19 Health and Beauty Questions You Were Too Afraid to Ask, Answered by Experts

Getty / Photo Illustration: Aly Lim

Google has seen some of my deepest, darkest requests. Forget a diary, there comes a time in everyone’s life when the search bar is the safest place for your thoughts, secrets and embarrassing health and beauty questions. From desperate pleas for an explanation as to why the period poo is the worst bowel movement ever, to peaks of curiosity that lead to searches for exactly how many calories one can lose during sex (a preferred form of cardio), there’s a lot that we’d like to know – and not have to ask a friend.

As part of PS UK’s Radical Honesty Issue, we’re dragging these questions out of the shadows of embarrassment and bringing you the answers, direct from experts, so you won’t need to click through to page eight of Google searches to find your tailored response. We’ve worked with Google to sift through some of the most-search health and beauty questions around, as well as sourcing some of our own from readers, friends and family for this list.

We’ll preface by saying that there’s absolutely nothing embarrassing or shameful in learning more about your body and what’s happening to it and, ideally, these are the conversations we’d have with friends, family and most importantly, our healthcare professionals. But we know that might not be the case for everyone. Let’s break down the barrier to health and beauty, no matter how unusual or embarrassing we think our issues or ailments may be.

Below, you can read through our accessible, expert-led guide to some of the most asked “embarrassing” health and beauty questions and their answers.

Why Do I Have Hair Sprouting on My Chin?

Chin hairs are peach fuzz’s annoying older sister that we cannot bear, but Fides Baldesberger, owner of Rubis Tweezers tells PS UK exactly why these wiry hairs appear on our chins and how to get rid of them. She says: “We all have vellus follicles that produce very fine, tiny light-coloured hair on our chins that is often referred to as ‘peach fuzz’. This is called vellus hair and serves the purpose of regulating our body temperature. During puberty, increased production of hormones can cause these follicles to become bigger, and begins making terminal hair, which is longer, coarser, and darker. This is why some chin hairs appear darker than others.

“Plucking your chin hair is a good and safe option of hair removal for this area, but make sure you are keeping your tweezers clean and washing them regularly. Dirty tweezers can lead to breakouts, irritation, and bacteria spreading. Chin hairs are nothing to be ashamed of at any age, but using a pair of pointed slant tweezers and a magnifying mirror will ensure those hairs are plucked swiftly and stay at bay.”

How Many Calories Does Sex Burn?

Your curiostiy might have got the better of you for this one (don’t worry, us too!) so we asked sextoys.co.uk sexologist Gigi Engle to let us know roughly how many calories we could shed during a steamy session. She starts by saying: “Thinking of sex as exercise is just not conducive to creating pleasurable and enjoyable experiences. We should be focusing on connection, pleasure and orgasm – not how many calories we’re burning.

Engle then adds: “With that being said, you burn about 100 calories (cis-men) and 69 calories (cis women), through conventional PIV sex – over the course of an hour. I believe studies on this also include foreplay in these averages. But people rarely have sex for an entire hour. The average sexual session is about 20 minutes, start to finish with foreplay included and oftentimes we’re looking at more like 12-15 minutes. So, for the vast majority of people, this is not going to compensate for going to the gym. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news!”

How Long Do Eyebrows Take to Grow Back?

Gone overboard with your eyebrows or fallen for the no-brows trend and found that it isn’t for you? Well don’t worry we have you covered. We asked Fabiola Hasani, lash technician from 10outof10 exactly how long it takes for your eyebrows to grow back to ease your stress.

Hasani tells PS UK: “It usually varies from person to person, but from having them completely removed it can take six to eight weeks or for a full brow cycle (when your natural hairs shed and regrow) it can be anywhere between three and four months. Again this can vary between individuals as everyone’s growth rate is at a different level. From personal experience when working with clients where I thread the hairs, I can see a client within four weeks and see some growth back but it won’t be to the original form where there’s still growth happening.”

What Should I Do About Thigh-Chafing?

