No one is immune to a bad mental health day. Not even Only Murders in the Building star Selena Gomez, who recently shared one of the self-care strategies she relies on to care for her health when overwhelming bipolar disorder symptoms strike.During a candid conversation at the Music and Health Summit in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Gomez talked about what it’s like to struggle with her mental health in the public eye. One notable revelation: The bedroom—which many people consider a safe space to get some R&R—brings the “Single Soon” singer back to some of her toughest days.“The bedroom is a real trigger for me [from] when I was going through psychosis,” Gomez said. “Going through that whole period of my life, it was my bed that I was stuck to.” Being able to recognize the circumstances that lead to a manic or depressive episode can be a lifeline for people with bipolar disorder, since those triggers are often harder to identify than the symptoms themselves, psychiatrist Ludmilla De Faria, MD, recently told SELF.This isn’t the Rare Beauty founder’s first time opening up about this dark time in her life. Her highs and lows would last “weeks or months at a time,” Gomez told Rolling Stone in 2022. “It would start with depression, then it would go into isolation. Then, it was me not being able to move from my bed,” she recalled. “Sometimes, it was weeks I’d be in bed, to where even walking downstairs would get me out of breath.”Though Gomez has said that going to therapy—as well as treatment centers at her lowest points—has certainly improved her mental health, being aware of the things that set off her mood swings also helps her cope on her own. Leaving her bedroom and surrounding herself with others, for example, is one way in which she now takes care of herself. “Even just with one person, and they could be washing the dishes or doing nothing and just being in their presence would really help me,” she told the Music and Health Summit crowd.Although Gomez was officially diagnosed five years ago, the actor admitted at the event that coping with her condition is still an ebb and flow process. “You can be in a room full of people and still feel terribly alone, and I know that feeling isn’t the best, but working through that…has been helping me,” she said.However, understanding her triggers and symptoms and learning how to respond to them has been an important step toward embracing bipolar disorder. In Gomez’s own words: “I just have to understand and make it my friend. I’m always going to have what I’m diagnosed with, so it’s just about living with it freely.”Related:
Having your teeth poked and prodded with scary-sounding and pointy tools can make even the bravest people squirm in their seats (or in this case, a dentist’s chair). As nerve-racking as dental appointments can be, though, it’s important to schedule a check-up every six months. And perhaps the most important factor that’ll determine whether or not you have a comfortable vs. frightening visit is the provider you choose, Marina Gonchar, DMD, a board-certified orthodontist and owner of Skin to Smile in New Jersey, tells SELF.“So many people are scared of going to the dentist for a variety of reasons, including previous bad experiences, lack of knowledge about what to expect, or even fear of the costs associated with many treatments,” Dr. Gonchar says. These are very valid concerns, of course, but finding a dentist who helps you feel safe and supported can alleviate a lot of those stressors—and most providers should go out of their way to minimize any discomfort or anxiety, she adds.On the flip side, a dentist who keeps pressuring you into unnecessary procedures or leaves you in the dark about how painful a root canal actually is can be enough to scare you off for good. With that in mind, here are some major red flags to be mindful of before you book your next dentist appointment.1. They don’t have proper credentials.A fancy degree on the wall and a crisp white coat can make anyone look legit, but just because a dentist seems impressive, doesn’t mean they are. As a general rule, you can look up their license and renewal status online because it’s public information, Chrystle Cu, DDS, a dentist at Young Dental Group in San Mateo, California, and founder of Cocofloss, tells SELF. (You can find these facts for every state here or here).If you’re not sure what exactly to look for, or this whole vetting process is seriously intimidating you, Dr. Cu recommends first checking their degree—and specifically making sure you see DDS (doctor of dental surgery) or DMD (doctor of medicine in dentistry) after their name if they’re practicing in the US or Canada. (According to the American Dental Association, both degrees are pretty much the same and involve similar training.) So only having a PhD in oral biology, for instance, doesn’t qualify someone to take a drill to your mouth, regardless of how knowledgeable they are about the field.2. They don’t discuss your dental history.Any qualified dentist should be able to immediately spot a really bad cavity or loose filling. But they might not be able to see your predisposition for gum disease or harmful habits like teeth grinding at first glance—and even if they can, that’s something they should discuss with you during your first visit, Dr. Cu says.For one thing, failing to consider your health history before treating you can be dangerous. Certain materials commonly used in dentistry, like latex, can trigger an allergic reaction in some people, for example, while other folks may respond badly to particular pain meds, such as opioids. And if you have a condition like diabetes or high blood pressure, that might also impact your oral health as well as your treatment options, Dr. Cu says.3. They push you to get a non-emergency procedure on the spot.It’s one thing to need a fractured or infected tooth treated ASAP, especially if you haven’t been to the dentist in a while and your health is at stake. For the most part, though, any complex procedure (such as wisdom tooth extraction or dental implants) will be planned weeks in advance, Dr. Gonchar and Dr. Cu say. Rushing you into a non-emergency treatment at your first appointment may be an attempt to prioritize profits, since surgeries and other invasive measures typically involve higher fees than routine check-ups, Dr. Gonchar adds.4. They keep suggesting cosmetic treatments that you didn’t ask for.Some of us go to the dentist in pursuit of the sparkliest, straightest, pearliest of whites. Others just want the bare minimum: A professional to tell us whether or not our teeth are healthy so we can move on with our lives.
