The 8 Most Common Body Taboos Women Struggle With—And How to Treat Them

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This article first appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of New Beauty. Click here to subscribe

Let’s be real: Everyone has battled a body taboo of some sort. From long chin hairs to hormonal hot flashes, we’ve merely kept our mouths shut and reverted to the hidden eyes of Google. Feeling secretive or ashamed? There are 8 million results for “body taboos” online, which goes to show that we’re all in this together and that (thankfully) there are solutions for our woes. 

Behind the Scenes
Davie, FL dermatologist Marianna Blyumin-Karasik, MD says the cause of back or butt acne is most often an active lifestyle. “Cleansing acne-prone areas with a benzoyl peroxide wash after sweating or long-term sitting is the key to erasing body pimples. Post-shower, use a spray with salicylic and glycolic acid to help purify pores and lighten scars.” 

Wisdom Stripes
Stretch marks come in all shapes, colors and sizes. “Vertical stretch marks stem from pregnancy, whereas horizontal ones originate from weight variations over time,” says Morristown, NJ plastic surgeon Daniel Schmid, MD. “Treatments with a fractional CO2 laser such as Fraxel can help blend these marks into the surrounding normal skin so they’re less noticeable.”

Pit Stop
According to West Palm Beach, FL dermatologist Kenneth Beer, MD, the two main reasons for darkness under the arms are acanthosis nigricans—a condition that causes a darkening and thickening of the skin—and chromhidrosis, which causes dark-colored sweat. “To treat dark sweat, try a neurotoxin like Botox or Dysport,” says Dr. Beer.

 [Sitting in] the Emsella chair can stimulate 11,000 kegel contractions in 28 minutes.

Dr. Carolyn Delucia

Love Pockets
“Both invasive and noninvasive fat-reduction methods are helpful for back and armpit fat,” explains Dr. Schmid. “CoolSculpting can easily treat these areas, but liposuction—the gold standard of fat removal—will administer the most dramatic reduction of fat to create a smooth, contoured shape.” 

Out From Under
Ingrown hairs are “caused by follicle irritation, which happens when your pores dilate and attract germs,” says Dr. Blyumin-Karasik. To halt flare-ups, use a sensitive-skin shaving foam and a calming, antimicrobial moisturizer. “If this doesn’t work, try laser hair removal,” Dr. Blyumin-Karasik adds.

Mother Nature
Having a baby often comes with laxity down below. To restore strong vaginal function, take a seat on the Emsella chair, which Hillsborough, NJ gynecologist Carolyn Delucia, MD says can stimulate 11,000 kegel contractions in 28 minutes. “There are also laser treatments that help to increase collagen within the vaginal walls to provide a sense of increased elasticity,” she explains. 

 Stress urinary incontinence affects 15 million women in the U.S.

National Association for Continence

Pelvic Problems
According to Nashville, TN plastic surgeon Dan Hatef, MD, “Pelvic floor dysfunction is just as much functional as it is structural.” For patients with pelvic pain, frequent incontinence and dyspareunia (pain during sex), biofeedback therapy and noninvasive radio-frequency treatments can help alleviate these issues in just a few visits. 

Beauty Marks
“When moles are more than one color or change in size, they can potentially be dangerous,” says Dr. Beer. When this is the case, the safest bet for permanent removal is to visit a doctor for a surgical excision. “It’d be really embarrassing to show up at the ER because you’re bleeding to death from a do-it-yourself experiment,” he adds. 

Smooth Moves: Tweak your taboos at home with these everyday insecurity renovators.

01 Meet Megababe Le Tush Clarifying Butt Mask ($22)—the ultimate facial for your booty that rids any unwanted butt’ne and dry patches for a smooth, bikini-ready bottom.
02 The long-lasting and tone-evening Dove Even Tone Antiperspirant ($6) is a modern-day skin savior for lessening underarm discoloration while keeping sweat at bay.
03 Honest Beauty Rock The Bump Body Butter ($20) claims to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and deliver 24-hour moisture with the help of shea butter, avocado oil and vitamin E.

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