Summer is finally here, but so is the dreaded thigh-chafing season. Katie Sturino, founder of Megababe gave us her top tip on how to free yourself from this inconvenient struggle, and you’ll find that the remedy could be in your local Boots.

“Our Thigh Rescue Anti-Friction Stick (£9) is my holy grail thigh chafe remedy. It’s a balm-like formula that creates a barrier on top of the skin, allowing thighs to easily glide smoothly against each other. There are a few key ingredients in Thigh Rescue that work together to prevent chafing. Aloe helps soothe skin and adds hydrating and cooling properties, while pomegranate seed extract protects the skin’s outer layer. We also include grapeseed oil and ginger root extract, which retain moisture to hydrate and condition skin.”

The PS UK team also shared their favourite anti-thigh chafing products which you can try out too, ensuring that nothing ruins your hot girl walk this summer.

How Do I Get Rid of Acne Scars?

While there’s nothing embarrassing about acne scarring, we understand it might be something you’d like to treat. Dr Vanita Rattan, global skin doctor and CEO of SkincarebyDrV shared her advice on acne scarring, what causes it and which skincare ingredients would be best to treat it.

“Acne scarring refers to the textural changes and indentations that occur on the skin as a result of severe acne. When excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria clog the pores, it can lead to inflammation and breakouts. When damage occurs in the deeper layer of the skin, known as the dermis, the repair process results in the formation of a scar,” she tells us.

“I would always recommend treating the acne first, to prevent scarring and hyperpigmentation. Opt for 2% salicylic acid face wash as its anti-inflammatory at this percentage. It is also a fat-soluble ingredient, so it can go deep into the pore to unclog excess oil and bacteria. To combat brown and red marks, I recommend azelaic acid as it is an antimicrobial and an anti-inflammatory ingredient. Vitamin C functions as a brightening agent, to improve the appearance of dark acne scars.”

If you’re looking for more information about acne treatments, direct from dermatologists like Dr Rattan, as well as more products you could use to help, our Associate Editor, Beauty, Lauren Ezekiel has you covered.

How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

We’ve all been there, when you really, really can’t be bothered to wash your hair because it’s just another chore. Luckily, Kitty Picton at Ken Picton Salon in Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay has revealed how often you need to wash your hair and depending on your hair type, it could be a lot less than you think.

“Generally, finer hair types tend to get greasy more quickly and should be washed more frequently. When your hair loses volume and appears limp or dull, it’s time to wash it. In contrast, those with thicker, curly, or Afro-Caribbean hair, which tends to be drier, can often go longer between washes, perhaps washing once a week or less,” Picton reveals to PS UK.

“Even oily hair can benefit from extending the time between washes. Greasy hair doesn’t necessarily mean you need to wash it more often; the choice of product is crucial. For drier hair types, less frequent washing allows natural oils to moisturise the hair. Hair that is coloured, over-processed, or curly can benefit from washing once or twice a week to retain natural moisture.

“Lifestyle factors also influence how often you should shampoo. If you engage in sweaty workouts, use a lot of styling products, or work in polluted environments, you may need to wash your hair more frequently. Ultimately, the best routine varies for each individual, depending on their hair type and lifestyle.”

How Do I Fix an Ingrown Toenail?

Toes can be unnecessarily sensitive at times, one wrong snip and boom, you’ve got an ingrown toenail. They aren’t embarrassing, but leaving it to fester and cause unbearable pain can be, which is why Bee Napasorn, nail technician at Blush and Blow London has a few tips to care for and eventually fix your ingrown, and to make sure you don’t get one again.

“When it comes to ingrown toenails, do not try to cut it yourself, nor pick at it … especially if it is deep or infected. If you’re in the early stages and there is no ‘puss’, you can soften the skin by soaking your feet in warm salty water. Then it is advised to keep your feet dry for the rest of the day. If you’re suffering with an ingrown, it’s important to keep your shoe choice comfortable – no pointed heels!” Napasorn advises.