Unless you managed to completely avoid your screens over the weekend, you’re probably well aware that Coco Gauff is a phenom. Despite the sweltering 90-degree New York heat, the American teen won the US Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday, beating World No. 2 player Aryna Sabalenka—and immediately bursting into happy tears after her match point.Gauff’s big win—her first Grand Slam title—at just 19 years old was thrilling for many tennis fans, but her killer backhand isn’t the only reason she deserves superstar status. Her influence goes beyond the court, and if the thousands of social media posts about her star power are any indication, it’s her charisma and great personality (coupled with her formidable sporting skills) that have truly won over everyone’s hearts.Whether you’ve been following Gauff from the jump or started going down a fandom rabbit hole after Saturday’s championship match, we’re here to give you all the more reason(s) to stan Gauff—a tennis legend in the making, a symbol of representation, and an inspiration all around.Her instantly iconic victory speech.In true legend fashion, Gauff thanked not only her family and fans (hi!) but shouted out the haters, too, saying: “Those who thought they were putting water on my fire, you were really adding gas to it. Now I’m really burning so bright right now.”She continued to acknowledge folks who doubted her skills during her post-match interview, as well. “I felt like people were like, ‘it was all hype.’ I see the comments,” Gauff said. “People think I don’t see, but I’m very aware of Tennis Twitter. I know y’all’s usernames. I know who’s talking trash. I can’t wait to look on Twitter right now.”Not only is it badass that a teenager isn’t letting mean comments mess with her head, but the resilience, positivity, and poise Gauff exhibited in her speech were pretty damn cool to witness.Her inspirational journey, from a fan in the stands to a US Open champ.If you didn’t know much about Gauff before this weekend, she actually first shot to fame after defeating one of her idols, Venus Williams, at Wimbledon back in 2019—at only 15 years old! But that technically wasn’t her first time appearing at a major match.A viral throwback video circulating online shows an adorable 8-year-old Gauff cheering and dancing from the bleachers at the 2012 US Open. Little did tiny Coco know that a decade later, she would be the center of attention as the crowd went wild for her.Her willingness to be vulnerable.Tennis is a famously hard sport, mentally, to compete in, and being compared to GOATs like Serena Williams and having all eyes on you adds a ton of additional pressure and stress. It’s no surprise, then, that Gauff has dealt with her fair share of frustration and disappointment when she doesn’t perform as well as she’d hoped.
