Embarrassing Beauty Questions…Answered!

    The Solution: You can soften and help slough off bumps by rubbing them with a mixture of equal parts petroleum jelly and either water or cold cream. If that doesn’t work, prescription Retin-A probably will, but it can irritate the surrounding skin. A better alternative: prescription LactiCare-HC Lotion 2 1/2%, which contains lactic acid to dissolve dead skin cells and hydrocortisone to soothe any acid-induced irritation. Rub lotion onto bumps twice a day until they clear up.

    7. What’s causing my toenail fungus?
    Toenail fungus is actually athlete’s foot (often picked up from shared showers or borrowed shoes) that has spread into your toenails.

    The Solution: One of the most effective treatments is a prescription antifungal pill like Lamisil or Sporanox, but be warned: These treatments are only 70 to 80 percent effective at best, and even when they work it takes nearly a year and a half for the toenail to fully grow out, says Day. Prevent a recurrence by wearing shower slippers every time you rinse off at the gym and by not borrowing shoes. Also, a popular home cure for toe fungus is applying vapor rub onto affected areas once or twice a day.

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    8. Why do my teeth look so dull and anything-but-white?
    Smoking and excessive consumption of dark beverages (like coffee, tea, soda and red wine) are the main causes of stained teeth, says Lana Rozenberg, D.D.S., founder of the Rozenberg Dental Day Spa in New York City.

    The Solution: As with clothing stains, the longer discolorations remain on your teeth, the harder they are to remove – so keep up those twice-a-year dental visits. You can lighten your teeth several shades with a whitening toothpaste that contains carbamide peroxide, but use it only once a day to avoi
    d drying out gum tissue. Floss treated with the whitening agent silica has also been proven to polish away stains, which often form between teeth. For more dramatic results, your dentist can bleach your teeth up to eight shades brighter with a highly concentrated peroxide gel administered via laser ($800 to $1,500) or in a custom-fitted mouthpiece ($600 to $1,000) that you wear an hour a day for about 10 days, says Rozenberg.

    9. What’s to blame for my stretch marks?
    You may suspect that the marks on your tummy, thighs or hips were caused by pregnancy or significant weight fluctuations. What you may not know, though, is that hormonal changes that occur during normal growth spurts can also cause your skin to stretch and scar, says Lawrence Moy, M.D. Red marks appear when your skin stretches and thins so much that you can see your blood flowing through the skin’s thinned outer layers, says Joseph L. Jorizzo, M.D., When your skin stretches minimally or the stretched skin is thick, white marks result.

    The Solution: Unfortunately, there is no treatment that is guaranteed to remove stretch marks, but you can make them less noticeable. Ask your doctor about the best fix for you, including laser therapy ($450 to $700 per treatment), which can tone down the brightness of recently acquired red marks, or microdermabrasion ($50 to $150 per session), which can diminish the appearance of white marks.

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    10. Why this excess facial hair?
    If you fight your follicles on a daily basis or sprout lots of hairs on your chin, see your doctor. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (a disorder characterized by high levels of male hormones) or an adrenal gland problem could be to blame. If you’re moderately hairy (you tidy up your brows or upper-lip area once a month), you’ve probably just got your genes to thank.

    The Solution: You can try an odorless prescription cream to help decrease your light to heavy facial hair growth. Though it doesn’t yield immediate results (you’ll need to keep using your regular hair-removal methods at first), the cream blocks one of the enzymes responsible for hair growth, gradually slowing it down as long as you continue to use it, says Ken Washenik, M.D., director of dermatopharmacology at New York University School of Medicine. Other alternative solutions include laser hair treatments or electrolysis sessions. Ask your doctor for their help in deciding what plan of attack is right for you.

    More Skin & Beauty Information From BlackDoctor.org:

    The Top 10 Beauty Foods
    The Dangers Of…Lipstick?
    10 Reasons You Need Coconut Oil
    Medicine Cabinet Beauty Fixes
    Fast Fixes For Your Worst Beauty Mistakes
    Spring Clean Your Beauty Routine

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