Gross Beauty Problems and How to Fix Them

Michelle Grossman
woman looking at her skin in a mirror

Photo by Yuri Arcurs/Hemera Collection/Getty Images

While we wish beauty was all glam, sometimes it’s flat out gross. From bumps and blisters to unwanted hair, sometimes there’s just no avoiding the slightly gross side of beauty. When dealing with these problems, we basically do anything to solve them, because who wants to feel embarrassed or insecure? Now, however, it’s time to put your worries to rest, because it happens to everyone, and here’s how to deal.

Warts: Plantar warts and palmer warts are common noncancerous, unharmful skin growths, caused by a viral infection in the top layer of the skin. While plantar warts can appear on the feet, palmer warts most commonly appear on the hands. These kind of warts can be spread from person to person, but, while they are easy to get, they are also easy to get rid of. So what exactly is the best treatment for them? Nothing! Yes, you heard us correctly — leave them alone and they will heal and go away on their own. However, if you’re very self conscious about them and too anxious to wait for nature to take its course, you can try over-the-counter wart treatments which usually work by peeling the wart. Or, you can seek treatment from your doctor. Some common medical treatments include freezing the wart off with liquid nitrogen, removing the wart by laser treatment or surgery, or applying injecting medicines which will strengthen your immune system so it can clear your body of the virus which causes warts.

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Dandruff: We’re sure your familiar with this one — those annoying white flakes in your hair. The problem isn’t your hair, though, it’s your scalp, and skin cells that grow and die off too fast. While dandruff is harmless, it can often be embarrassing and itchy. Luckily, it’s easily treated at home without a prescription. Brush your hair with firm strokes, starting from your scalp down. This technique will carry the oil from your scalp down and along the hair strands, keeping your hair shiny and healthy. We also recommend using a dandruff shampoo, like Redken Scalp Relief Dandruff Control Shampoo, which fights flaking, itching, irritation and hydrates dry scalp. Just apply it to wet hair, massage into your scalp, and leave on for five minutes. After, rinse all your dandruff problems away (with continued use, of course).

Ingrown hair: Ingrown hairs are hairs that have curled around and grown back into your skin rather than rising up and away from the skin. They produce a raised bump that can be irritating or painful. In women, ingrown hairs are mostly common on the legs, armpits, and in the bikini area. Often, ingrown hairs will go away on their own, however, exfoliating the area may help. But, if they don’t go away, they can become infected, permanently darkening the skin or even leaving behind a scar. If your ingrown hair is bothering you, we recommend seeing your doctor, who can make a small cut in your skin to release it. In order to prevent ingrown hairs in the first place, there are some tips that can really help. Shave with a sharp, single-bladed razor using a lubricating gel, and shave in the same direction that your hair grows. Use as few strokes of the razor as possible while rinsing the blade with water in between each stroke. Don’t shave too closely to your skin (even leave a little bit of stubble if possible), and lastly, apply a cool washcloth to your skin once you’re done shaving to prevent irritation.

Cold sores: Caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), cold sores are small blisters that pop up on the lips and mouth. The skin surrounding the blisters often becomes red, swollen, and sore. If left alone, cold sores will heal by themselves typically anywhere from several days up to 2 weeks. However, anyone who suffers from cold sores knows that short period of time actually seems like an eternity when you have an outbreak. To get things moving along and cleared up quicker, there are a few methods that we swear by. The trick is to catch the cold sore basically before it even forms, so you can treat it right away and seriously decrease its lifespan. If you’re prone to getting cold sores, you can probably feel one coming on before it’s even visible, due to a tingling sensation. As soon as you feel that tingling, there are two things you need to grab: Abreva Cold Sore/Fever Blister Treatment Cream and L-Lysine tablets. Abreva is the only non-prescription cold sore medicine approved by the FDA to shorten healing time and duration of symptoms, while L-Lysine is an amino acid that prevents cold sores from forming to their full potential size and also speeds up their healing time. For best results, apply Abreva to the infected area at the first sign of a cold sore, and rub in gently but completely, five times a day until healed, while taking one L-Lysine tablet three times a day, also until healed. Using this method, your cold sore should be completely healed within 4-5 days, rather than a usual two weeks!

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Nose and facial hair: Nose hair may not look good, but it’s there for a good reason: It’s actually part of the defense system that provides protection to your lungs. This being said, you do need your nose hair, so don’t go taking it all off, but there are steps you can take to keep it short and out of sight. One option is to trim the hair using a nose hair trimmer, by gently pressing the blades of the trimmer against the skin of your nose (this will cut the hair at the surface of the skin). You can also cut nose hair using a pair of grooming scissors with rounded tips — just tilt your head back and cut away any long hairs using just the tips of the scissors. Facial hair is another common problem a lot of women struggle with, whether they’re dealing with dark, coarse hairs or pale peach fuzz. Women typically don’t welcome either kind of facial hair with open arms. Waxing, plucking, and threading all remove hair at the root, which keeps new hair away longer. However, they are also temporary treatments, as the hair will eventually grow back. If you want a more permanent solution, your best bet is laser hair removal as it doesn’t require you to grow out hair between treatments, and can provide permanent results after several sessions.

Keratosis pilaris: More commonly known as “chicken skin,” keratosis pilaris forms little bumps on the skin, caused when excess skin cells build up around individual hair follicles. In this case, treatment is all about smoothing away the bumps. While keratosis pilaris is a chronic condition, scrubs, series of microdermabrasions, and even chemical peels can all definitely help.

Styes: Styles are small, painful bumps on the inside or outside of the eyelid caused by bacteria. To treat them, applying a warm compress at the first sign of an infection works best. This will speed up the healing process and help prevent further blockage of the lid glands. You may also want to get an over-the-counter antibacterial cream made for treating styes, and apply it to the infected area as directed.

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Blackheads: Blackheads are small bumps that appear on your skin due to clogged hair follicles. Contrary to popular belief, they have nothing to do with skin being dirty. While you can wash your face multiple times a day and still suffer from blackheads, there are several steps you can take to rid yourself of this problem. Our top three picks for blackhead removal are exfoliating, using pore cleansing strips, and facial peels. Using an exfoliator, like The Body Shop Tea Tree Blackhead Exfoliating Wash, will unclog pores as it removes trapped dirt, oil, and dead skin cells. Pore cleansing strips, such as Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips, work great as a quick fix to remove blackheads. All you have to do is dampen your face, apply the sticky strip to the affected area, wait 10-15 minutes for the strips to dry, and then rip them off quickly to pull out your blackheads. Also, gels that contain salicylic acid dissolve away all of the dead skin and dirt that get trapped in your pores, so using a salicylic acid peel is the perfect way to cleanse your skin and say goodbye to blackheads once and for all.

Skin tags: A skin tag is tiny and benign, and looks like a small piece of excess skin. They are most commonly found on the underarms, neck, upper chest, and groin as these are areas where either clothing rubs against the skin, or where there is skin-to-skin friction occuring. Skin tags do not usually require medical treatment, but can be removed for cosmetic reasons. They can be removed by a doctor by being cut, burned, or frozen. For very small skin tags, self-treatment can be used, such as tying off the skin tag with a piece of thread and then allowing it to fall off over several days.

Infected piercings: Piercings can get infected easily, but luckily they are easily treated, too. If you notice pus or an odor, or if your ear looks red or feels tender, it’s pretty safe to assume you’ve got an infection. The good news is all you have to do is soak your piercing with sea salt water, as this will draw out the irritants, and then you’ll be as good as new!

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