“If your toenail doesn’t grow out itself, or becomes infected, your GP will likely give you some antibiotics and refer you to a foot doctor. Your foot doctor can show you the best way to cut your toenails to prevent an ingrown nail from returning; such as cutting the nail straight across the top (and leaving the edges). We wouldn’t recommend having gels or polish on your toes when you have an ingrown toenail due to the risk of infection.”

How to Stop Excessive Sweating?

Find yourself sweating a lot more than normal? You might have hyperhidrosis, but don’t worry as this isn’t as daunting as it sounds. Dr Hana Patel, NHS GP and GP medico-legal expert witness breaks it down for us.

“Hyperhidrosis is a common condition in which a person sweats excessively. Sweating may affect the whole of your body, or it may only affect certain areas. The common areas of the body that may be affected (and usually both sides of the body are equally affected) are: armpits, palms of your hands, soles of your feet, face and chest, groin,” Dr Patel explains.

“Whilst it does not usually make people unwell, it can be embarrassing. Doctors usually recommend starting with the least invasive treatment first, such as powerful antiperspirants. Lifestyle changes may also help, including:

  • Wearing loose and light clothes,
  • Avoiding triggers, such as alcohol and spicy foods, that could make your sweating worse,
  • Wearing black or white clothes to help minimise the signs of sweating.”
  • Why Is a Period Poo the Worst?

    Yep, we said it and we know you’re thinking it and searching it, too! Period poos can often feel like you might pass away right there on the toilet, as if we needed anymore pain and discomfort while in the midst of our menstrual cycles. Dr Andrea Maduro, medical advisor at Flo Health explains why these bowel movements hurt so much and gives an insight to what’s going on inside our bodies.

    She says: “It’s common for your poop to change with your menstrual cycle. Research shows 73% of women experience gastrointestinal symptoms like constipation and diarrhoea before and during their period. Hormonal, mood, and physical changes throughout the cycle can affect your digestive system, leading to changes in bowel habits. This is especially true for those with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, or endometriosis.

    “During your period, your body releases prostaglandins, which cause your uterus to contract and shed its lining. These contractions can also affect your bowels, leading to more frequent pooping or diarrhoea. Remember, pooping is a normal part of life. However, if period-related bowel changes bother you, affect your quality of life, or if you see blood in your poop or your symptoms persist, talk to your doctor,” Dr Maduro adds.

    Why Do I Have Dark Underarms?

    As summer comes around, you might have noticed darker skin in your armpits. Skin expert Dr Rattan explains that this is caused by melanocytes are producing too much pigment in this localised area.

    She tells PS UK: “This can be due to many causes such as puberty where different areas of the body darken, acanthosis nigricans where thickened and velvety skin forms in folds of the body or inflammation from triggers such as eczema, deodorants, shaving or infection.”

    Sharing a handy skincare routine to brighten your underarms, Dr Rattan suggests implementing these products and steps into your body care regime. “Start by washing the body with an unfragranced wash then applying an antiperspirant deodorant. At nighttime, wash the body again and apply your tyrosinase inhibitors – ingredients which slow down the melanin production for that area. My favourites are kojic acid, alpha arbutin, and licorice root extract. Also use a fatty moisturiser to create a healing environment for the skin.

    “If shaving, avoid going over the underarms with your razor multiple times as this can cause shaving burns and exacerbate irritation. Also, check if you have a nickel allergy that may be causing underarm hyperpigmentation, ensuring your razor does not contain nickel. As a doctor, I have formulated SkincarebyDrV’s Body Pigmentation Kit (£95) as a professional grade treatment cream suitable for home use, to target underarm pigmentation.”

    Why Do I Have Pimples Around My Private Area and How Can I Prevent Them?

    Pimples around your genital area can be uncomfortable and irritating, but while the presence of these blemishes isn’t ideal, it’s typically nothing too serious, as Dr Michael Krychman, chief medical consultant at Überlube tells PS UK.

