The most awkward beauty problems ever: Resolved!
Need to ask about butt pimples...for a friend?
‘I’m an adult with lice issues…’
Been on an overcrowded train or bus lately? Or tried on clothes at the mall? You can catch lice from head-to-head contact or sharing personal items. The infestation will spread quicker if damp hair is tied up for too long. To nix the creepy crawlies, “After drying your hair thoroughly, apply a permethrin lotion on the scalp at bedtime and wash off in the morning for three consecutive days. Wash all clothes and linen in boiling water,” says cosmetic dermatologist Dr Jaishree Sharad of Skinfiniti.
‘Help me, I stink!’
Sweat doesn’t smell, but when coupled with dead skin cells, it encourages bacterial growth that results in room-clearing BO. Avoid this in two easy steps: Shower twice a day (or at least wipe down the second time) and dust your trouble zones with an antifungal powder. Cosmetic physician Dr Jamuna Pai of Blush Clinics adds, “Avoid foods with pungent ingredients (garlic doesn’t just cause bad breath) and use an aluminium chloride lotion on your underarms and soles at night.” If taking off your shoes tends to lose you friends, Dr Sharad says, “Apply clotrimazole dusting powder on them and sprinkle some on the inner surface of your socks or on the soles of your shoes.”
‘They call me baldielocks’
Anything from stress to vitamin deficiency can reduce lush hair to a miserable trickle. So as soon as you notice extra loose strands in the shower, get to the bottom of what’s causing it. “Genetic factors play a big role, but things like traction due to tying hair very tight can aggravate the problem,” says Dr Pai. No medication can increase the number of follicles you were born with (so you can’t magically increase growth), but you can hold on to what’s left. Dr Pai tells you how, “Increase protein in your diet; take oral supplements with vitamins like biotin, and minerals like selenium and zinc, to help promote growth. Minoxidil-based hair solutions also help in retarding the loss.”
‘I’m finally getting a Brazilian wax. should I be scared?’
No! Just make sure your pubic hair is at least a quarter-inch long so the wax can get a grip and take it all off at once. And contrary to popular pre-wax advice, don’t take a painkiller because it thins your blood and can cause bruising. Mortified about being seen so intimately by the nice lady? “Just maintain good personal hygiene,” advises Valerie Culmann of Jean-Claude Biguine. “Therapists take care of everything else, from trimming to cleaning with an antiseptic.” Remember to shower and exfoliate, and if you’re awkward about being totally bare-bottomed, wear a skirt that you can just lift up so you have some coverage. And yes, they will wax your butt; and no, it doesn’t hurt as much as you’d think.
‘My butt acne is killing my bikini bod’
One of the most common skin-related complaints, ‘buttne’, is caused by a sweaty behind, and it is cured by the same stuff you use for your face. Invest in a benzoyl peroxide body lotion or use anti-acne face wash on your rear. Don’t hang around in your yoga pants after a sweaty session — the green smoothie can wait until you shower — and swap the lacy thong for cotton grannies (they’re normcore!). “Remember to not pop any pimples, as this can lead to scarring and leaves you open to infection and more skin irritation. And use a body cleanser that contains tea tree oil to keep acne at bay,” advises Dr Sharad.
‘My pits are a dark place’
Shaving is easier, we agree, but razors, along with hair removal creams, are the main cause of underarm pigmentation because they take hair only off the surface. Poor ventilation, accumulation of dead skin cells and the use of alcohol-based deodorants are the other causes of skin darkening. “Chemical peels with alpha hydroxy acids can take off the top layer to reveal unblemished skin underneath,” says Dr Sangeeta Velaskar of Kaya Skin Clinic. Stick to waxing to prevent darkening and use only alcohol-free deodorant.
‘Shaving gives me reptile skin’
“Regular exfoliation after one week of waxing or the day after shaving should take care of it,” says Culmann. Use a DIY sugar scrub (tea tree oil + jojoba oil + sugar) to knock off all the dead skin. Or if you’re one of those who derives immense satisfaction from picking at scabs, first do a warm water or milk and bread compress on all the bumps to open your pores and then use a sterilised needle or tweezer to loop out the hair that’s come to the skin’s surface. Best not to Instagram the process.
‘Nipple hair…just, nipple hair’
“Breast hair is common and caused by hormonal changes related to puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. Any fluctuations in the levels cause abnormal hair growth,” says Dr Velaskar. It’s important you consult an expert to figure out the root cause, but in the meantime, don’t shave — we repeat, do not shave. What you can do is carefully pluck the strays, and work out a healthy diet and exercise routine that helps rewire minor hormonal imbalances just enough to curb unwanted hair growth.
‘Can we talk about the menstrual cup, please?’
The bell-shaped, reusable silicone blood-catcher is technology’s answer to biohazardous sanitary napkins. (Environment magazine Down To Earth estimated that Indian women generate 9,000 tonnes of it every month.) So, make the move. The cup fits onto the cervix like a suction plunger, promises no leaks and you can go swimming with it, too. The new Kickstarter-funded Looncup even connects to your iPhone and updates you when it’s full. All you have to do is remember to wash your hands before insertion, thread the loop at the bottom of the cup for easy removal and sterilise by boiling it in between cycles.
‘I get sweat patches. Under my boobs’
One of the downsides of having big boobs is the sweat stains you can’t explain to anyone else. Under-boob sweat can also leads to rashes, infection and big gooey rollups of talcum powder (you’ve already tried that, right?). An easier solution is to place an absorbent panty liner in each bra cup; or tuck a single layer of muslin around your midriff so it can catch the sweat. Also dab a bit of argan oil on the cleavage and under-boob area: its anti-bacterial composition prevents infections and keeps you smelling great all day.
Photograph: Hordur Ingason