Your 12 Most Embarrassing Beauty Questions -- Answered
6. Are the bumps on my butt and on the backs of my arms pimples?
No. They're actually called keratosis pilaris - the cause is unknown, but some claim that it's a hereditary condition.
The fix: You can soften and help slough off bumps by rubbing them with a mixture of equal parts petroleum jelly and either water or cold cream. If that doesn't work, prescription Retin-A probably will, but it can irritate the surrounding skin. A better alternative: prescription LactiCare-HC Lotion 2 1/2%, which contains lactic acid to dissolve dead skin cells and hydrocortisone to soothe any acid-induced irritation. Rub lotion onto bumps twice a day until they clear up.
7. What's causing my toenail fungus?
Toenail fungus is actually athlete's foot (often picked up from shared showers or borrowed shoes) that has spread into your toenails.
The fix: The most effective treatment is a prescription antifungal pill like Lamisil or Sporanox, but be warned: These treatments are only 70 to 80 percent effective at best, and even when they work it takes nearly a year and a half for the toenail to fully grow out, says Day. Prevent a recurrence by wearing shower slippers every time you rinse off at the gym and by not borrowing shoes.
8. Why do my teeth look so dingy?
Smoking and excessive consumption of dark beverages (like coffee, tea, soda and red wine) are the main causes of stained teeth, says Lana Rozenberg, D.D.S., founder of the Rozenberg Dental Day Spa in New York City.
The fix: As with clothing stains, the longer discolorations remain on your teeth, the harder they are to remove - so keep up those twice-a-year dental visits. You can lighten your teeth several shades with a whitening toothpaste that contains carbamide peroxide, but use it only once a day to avoid drying out gum tissue. (Try Rembrandt Plus with Peroxide toothpaste.) Floss treated with the whitening agent silica has also been proven to polish away stains, which often form between teeth. (Try Johnson & Johnson Reach Whitening Floss.) For more dramatic results, your dentist can bleach your teeth up to eight shades brighter with a highly concentrated peroxide gel administered via laser ($800 to $1,500) or in a custom-fitted mouthpiece ($600 to $1,000) that you wear an hour a day for about 10 days, says Rozenberg. (Though drugstore bleaching kits are much less expensive, they aren't quite as effective -- the gel isn't as strong, and since the mouthpieces aren't created specifically for you, the gel can drip out of them and inflame your gums.)