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Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Your 12 Most Embarrassing Beauty Questions -- Answered

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3. I've started to sweat through my blouses. Should I be worried?

Most likely there's nothing to fear, says Joseph L. Jorizzo, M.D., chairperson of dermatology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC. You probably just have a benign, hereditary tendency toward excessive sweating that can crop up at any age. But see your doctor to rule out an overactive thyroid, a low blood-sugar level and a number of other problems that can cause continual heavy sweating.

The fix: Before bed, towel-dry your armpits and apply the prescription antiperspirant solution Drysol (it contains a higher percentage of aluminum chloride - a drying agent - than regular deodorants do). Wash the solution off in the A.M. and don't reapply any deodorant. Repeat nightly. Still not satisfied? Ask your doctor about Botox injections - one treatment ($800 to $1,500) can paralyze sweat glands for six months to a year.

4. Every time I shave, I get a bumpy rash along my bikini line -- what's causing it?

A too-close shave or waxing can make hairs split and loop around just under the surface of the skin. As these off-kilter hairs grow, they push up against your skin, causing inflammation and redness, says Lawrence Moy, M.D., chief of dermatology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

The fix: Put down your loofah; dermatologists now agree that rubbing the bumps to free trapped hairs will only make the problem worse. Instead, apply an OTC acetylsalicylic acid (a.k.a. aspirin) solution twice a day for two to seven days to gently exfoliate the top layer of your skin. (Try Soft Cell.) Once you shed this layer, the looped hairs will be able to poke through. A cortisone injection, administered by your dermatologist, will decrease inflammation in bigger bumps. If ingrown hairs are a persistent problem, you may want to consider laser treatment, which damages the hair follicles and prevents hair growth. You'll need about three treatments (each around $350) followed by a touch-up every six months to a year.

5. I've heard that spider veins are hereditary. My mom doesn't have them, so why do I?

Genetics isn't the only cause of these unsightly blue veins. Pregnancy and trauma to the leg (like bumping into something) can bring them on, says Esta Kronberg, M.D., a Houston, TX, dermatologist.

The fix: Though vitamin K cream has been touted by some as the next big thing in spider-vein treatment (possibly because of its ability to constrict blood vessels, which supposedly makes veins less visible), there's no way the molecules in the cream can penetrate the skin on your legs and be absorbed into your veins, says Jorizzo. The best option - with 95 percent of patients seeing improvement after one to three treatments (up to $300 per treatment, per leg) -- is still sclerotherapy, tiny injections of saline solution, which irritates veins and causes them to swell shut.

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