    He says: “Pimples in the genital private area are known as genital pimples. These blemishes are rather common and can be seen in both men and women. Although they cause distress in the individual and can be somewhat embarrassing, they are typically not serious medical conditions. Genital pimples can be caused by many factors, some common causes include trapped sweat or bodily fluids, ingrown pubic hairs (cut or trimmed too close), inflamed and irritated hair follicles and even some hormonal changes.

    “Pores that are clogged, or contact dermatitis, which is skin inflammation caused by contact with caustic physical or chemical agents can also be the culprit. If you are experiencing increased skin friction that is causing genital pimples, a simple solution may be to use a small amount of a premium silicone-based lubricant like the Überlube Silicone Lubricant (£30), which can act as a protective barrier,” Dr Krychman suggests.

    How Can You Get Rid of Dandruff Quickly?

    Dandruff can be unsightly and while there are a number of products you could reach for, here’s the treatments Kitty Picton recommends for sorting dandruff quickly.

    “Dandruff is believed to result from a combination of genetics, allergies, sensitivities, and an imbalance of scalp microbes,” she says. “These microbes, such as bacteria, yeasts, and fungi, consume the natural oils on your skin, producing by-products that can cause the body to react with shedding and inflammation. Dandruff is unrelated to hygiene and isn’t caused by how often you wash your hair. It occurs when the scalp’s natural shedding cycle speeds up, leading to uneven exfoliation, excessive shedding, and buildup. The resulting itchiness and irritation can affect any hair or skin type.”

    Picton adds: “To manage dandruff, avoid shampoos containing sulphates, which can be harsh on sensitive scalps. Instead, opt for shampoos with an essential oil base. Regular deep treatments, such as scalp oil treatments, can be beneficial. These treatments not only help manage dandruff but also leave your hair looking and feeling better.

    “Brushing your hair can also help reduce dandruff by stimulating the scalp and gently exfoliating cell buildup. In severe cases, persistent dandruff may require a prescription from a dermatologist.”

    How Do I Get Rid of Excessive Bloat?

    Being bloated is one thing, but feeling like your stomach might literally explode is another level entirely. Dr Patel shares her tips for avoiding excessive bloat, but if you’re concerned about your bloat and how it’s making you feel, arrange to see your GP.

    Dr Patel says: “Wind and bloating are common symptoms in bowel conditions such as IBS. Constipation can cause wind and bloating. If you have constipation predominant IBS, managing this with these steps can improve wind and bloating symptoms:

  • Do not rush your food. Take the time to eat slowly and chew each mouthful well,
  • Do not overeat. Reduce the size of your portions at mealtimes, or try eating four to five small meals instead of three large ones.
  • Eat regularly and try not to skip meals,
  • Avoid eating a big meal just before you go to bed. Eat your last meal at least two to three hours before lying down,
  • Make sure you have plenty of water to drink,
  • Try to avoid binge drinking as this increases acid production in your stomach, and can cause heartburn and aggravate other digestive disorders.”
  • I Love Someone’s Look But Am Too Embarrassed to Ask Where They Got It – How Can I Find It?

    Spotted a woman wearing a chic leopard print jacket and dying to know where she got it but can’t work up the confidence to ask? Or maybe a guy wearing a pair of trainers you’d love to buy, but don’t want him to think you’re about to ask him out? Lou Wang, product manager for Google Lens has the perfect alternative for you – minus the embarrassment.

    “Lens is my favourite search feature, because it helps you search for what you see,” Wang informs PS UK. “You don’t need to spend minutes describing a pair of trainers in search – if you see a cool pair on the tube, you can snap a photo on your phone and quickly find the exact pair or even see if you can find them in a different colour. Lens is powered by AI and it’s continued to grow in popularity, with billions of visual searches happening every single month.

    “What’s more, on select Android phones, you can now ‘Circle to Search’ – you no longer need to navigate away from the app that you’re using – simply circle, highlight, scribble, or tap text or images anywhere on your screen to select and search for what you’re seeking,” he adds.

    Google Lens is available on all Android devices, and via the Google app on iOS.

