The wine is flowing, the dopamine raging, and before you know it, you’ve wound up in a racy romp session that could rival the bookcase scene in Atonement.
And it’s not uncommon. Despite it being a subject most women don’t exactly want to talk about out loud, it’s something we all tend to go through at some point in our sexual lives.
In fact, according to the University of Manchester, 138 million women suffer from recurrent thrush and 75 per cent of women will experience thrush at least once in their lives—and that’s just one of the more common conditions we have stats for.
So, if you’re a little too shy to talk about it but want some advice on how to relieve, heal or avoid symptoms from your latest sexcapade, read on for our Sporteluxe guide on how to solve or ‘soothe’ all your skin woes with help from cosmetic physician Dr Phoebe Jones.
“This dreaded condition is often caused by extended kissing sessions with someone with scratchy stubble on their face. The sharp hairs essentially cause little micro tears over the face leading to minor raw areas and sometimes folliculitis (irritation of the hair follicles) on the recipient’s face, leading it to be quite sore and red, if not a little embarrassing,” says Dr Jones.
“Prevention is best. If your skin is quite sensitive, you might want to warn your partner that they won’t be getting much action unless they are either clean shaven or have grown their beard a bit longer past the very spikey phase.”
“But in the event of the dreaded pash rash already developing, firstly, abstain from extended make-out sessions and also use a soothing moisturising skin care products that are specific for sensitive or baby skin as most regular products are laden with fragrances and additives that could further aggravate the problem.”
“This is a friction burn that is commonly resulted from the rubbing of the two skin surfaces together,” explains Dr Jones.
“Ideally you want to prevent it and the best way to do that is to keep the thighs dry, as wet conditions and sweat can worsen and predispose you to the issue. Talcum powders can be useful to use to prevent the buildup of sweat as can clean dry, moisture wicking clothes (i.e. don’t remain in wet or sweaty clothes for a long time).”
“If you know you are likely to chafe during exercise (or during a bedroom workout) you can use petroleum jelly to lubricate the area, so skin surfaces glide across each other with less friction as this will be less likely to lead to chafe,” says Jones.
“If you do end up with a raw chafed area it is important to keep it very clean to prevent infection and give the skin a chance to heal.”
“Any girl who’s had this issue knows the itch can drive you mad if it’s left untreated. This infection occurs when the good and bad microbiome within the vagina are out of balance… leading to a yeast infection,” says Dr Jones.
“It can also often happen if you have a recently new sexual partner because your microbiome is exposed to a different one, so showering and cleaning after sex can be helpful.”
“Other things that can cause thrush include antibiotics, diabetes and a compromised immune system. So if you are getting it frequently, get checked out by your GP. Otherwise to prevent it post-sex, keep the area clean and dry, wear cotton underwear and wash with water in the shower and don’t use regular soap or body wash as they can cause irritation and possibly thrush,” says Dr Jones.
“While I have heard of many home remedies such as putting unsweetened yoghurt covered tampons into your vagina, I wouldn’t recommend this. It’s best to make a trip to the pharmacy and get medically proven treatment.”
“A bruise caused by negative pressure (through suction of the mouth) over the skin on any area of the recipient’s body, often the neck, a hickey isn’t the world but can look a little questionable in the office or in front of clients,” says Dr Jones.
“To make the bruise go away quickly you can use haemorrhoid cream, arnica cream or take arnica tablets. Or if you have more time you can visit a cosmetic doctor and get a vascular laser which gets rid of bruises more quickly. Otherwise, a scarf may be your best bet!”
“Note, in terms of prevention, if you and your partner love giving each other hickeys, you can make bruises less severe by drinking pineapple juice prior to your love-making session. Pineapple juice contains bromelain which decreases the bruising severity!”
“Breast pimples most often occur in people with androgen fluctuations and those already suffering acne,” says Dr Jones.
“Poor diet and stress can often trigger it but as can sitting in sweaty clothes and using inadequate cleansers or creams, as they can work to worsen the situation. Instead, try a twice-daily AHA wash, a BHA toner or serum, a light lotion to moisturise and spot treatment with benzoyl peroxide and/or salicylic acid. Then if it still doesn’t work you can always ask your GP for topical tretinoin.”
“Ingrown hairs happen when the hair doesn’t exit the hair follicle properly and grows back in on itself, leading to irritation, red bumps and pustules (and in the worst case, an abscess or scarring),” says Dr Jones.
“First thing is to stop hair removal or change your current hair removal method. Some people find their symptoms worse with either shaving or waxing. Ideally those with darker hair maybe best to opt for laser hair removal as it can prevents the hair growing at all.”
‘The important thing is to prevent the buildup of dead skin so that the hairs can exit the follicle properly. This can be done with gentle mechanical exfoliation with a warm wet wash cloth and if you want—topical AHAs and retinols. If the hair is superficial you can use a fresh sterile needle from the chemist to flick it out, making sure you have cleaned the area with an alcohol swab first (and hands are clean). If you have developed an abscess you will have to go to the GP to get it lanced,” says Dr Jones.
“This can be a very embarrassing situation for a lot of women and while it’s normal for the vagina to have a slight salty smell to it, its smell can change during cycles or if a STIs has occurred,” says Dr Jones.
“If the smell is more foul smelling it can be indicative of gonorrheas or chlamydia, if it smells extra strong and salty it may be trichomoniasis, if it smells extra strong and fishy it maybe a bacterial infection such as vaginitis or if it smells sweet or beer-like smelling it may be a yeast infection.”
“First step is to practice good hygiene. Wash the area twice a day and after sex with warm water. Wear cotton underwear and change them twice a day. Only wipe from front to back and whatever you do – don’t spray perfume on it!”