(BlackDoctor.org) — We all have embarrassing beauty questions that we desperately want answered. The problem is that most of us are too embarrassed to ask them. But never fear! Here are some of the most frequently asked embarrassing beauty questions…and their answers.
1. Why is my face so shiny?
If you are also losing hair and have stopped getting your period, a hormonal imbalance could be the culprit, and you should see your doctor. If not, your skin is just oversensitive to your male hormones (we all have them) – and this is triggering the production of excess oil. Another possibility: a too-harsh cleansing routine. Many dermatologists believe that overuse of alcohol-based toners and gritty scrubs can overdry and irritate your skin and make it produce extra oil to compensate, says Doris J. Day, M.D., an assistant professor of dermatology at New York University.
The Solution: Your best bet is to regulate oil without overdrying your skin. In the morning, wash your face with an oil-free cleanser, then rub on an alcohol-free toner (if you think your skin is sensitive to alcohol-based ones). Don’t forget to apply an oil-free moisturizer, preferably one with SPF. Throughout the day, mop up any shiny areas with blotting papers. Before bed, repeat your morning routine, substituting a moisturizer that does not have SPF. If you continue to shine, ask your dermatologist for help.
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2. Why do my feet stink?
When the normal bacteria on your feet interact with moisture trapped in your socks and shoes, they emit stinky sulfurous byproducts, says Dr. Day.
The Solution: Since dry feet equals odor-free feet, wear absorbent cotton socks with shoes made from breathable materials, like canvas and leather, and sprinkle an over-the-counter drying powder into your shoes every morning. Three nights a week, pour a pot of tea made with several regular (not herbal) tea bags into a basin, then soak your feet for five to 10 minutes. The tannic acid in tea temporarily inhibits sweat production. See your doctor if your feet are also red, swollen or scaly to make sure a bacterial or fungal infection isn’t causing the smell.
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3. Why does my breath smell despite constant brushing?
Although brushing will help prevent cavities (so don’t stop scrubbing), it can only mask bad breath, since the problem really lies within your throat and tongue, not your teeth. When the bacteria in your mouth lose access to oxygen (which can happen when you take certain prescription medications for depression or high blood pressure), they emit smelly sulfur compounds, says Harold Katz, D.D.S., founder of The California Breath Clinic in Los Angeles; this is the same principle at work with foot odor. Eating garlic and onion also makes your breath stink because they contain those same sulfur compounds.
The Solution: Contrary to popular belief, a tongue scraper won’t banish bad breath – sulfur compounds cannot be removed manually. Instead, keep your mouth oxygenated by drinking water throughout the day and using an over-the-counter oral rinse with chlorine dioxide in both in the morning at at night to help neutralize sulfur compounds. Chewing on oxygen-rich vegetables, like parsley and celery, can also diminish odors. If these tricks don’t work, see your dentist.
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4. Why do I get a bumpy rash along my bikini line every time I wax or shave?
A too-close shave or waxing can make hairs split and loop around just under the surface of the skin. As these off-kilter hairs grow, they push up against your skin, causing inflammation and redness, says Lawrence Moy, M.D., chief of dermatology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
The Solution: Put down your loofah; dermatologists now agree that rubbing the bumps to free trapped hairs will only make the problem worse. Instead, apply an ingrown hair solution to the affected area once or twice a day to gently exfoliate the area and shed the top layer of cells. Once you shed this layer, the looped hairs will be able to poke through. If ingrown hairs are a persistent problem, you may want to consider laser treatment, which damages the hair follicles and prevents hair growth. You’ll need about 3 to 6 treatments (each around $350), followed by a touch-up every six months to a year. Before beginning any laser procedure, be sure to ask if the laser being used has been approved for use on darker skin tones.
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5. Are the bumps on my butt and on the backs of my arms pimples?
No. They’re actually called keratosis pilaris – the cause is unknown, but some claim that it’s a hereditary condition.