    How to Get Rid of Back Acne?

    You can’t see it, but you know it’s there. Whether you caught a glimpse of it in the mirror, or feel discomfort from it, your back acne might be something you’re keen to treat and Dr Rattan tells us how.

    “Back acne often resolves on its own, but a gentle AHA/BHA/PHA body exfoliator one to two times a week will help to unclog the pores and brighten the skin again. However, back acne that is pustular – when pus forms under the skin – can be troublesome aesthetically, painful and lead to bacterial infection. It could also be a sign of acne vulgaris which can be a result of hormonal changes, improper diet, increased stress or neglect of skincare. You want to reduce excess sebum, unclog the pores, restore the normal PH to the skin and reduce inflammation to the skin.

    Dr Rattan suggest washing your body with 5% benzoyl peroxide. “On alternate days, I would use 2% salicylic acid body wash to treat the acne,” she advises. “If you are dealing with acne scarring on the back, opt for a collagen stimulating body wash to help with the appearance of dark marks. In the shower, do not scrub the skin as you will aggravate the skin, removing the barrier. What happens from over scrubbing is trans epidermal water loss, which will lead to inflammation and ultimately, another flare up.

    “Don’t reuse towels and wash bedding often to avoid bacterial buildup. I would avoid fabric softeners and soap bars, as this can lead to another flare up due to their dehydrating nature.”

    How Do I Tweeze Hair From Unwanted Places?

    You’ll probably want to get your hair removal right the first time you try it, so before reaching for your tweezers, keep reading for Baldesberger’s tips on how to get rid of your hair in unwanted places.

  • Unibrow: Baldesberger prefaces her advice but explaing that if you choose to remove brow hair between your brows, you will of course get regrowth. She says: “This regrowth can be stubble or super fine hairs, but what you don’t want to do when plucking these hairs is risk an imbalance of where your brow starts and throw off your entire brow shape. Pointed tweezers, like Rubis’ Pointed Slant Tweezers (£26), are ultra-precise making them perfect for the unibrow regrowth as you can target each individual hair. Step back between each hair pluck to check, then target the next hair and repeat.”
  • Toe hairs: Toe hairs are totally normal and common, and you can tweeze them away if you wish to. Baldesberger tells us: “They normally grow quite thick and coarse, but they grow at the same pace as leg hair which is around four weeks. If you want to pluck them sooner than that, use tweezers with a pointed slant, which are perfect for removing short and stubble hairs. Hold each toe down and flat and tweeze one hair at a time, in the direction of growth, and remove directly from the root.”
  • Upper lip: “Opt for flat tip tweezers as these are perfect for thick hair and grabbing directly from the root. It’s important with all hair plucking that you pull directly from the root as continuously doing this can decrease hair regrowth and, in some cases, lead to hair not growing there anymore at all,” Baldesberger advises.
  • Ingrowns: “If you’re someone who does struggle with lots of ingrown hairs; needlenose tweezers are perfect for you. I must stress that you shouldn’t use tweezers to ever grab a hair from under the skin!” Baldesberger insists. “You should wait until the tip of the ingrown hair reaches above the skin, and then use the needlenose tweezer to remove the hair. Needlenose tweezers ensure that only that one hair is targeted and no damage is done to the surrounding skin.”
  • Why Are Period Cramps So Painful?

    It’s no surprise if you’re wondering why your period cramps have to be so painful. The pain and discomfort will have you dreading the arrival of your menstrual cycle, but if it’s any consolation, Dr Maduro from Flo Health has explained the method to your period cramps’ madness.

    She tells PS UK: “Period cramps, or dysmenorrhea, are a common part of the monthly cycle. Over half of women experience period pain for one or two days each month, with severity varying based on individual menstrual cycles and lifestyle factors. For some, the pain is mild, but for about 10%, it’s severe enough to disrupt daily life.

