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Whether it’s working up stress sweat in the office or working it off in the gym, excessive sweating is just one of the common problems we busy women have to deal with, but don’t really want to talk about. In fact, according to a study conducted by Rexona and Galaxy in 2014, it’s gotten so bad that 370,000 of us have even considered getting Botox under our arms so we don’t have to worry about it anymore.
Throw in, body acne, ingrown hairs and thrush to the list of common problems we all face but nobody wants to talk about. Well, nobody except Dr Ginni Mansberg that is! We quizzed Channel 7’s resident GP about some of the most common embarrassing body issues women face and how best to deal with them.
What are some common embarrassing body issues you see among a lot of your female patients?
Being a girl just comes with an encyclopaedia of things to be embarrassed about! Boobs too big? Too small? Lop sided? Nipples too big? Too much cellulite or blotchiness on your butt? Very few girls I see love their bodies.
Let’s talk through some of these embarrassing body issues. First, excessive sweating. It’s something that a lot of women worry about, isn’t it? What are the causes?
Lots of women do worry about sweating. We know it will happen when we are hot. But it also happens when we are nervous or for no reason at all if you’re in the hormonal hell of peri menopause or have polycystic ovarian syndrome. Sweat comes from two types of glands. The eccrine glands, which pump out the standard salt and water combo and whose main function is to cool your body. And the mysterious and very annoying apocrine sweat glands that live in hairy skin like armpits and groin. They pumps out sweat that is also packed full of goodies like protein and fat. These are great food for bacteria that live on your skin and are responsible for producing BO fumes!
We’ve heard a lot lately about the term ‘stress sweating’ and found that Rexona Clinical Protection is a stand out product in protecting against sweat. How is stress sweat different from sweat that results from exercise?
The sweat is similar. Both apocrine and eccrine sweat glands respond to the call from the sympathetic nervous system that controls the ‘fight or flight’ response. Stress doesn’t change the actual composition of the sweat.
Clinical strength deodorants, such as Rexona Clinical Protection, are amazing at protecting the body against stress sweat. What is it about clinical deodorants that protect the body?
The Royal Australian College of General practitioners recommends having 20% or more aluminium helps reduce sweating.
What about body acne? What are some of the causes? And how can it be worsened by exercise?
Bacne and chest acne can be really common, even in older women. Generally, it is due to a combination of:
- A hormonal imbalance that increases the amount of testosterone to activate oil production in the skin.
- Higher numbers of bacteria on the skin. Excess sweat, including from exercise, can help this along.
- Clogged pores or hair follicles in which bacteria can get trapped.
My top tips for beating body acne would be to keep cool, which reduces sweat, and to wash excess bacteria off your skin using an antibacterial wash or soap. If it continues, see your GP about hormone tests and maybe a testosterone reducing diet and medication combo.
What about ingrown hairs? How can you deal with them?
Ingrown hairs are so common! They are caused when a hair is blunt cut and naturally curly. So it hits the surface of the skin and, unable to pierce it’s way through, starts curling underneath the skin surface.
My top tips for dealing with ingrown hairs are:
- To moisturise the skin. Soft skin gets pierced more easily by the emerging hair!
- Shave in the direction of your hair growth, which causes less trauma to skin.
- Avoid shaving too close to the skin or shave less often.
- When shaving use shaving cream or foam. The detergent in the soaps removes the natural oils on the skin. This makes the hairs stand up like soldiers, making them easier to shave.
- Go for permanent hair removal!
Finally, yeast infections? What are some of the causes? Can any of them be related to being active or the type of underwear you wear when exercising?
Infections due to candida species are common and can be difficult to treat. Thrush loves a warm wet environment. All the better if the vagina or vulva has some extra oestrogen (from pregnancy or some pills) or sugar (from diabetes). Or if you’ve had some antibiotics, which also knock off the good bacteria that keep candida numbers in check.
Experts suggest switching to all cotton underwear, even though this is more intuitive advice than stemming from any real scientific evidence. The easiest treatment is to go to a pharmacist and buy some cream over the counter for vulval thrush or a pessary for vaginal thrush. If that doesn’t work, book in to see your doctor.