6 Embarrassing Body Issues, Solved
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6 Embarrassing Body Issues, Solved

We've got solutions to your embarrassing body problems and more.

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By Patrick Sullivan

Got an embarrassing body issue? We’re guessing you’re not eager to talk about it—maybe not even with your doctor. The good news: We’ve got simple solutions to six common body and beauty concerns. Prepare to say goodbye to yellow toenails, bad breath and more.

Related: Have an embarrassing health question? Email it to the editors at SCedit@sharecare.com. It may appear (anonymously, of course!) in a future Q&A or other content on Sharecare.

Adult acne

2 / 7 Adult acne

What it is: Acne's not just for teenagers. It can appear long after you’ve outgrown your pimple problem, possibly due to fluctuating hormones, stress and pore-clogging cosmetics.

What to do about it: Over-the-counter treatments may be fine for the occasional breakout, but if you’re struggling with more serious adult acne, see a doctor. Medications, including antibiotics, hormonal therapies and retinoids—are used for more stubborn acne.

Toenail fungus

3 / 7 Toenail fungus

What it is: A fungus that lives in warm, wet places (like the gym shower or locker room) and likes to crawl underneath your toenails. Pretty soon, those nails will get thick, turn yellow and maybe even fall off. At least the unsightly problem isn’t a serious medical concern, according to integrative medicine specialist Robin Miller, MD.

What to do about it: Dr. Miller recommends laser treatments. She says over-the-counter treatments can’t penetrate the nail to reach the fungus, and she generally doesn’t recommend oral medications, because some may not work well or may be toxic to the liver.

Bikini line issues

4 / 7 Bikini line issues

What it is: If your bikini line is red and sore after shaving, that’s razor burn, a mild skin irritation that produces a rash. Got bumps? Those are probably ingrown hairs. Both problems can come from dull razors, pressing too hard or not using enough shaving cream.

What to do about it: If the deed’s already done, use a mild astringent or hydrocortisone cream. But the best way to prevent razor burn and bumps in the bikini area is to lose that razor in the first place. “If you want to get rid of hair, laser treatment is the way to go,” Miller says. “Waxing is also ok, since you’re removing the hair and not just irritating it. But I like laser. Four or five treatments and you’re done.”

Bad breath

5 / 7 Bad breath

What it is: Bad breath, or halitosis, is a social life killer. It has a number of potential causes, from rotting food between your teeth to odor-causing bacteria and a host of other issues in the mouth and the gut.

What to do about it: Brush and floss regularly, of course, and drink plenty of water, as dehydration can cause halitosis. You may also want to chew (sugar-free) gum, which helps your mouth produce more saliva. “Saliva’s what keeps your mouth clean,” says Miller. She also recommends scraping the tongue with a spoon or a specialized tool to get rid of odor-causing bacteria and debris. Still got dragon breath? See your doctor.

Dandruff

6 / 7 Dandruff

What it is: Dandruff happens because your scalp gets dry and pieces of dead skin flake off. It can also be caused by psoriasis and sebhorreic dermatitis. You’re left with shoulders that look like a ski slope and an urge to cancel your plans for the night.

What to do about it: Pyrithione zinc and selenium sulfide are common treatments, both found in a variety of over-the-counter shampoos. Dr. Miller adds that keeping the scalp moist is key in treating and preventing dandruff no matter its cause. “One thing that really helps is eating a healthy diet with lots of veggies and healthy oils,” she says. “If you have healthy insides, you’ll have healthy outsides.”

Cellulite

7 / 7 Cellulite

What it is: The dimples that appear most often on the butt and thighs seem indestructible—and they practically are. Cellulite is “the scarring down of fat. The fat gets strings of scars, which is what causes the puckering,” says Miller. Genetics and estrogen play a role in cellulite’s formation.

What to do about it: Losing weight can shrink cellulite and make it less noticeable, according to Miller: “If you can build up the muscle and decrease the appearance of fat, it won’t look as bad.” Laser treatment is an option, but it’s costly and painful and its efficacy is unproven, says Miller.

Related: Take this quiz to test your smarts on how to fight cellulite.

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