    “There are two types: primary and secondary dysmenorrhea. Primary dysmenorrhea is caused by prostaglandins, hormone-like chemicals in the uterus that help it contract to shed its lining. Secondary dysmenorrhea results from other gynecologic conditions like endometriosis, adenomyosis, or fibroids, with endometriosis being the most common. This condition involves tissue similar to the uterine lining growing outside the uterus, causing pain and sometimes forming scar tissue.”

    Dr Maduro adds: “Secondary dysmenorrhea typically lasts longer than regular menstrual cramps, starting a few days before the period and often worsening over time. Lifestyle factors like diet and exercise can impact period pain, but severe pain should not be a regular disruption. If you’re concerned about period cramps or notice a change in severity, consult your GP. Treatments are available for both primary and secondary dysmenorrhea, so you don’t have to suffer alone.”

    Why Are My Armpits So Itchy After I Shave?

    All you wanted were hairless armpits, why should you be subject itchy punishment after a simple hair removal session? Dr Gunvor Ekman Ordeberg, OB/GYN and co-founder of DeoDoc Intimate Skincare tells PS UK that the trauma you’ve caused your skin could be the reason.

    “Most hair removal techniques are a trauma for the skin which means that the skin can be irritated and itch,” she explains. “The armpits are extra irritation-prone due to external factors outside of shaving, such as the way our skin curves and folds when moving. Additionally, it rubs against usually tight clothing during any movement which can cause chafing and further irritation.

    “To avoid this, begin by preparing the skin with the DeoDoc Pre-Shave Oil (£28), add it on in the shower, and do not wash it off. The oil helps to soften the hair prior to shaving and protects the skin against the razor. After shaving, immediately apply an after-shave balm to help prevent irritation and soothe itching. We recommend using the balm for five days straight post-shave, morning and night for the best results, as the skin needs hydration post-shave.”

    Why Is My Hair Falling Out?

    If you’re finding an unusual amount of shedding when brushing your hair, or clumps in the shower, you might be wondering why your hair is falling out and Kitty Picton has three potential causes for you. However, if you’re concerned about your hair loss, chat with your hair stylist or GP.

  • Traction Alopecia: Picton explains that this type of hair loss is caused by repetitive stress or tension on the hair follicles, often due to hairstyling practices like tight ponytails, braids, clip-in hair pieces, and weaves.

    She tells us: “These styles can compromise the hair follicles’ ability to produce and maintain healthy hair. The continuous abuse of the follicle can diminish blood flow and nutrients to the hair, leading to fine, sparse hair or bald patches. Afro-Caribbean women are particularly susceptible due to the fragility of their hair and the tendency to use intricate styles.”

  • Stress: Stress can impact both mental and physical well-being, including hair health. High levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, trigger the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response, diverting resources away from hair growth.

    Picton says: “This can lead to a condition where the hair’s growth cycle is disrupted, causing more hair to enter the shedding phase. Addressing the underlying stressors can help the body recover and restore the natural hair growth cycle. Hair thinning can also indicate deficiencies in iron, vitamin D, B12, or protein. A diet lacking in these nutrients, especially for vegetarians and vegans, can lead to less full and glossy hair.”

  • Hormonal Changes: Finally, pregnancy hormones can make hair look thick and glossy, but post-pregnancy, many women experience significant hair loss. Picton says this is due to telogen effluvium, where hairs that were kept in the growth phase during pregnancy suddenly move into the shedding phase.

    “Similarly, hormonal changes during menopause can lead to hair thinning. With age, hair growth slows, and strands become thinner and lighter. During perimenopause, the decrease in oestrogen levels and the relative increase in testosterone can cause hair to thin and not regenerate as effectively,” she adds.

  • Lauren Gordon is the editorial coordinator at PS UK, where she creates lifestyle and identity content. Lauren has a degree in journalism from University of the Arts London and previously worked as a showbiz and TV reporter at The Mirror US. Lauren specialises in pop culture, hair and beauty, focusing on trends, sharing in-depth tutorials, and highlighting hidden gems in the beauty industry.

    Related Posts
    Latest Beauty
    The End.

    The next story, coming up!