We all wonder about things about our bodies that seem too embarrassing to bring up around even our closest friends and family. Whatever your most mortifying beauty quandary may be, we’re here to remove the veil of embarrassment and give you the answers and information you’re seeking.
“What do I do about ingrown toenails? I almost always have one.”
The most common cause of ingrown toenails is clipping them the wrong way. Clipping nails too short or too much on the corners causes the nail to begin to curve and grow into the skin of the nail border, pushing against the skin and causing pressure, swelling, and tenderness. Your best weapon against getting ingrown toenails is to cut toenails straight across the top in a flat line, and not to cut them too short. Make sure that if you get a pedicure, they aren’t cutting toenails at too much of an angle in the corners.
If you clip nails the correct way and still get repeated ingrown toenails, it’s worth having the issue checked by a professional since there can be underlying causes, like hereditary factors and even the length of your toes.
“What should I do to isolate the single gray hair on my head – like what do you do if there is one gray hair?”
Well here’s an easy fix: try parting your hair differently, to a side that is opposite what you normally do, suggests Adrian Wallace, a colorist at the Rita Hazan Salon. “You can also just color or foil that one hair,” he says. “A good temporary solution is the Rita Hazan Root Concealer ($25).”
“What are skin tags and how can I get rid of them?”
Skin tags look like small pieces of hanging skin. Technically speaking, they are fibers, fat cells, and nerve cells covered in a small layer of skin. As for what causes them? “No one knows for sure, it may be friction at the areas,” Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, Co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, D.C., says. Which is why they typically occur on parts of our skin that have creases and folds, such as eyelids and armpits.
The tendency to form skin tags also runs in families, Dr. Tanzi says. “If they are large enough, you can tie them off with dental floss to cut off the blood supply and they will eventually fall off,” she says. They can also be removed by being burned, frozen, or cut off, by a professional.
“Will my toenails turn yellow if I constantly have polish on them?”
“Consistently wearing dark-colored polish can cause nails to yellow over time,” says Dr. Tanzi. “Either take a break (and the yellowing will resolve with time) or be sure to use a base coat of clear polish before the coat of dark polish. However, if separation of the nail from the underlying skin is seen at the same time as yellowing, it could be a fungal infection, in which case a trip to the dermatologist is in order.” Try Nars Clear Nail Polish.
“How do you prepare for your first ever Brazilian bikini wax?”
Lele Gomes, an esthetician at Rita Hazan Salon in New York City, says to take two Advil beforehand and leave hair untouched. If it’s too long, thick, or coarse, your esthetician can trim length and volume with an electric trimmer or scissors, so it’s best to come untouched.
“How can I make my eyebrows grow back?”
Opt for an eyebrow serum. Just like the popular eyelash serums on the market, they can help spur hair growth with peptides and proteins that stimulate the hair follicle. “RapidLash Eyelash & Eyebrow Enhancing Serum ($50) at drugstores helps thicken,” Gomes says. Formulated with ingredients that protect against breakage and boost protein structure, it gets rave reviews from consumers and estheticians.
Also, avoid using creams and lotions in the eyebrow area, as they can clog the hair follicle and slow down or prevent hair regrowth.
“If I have a hairy mole, can I shave the hair off of it? Or is that bad?”
It is safe to shave the hair on moles—just be careful you don’t knick it. If you do, it won’t cause any permanent damage or harm, it will just bleed and be irritated until it heals. Of course, if you notice a mole changing shape, color, or size, get it checked out by a dermatologist.
“How do you get rid of pimples on your butt? They seem permanent. I’m concerned.”
Pimples on your derriere are common because it’s easy to trap perspiration via tight underwear and constricting clothing. “Excessive heat and sweating can cause breakouts on the buttocks,” Dr. Tanzi says. “Treat them using a 2% salicylic acid cleanser. Swap out your body wash for an anti-acne body scrub with 2% salicylic acid to use on the chest, back, and butt to reduce acne and clear up any discoloration from past breakouts.” Acne in these areas tends to get worse when people work out as they are getting ready for swimsuit season. We love Neutrogena's Body Clear Body Wash, Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment.
“What is the deal with stretch marks? Why do I have them on my thighs?”
“Stretch marks are tricky because elastic fibers have broken in the skin,” Dr. Tanzi says. “It is hard to repair the elastic fibers, which is why over-the-counter formulas don’t work. There is no scientific proof that any topical product works to improve stretch marks. There is nothing we can do to prevent stretch marks. When the skin stretches rapidly, the change in the skin breaks the elastic fibers and once broken, it is difficult to regenerate them,” she says.
That said, there are a few solutions. “Red-purple stretch marks are generally easier to remove than the white-silvery ones, which are considered mature stretch marks,” Dr. Tanzi says. “Fraxel laser delivers heat to the skin to gently stimulate collagen production to help blend the stretch marks into the surrounding normal skin.”
Try removing sugar, gluten, and dairy from your diet for one week, suggests Dr. Frank Lipman, Integrative & Functional Medicine Physician and founder of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center. “Taking probiotics daily also supports healthy digestion, which can keep bloating at bay and reduce problematic symptoms caused by food sensitivities,” he says. “They can also deliver serious improvements in acne and glowing healthy skin." Try Align Digestive Care Probiotic Supplement Capsules.
“Can I whiten my teeth if I've had dental work done? I want to use white strips but fear my teeth will be two different colors. Help!”
“If you have veneers or crowns, whitening will not change the color of your teeth,” Dr. Gregg Lituchy, Cosmetic Dentist of Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor says. “It only occurs on natural teeth, not porcelain, which doesn’t change colors,” he explains. “However, if you have a few crowns or veneers and the surrounding teeth are natural, you can use white strips or do an in-office whitening treatment.”
But a point of caution: “It’s important to remember that bleached, natural teeth fade as you drink tea and coffee and eat certain foods, while the porcelain veneers or crowns will not change color,” he says. “Therefore, the teeth will only be the same color at one point in time. Depending on lifestyle habits and what food and drinks consumed, it will vary on how often someone needs to whiten his/her teeth.”
“How can I prevent having old lady nails? They are ugly and hard as rocks and I don’t want them.”
Dry, hard nails can be a problem of hydration. “The best way to take care of hands and nails is to not dry them out,” Dr. Tanzi says. “Frequent hand washing with antibacterial soap is very harsh; therefore I recommend washing with a gentle cleanser, which will sanitize just as well as harsh products, and a good moisturizer afterward to lock in the hydration. At night, a thicker moisturizer on hands with a rich cuticle cream will keep hands/nails looking great.” We like Josie Maran's Whipped Argan Oil Intensive Hand Cream.
“How often should you clean your ears and how do I avoid having a Girls moment?”
So the truth is that yes, you can actually puncture, damage or just plain old hurt your eardrum with use of a Q-tip. Additionally, Q-tips do more to push wax further deep into the ear canal than to remove it. Most doctors advise against using q-tips to probe into the ear. Instead, to clean your ears, use a saline solution that will gentle dissolve and break up the wax—not pack it tightly like a snowball.
“911 – what do you do if your fake eyelashes start to fall off at a wedding?”
Always bring your tweezers, mini lash glue bottle, extra lashes, and a compact mirror, so you can take a moment to reapply new ones if you lose individual dramatic lashes. If you can’t find time to steal away to reapply, swipe a few coats of volumizing mascara (like Effortless Mascara Volumizing Enhance from Burberry) to blend your faux and natural lashes