As much as we would like to think that beauty is all about looking good, slathering our skin in cream and swiping on the latest shade of lipstick, there are often those under-the-radar problems that no one wants to discuss, no matter what. But, these beauty problems do exist, and if you think you’re the only one plagued by them, guess again. Here’s what you can do about them—and you don’t have to make it known.
Problem 1: Unwanted facial hair Be it above your lip, on your chin or temples, or all over your face, there’s no denying that hair loves to call the face home. While it can be embarrassing and unsightly, we all have hair on our face to varying degrees. But, when it’s dark and excessive, it tends to be harder to cover up than when it’s fine and light. Regardless, facial hair can be unsettling no matter what it looks like.
What to do about it: For long-term hair removal that goes beyond what shaving, waxing and plucking can offer, Dallas, TX, dermatologist Elizabeth B. Houshmand, MD, says to consider laser hair removal as a more permanent option, which works best for darker hair. “Currently, there are no effective lasers for white or blond hair, but it is being worked on.”
Problem 2: Milia These little white bumps may have you thinking that they’re whiteheads, but they’re not. Caused by proteins that get trapped within the skin, milia pop up in the hardest-to-cover areas like around the eyes or mouth. “They may physically have the same appearance as comedones, which are fat and skin debris trapped within the pore, but milia are very different,” says Dr. Houshmand. Most people get them from a buildup of sunscreen or rich moisturizer.
What to do about it: Whatever you do, DO NOT pick at a milia or try to extract them yourself—let your dermatologist or aesthetician take care of this one for you—they can pierce your skin with a tool to properly remove them. Microdermabrasion treatments can also help because they exfoliate the upper most layer of skin to smooth it out.
Problem 3: Dandruff These small white flakes can show up on your scalp and on and around your hairline. “Dandruff, which is caused by a harmless yeast on the scalp that grows excessively and causes the skin to shed the affected cells, is not only embarrassing, but it can also lead to other problems like premature hair loss,” says Dr. Houshmand.
What to do about it: For the most part, dandruff is relatively easy to fix. Start off by washing your hair with a shampoo that contains selenium sulfide or pyrithione zinc, like Head and Shoulders Classic Clean Shampoo ($5), or one that exfoliates with salicylic acid, like Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo ($7). If your scalp is unresponsive to an over-the-counter dandruff shampoo, your dermatologist can give you a prescription-strength version.
Problem 4: Bacne Breakouts on your face can be embarrassing, but at least they are easy to cover up. But, when it comes to breakouts on your back, that’s a whole different story.
What to do about it: Dr. Houshmand says to fight body acne the same way you would an ingrown hair. “First, try making lifestyle changes if you are prone to back acne. Also, consider switching to cotton bras and avoid wearing tight spandex workout clothes, which don’t allow skin to breathe. Make sure that you shower after working out to remove sweat from your skin, and always change your clothes.” She also suggests using an anti-inflammatory sulfur-based mask, which helps calm down skin, as well as a bioglycolic cleanser.
Problem 5: Excessive sweating Sweating is a normal biological function, but when it goes into overdrive, wet spots can appear under your arms—or even on your palms—for everyone to see.
What to do about it: If you can’t get your sweating under control with an over-the-counter antiperspirant, have your doctor prescribe a prescription-strength one like Xerac AC or Drysol. “These are best when used on dry skin. Take a towel or a hair dryer (on a cool setting) and dry the area first,” says Dr. Houshmand. “For resistant underarm sweating, consider Botox injections, which last for three to seven months.”