Plus, easy steps to keep your polish picture-perfect, and
why sunny days call for sunscreen.
Q: I saw a bikini that
I have to have. Trouble is, I have a hairy stomach, but I don't
think I want to wax that area in case I get a rash. Is there anything
else in the drugstore I can try?
A: Nothing says summer like smooth skin and a bikini!
If waxing isn't your bag, your next option is a depilatory lotion,
such as Nair, which you can find in most drugstores. Depilatory
lotions are a good choice provided you don't have sensitive skin
because they dissolve the hair right below the surface of the skin
instead of pulling it out from the root, à la waxing. However,
depilatory lotions have a warning of their own—since they
use chemicals to “burn” the hair, they can cause serious
irritation, and even scarring, if you're not careful.
As with any product,
be sure to read the instructions. Before you begin, it’s a
good idea to shower or prep the area with a warm towel to help the
hair follicles absorb the cream. Spread a thick layer of lotion
on the area and leave on for about three to four minutes. Use a
damp washcloth on a portion of the area and wipe—don’t
rub away the cream. If the hair isn’t coming off, you'll need
to keep the lotion on longer. Just make sure you don't exceed ten
minutes or you can really burn your skin. Tip: Try using the cream
in sections—it’ll help you remove unwanted hair in an
organized way to make sure you don’t miss any patches.
Like shaving, the effects will last a few days,
and you might even see some stubble. Make sure never to apply depilatories
on broken or wounded skin. And if you do burn yourself, wash the
area off with soap or facial cleanser and apply Neosporin to reduce
Q: I love painting my fingernails but the
polish never lasts very long. Any tips?
A: We at ABCDLady are first in line for polish
that never chips or peels, but sadly, that seems a long way off.
Meanwhile, there are a few things you can do to keep your
polish pretty. Before painting your nails, clean your fingernails
with remover to get rid of any dirt and grease. Brush on a thin
coat of polish, starting from the cuticle to the tip of the nail.
Resist the urge to glop it on—that may be faster, but it’ll
take forever to dry. Usually two to three coats is all you’ll
need to bring the color to the desired shade. When your nails are
totally dry, apply a top coat (try Sally Hansen’s Super Shine)
to seal in color. Tip: For extra protection, apply a base coat before
painting on color—it’ll help the polish better stick
to the nail surface better.
Q: Whenever I'm on the beach my friends
are always slathering on sunscreen. I've always figured I didn't
need to because I have darker skin, but I recently heard that even
dark-skinned women are at risk for skin cancer. Is this true? Does
this mean I have to wear sunscreen?
A: Yes, and yes. While dark skin
definitely helps, it's not a foolproof guard against skin cancer,
which is the most common kind of cancer. And malignant melanoma,
a type of skin cancer, affects darker complexioned people, and it's
the most deadly. But the good news is that skin cancer is preventable,
and one of the ways to protect yourself is to religiously wear sunscreen
with an SPF–sun protection factor–of at least 15. (Of course, the
best way is to avoid sun exposure altogether, but that's easier
said than done.) The general rule is to liberally apply sunscreen
on all exposed body parts (including using lip sunscreen on your
lips) every two hours, but be sure to adjust this depending on your
level of activity. For example, if you've been swimming, sweating
a lot, or if you've just toweled off, you'll probably need to reapply
more frequently. Don't be confused by the higher-SPF sunscreens
out there–using an SPF 15 sunscreen every day you're outside is
just as effective.
And for the record, developing
skin cancer from lounging around in the sun isn't all you have to
worry about. Excessive sun exposure also can cause wrinkles, speed
up aging and make you peel—more good reasons to ask your friends
next time you hit the beach to please pass the sunscreen.
Shweta Govindarajan is a congressional reporter who wouldn't mind teaching Capitol Hill a thing or two about undertones. In addition to feeding her Sephora addiction every chance she gets, Shweta writes about all things beauty for ABCDLady.
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