We've been enjoying some nice weather and warmer temperatures across and with the coming of summer, comes a few other embarrassing body problems many of my patients have a hard time talking to me about. In a previous article, I covered the embarrassment of feet odour, chafing and dairy intolerance. Here are 3 more embarrassing summer time problems and how to fix them without having to "ask for a friend."
Challenge #1: The Dreaded Cankle
Flirty summer dresses are in fashion every July and August, but you might feel shy about wearing your favourite with a pair of strappy sandals. Water retention caused by the heat can swell your ankles providing for that dreaded "cankle" look.
Water retention happens when fluid is not properly removed from body tissue. This can happen in hot weather. Heat causes blood vessels to expand, and body heat loss is encouraged. Body fluid can move into the hands and legs, which explains why your rings can get tight on your hand on a hot summer day, and why you might experience swelling in the ankles (that cankle look).
The solution: Drink lots of water to help flush your system. Stay active to help sweat out excess fluids (too vigorous a workout, though, can create more water retention so keep it toned down in the heat). And watch your sodium intake: salt can cause the body to retain more water. Also, add potassium rich foods to your diet to offset sodium in the body. Try banana and avocado as potassium rich foods. After a long day in the heat, compressions socks feel great and help.
Challenge #2: Sweaty Armpits and Yellowing Shirts
The summer heat causes beneficial sweating, which is your body's clever way of maintaining a preferable body temperature. Sweating is a very good thing, though we often look upon it with frustration and embarrassment, especially when we look down to see some sopping armpits during important meetings.
The solution: The best way to combat sweat in the summer is to cool the body when you feel overheated - a cold glass of water does wonders. Wear fabrics that wick moisture away from the body and allow the body to sweat and breathe without constriction. Sweating at other times in your day will also help create an overall stasis - try hot yoga, infrared saunas and exercise to rid the body of built-up toxins.
The yellow stains on your favourite light coloured shirts are actually not caused solely by sweat. These stains are caused by your sweat interacting with antiperspirant or deodorant. Try a natural product to help avoid these stains but still get odour and sweat protection to help you through the summer.
Challenge #3: Back Breakouts
It is swimsuit season and time to bare your back, which for some people might not be flawless. Blemishes on the body are not uncommon, and contrary to belief, not isolated to a specific time of our lives (adolescence). Acne can form anywhere on the body where pores or hair follicles can become clogged with dead skin and oil. The pores on your back are in fact larger than the pores on your face, and so it is not unusual for them to become clogged.
The solution: The best way to treat back acne is with anti-bacterial washes and essential oils (don't be afraid of "oils" like tea tree oil and coconut oil - they contain anti-bacterial properties and are beneficial in treating acne). You should always shower after a workout to help cleanse the body of impurities arising out of the pores during sweating. And a diet of whole foods and plenty of fluids will cleanse the skin from the inside out. Acne, anywhere on the body, can also be a symptom of a food sensitivity. It is a good idea to speak with your naturopath about any new patterns of acne and what might be triggering these breakouts.
Summer is a time to get out, and not hide behind embarrassing problems. I hope these insider's tips have helped you, and your "friend."