surface. Ingrowns occur when a hair has a mind of its own and grows every which way but up.
How to prevent them? Wash your bikini zone with warm water and mild soap. Lather with lubricating shaving cream or gel. Now to the important part - always use a fresh razor (trust us, a blunt razor is no good.) Shave in the direction of the hair's growth. Once done rinse and pat dry. Dab a little with an astringent toner (willow bark extract is a gentle and natural astringent.)
You might decide to tackle the ingrown hair on your own. We understand the urge, but safety first. Prep the area. Sanitize your hands and sterilize the tweezers. Pull at the hair gently and then disinfect. To banish ingrown hair for good, other options to consider include depilatory cream, electrolysis or laser removal.
6. Footloose and Wart-Free
Q: "A few days ago, I gave myself a pedicure. Yay for pamper time. I scrubbed my feet. There is something that looks like a callus. But no matter how long I scrubbed (a long time!) it won't budge! I am guilty of neglecting my feet, but this is ridiculous. What is this thing?"
A: Get a second opinion, but it might be a plantar wart. Which is a medical term for a foot wart. They are caused by certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV thrives in damp and warm environments so if you want to avoid the problem altogether wear flip flops at the pool or at the gym. When the virus enters the outer layer of the skin through a crack or a cut, infection happens.
Foot warts appear on the balls or on the heels of your feet (due to the pressure when you stand). They look like small, rough lesions. Sometimes there is a callus with a defined spot in the middle - that is a wart growing inwards. Check for black dots; these are clotted blood vessels. There might be tenderness or pain when you press at the spot.
Foot warts can go away on their own. But if you prefer a more proactive approach, over-the-counter treatments are available in a form of a patch or a liquid. You need to soak your feet, dry them, slough off the dead skin with a pumice stone and then apply the liquid. (Patches are applied for up to 48 hours.) Repeat daily until the wart is gone. Brace yourself, it can take months, plantar warts are difficult to get rid off. Also do not use the pumice stone on your other foot to avoid contamination. If it spreads or there is no improvement, see a doctor for a consultation on the more aggressive approach.