If you’ve ever struggled with stubborn pimples or painful cystic acne, chances are you’ve come across Accutane as a potential treatment option. And while you’re probably well aware that it can help clear up persistent breakouts, the popular prescription medication is rumored to have another, unexpected side effect: “shrinking” your nose.Yep, you read that correctly, and there are plenty of photos on social media that apparently support this alleged phenomenon. In a viral video with more than 9 million views, for example, one TikToker insists Accutane delivered a “nose job in [her] sleep” and presents a teenage selfie as evidence. (Though to be fair, she also admits she didn’t know how to use makeup to contour her face back then.)But, hold on: Despite tons of other similar claims circulating online, these accounts are exaggerated at best and, to put it frankly, kind of BS, according to the dermatologists we spoke with.First, how does Accutane work?Just in case you don’t already know, Accutane (or isotretinoin) is a super potent oral retinoid meant to improve severe and persistent acne. It’s usually a last-resort option for folks who haven’t responded to other less aggressive treatments like antibiotics or prescription-strength topical solutions, such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.The science behind what causes acne is pretty complicated (hence why it can be so damn hard to address). In essence, Accutane works by reducing excess sebum, a thick, oily substance naturally produced by your skin’s sebaceous glands (found underneath your hair follicles). Too much sebum can clog your pores and lead to breakouts, Ife Rodney, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Eternal Dermatology in Maryland, tells SELF.“As a result, [Accutane is] a great and pretty popular option for treating persistent acne and minimizing redness or inflammation,” Dr. Rodney says. But like any prescription medication, it comes with the risk of unpleasant (and for some, intolerable) side effects—which we’ll get into in a minute.So can Accutane actually shrink your nose?In short, no. Let’s backtrack to the drug’s ability to reduce sebum production. A whole lot of sebaceous glands are concentrated on your nose. (Yep, we’re talking about those teeny-tiny holes you’ve probably squeezed at.) Because of Accutane’s oil-minimizing effect, your skin might become less congested or greasy-feeling after taking it, Joshua Zeichner, MD, the director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Department of Dermatology in New York City, tells SELF.“By decreasing oil production, Accutane will shrink the glands themselves—including the ones on your nose. That’s why this area tends to show a great level of improvement when taking the medication,” Dr. Zeichner says. That, along with “a decrease in swelling and inflammation,” may result in the tip of your nose looking ever-so-slightly smaller, he says.This potential effect is much more minimal than some TikTokers purport it to be though. One possible reason why some of those before-and-after “Accutane nose job” pics look so dramatic is that many people start the medication to address hormonal acne during their teen years—a time when your whole face (not just your nose) looks different than it will post-puberty. Whether you take Accutane or not, your profile is bound to change as your body (including your facial features) develops into adulthood.
Hanging with friends or family, enjoying a romantic evening, and bonding with coworkers after hours are all fine ways to fill your leisure time. But maybe your loved ones are busy or live far away. Or perhaps you’re extremely single, or, frankly, not in the mood to talk to anyone and craving some “me time.”No matter why you’re looking to have fun by yourself, the options for solo date ideas may seem pretty limited. Aside from rotting in bed or reserving a table at your favorite restaurant (which might sound awkward), what else can you really do?First, you might need a perspective shift. Many of us are turned off by the idea of venturing out on our own and fear that we’ll look (and feel) like, well, unlovable losers. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, dating yourself can actually help you become a more well-rounded, confident, and attractive person, Cassie Ekstrom, LCSW-C, a therapist at Baltimore Therapy Group specializing in anxiety and life transitions, tells SELF.“Spending time alone is one of the best ways to really figure out our true selves, because other people’s thoughts or opinions won’t influence us,” Ekstrom says. In other words, you can connect with what you really want to do—or see, or eat, or experience. And solitary excursions are also ”a great way to decompress and become more independent when it comes to satisfying your needs and managing your emotions,” she adds. (You know, since you won’t be relying on another person to make you feel happier, say, or less bored.)Ultimately, the best way to overcome any negative misconceptions you have about solo dating is to tune out those doubts and give it a try. And if you’re not sure what to do, exactly, or how to actually enjoy yourself (yes, even without someone else to talk to), we’ve got eight beginner-friendly activities to help you go it alone—without feeling lonely.Go on a nature walk or scenic hike.For those of you who feel self-conscious about being by yourself in public settings, taking a casual daytime stroll on a trail near you or embarking on a (safe) outdoor hike is a great place to start, Ekstrom says. Not only can the novelty of a change of scenery inspire you to appreciate the sights and sounds around you, but you probably won’t feel as on display out in nature as you might at, say, a packed taqueria. Plus, going at your own pace can be liberating—you don’t have to worry about matching your much more athletic pal’s pace, for example. (Another perk: Research shows that any form of physical exercise can help with stress relief, as can spending time outdoors.)If you’re thinking that trotting along in silence sounds kind of, um, boring, know that tuning into your senses can make being one with nature more enjoyable—this grounding technique can help with that, by getting you out of your head and into the moment. But if mindfulness exercises don’t speak to you, consider diving into an audiobook as you explore a park, say, or listening to your current favorite workout playlist to enhance your experience. That way, you’re not just alone with your (anxious) thoughts.If seeing a movie in a packed theater intimidates you, try a matinee.We fully support solo movie dates at any hour, but the thought of sitting all by yourself at a Friday night showing of Barbie, surrounded by tons of gal pals and hand-holding couples, might make you cringe. In that case, a matinee is probably more your scene.
For some of us, conversations about sex—what we liked, what we didn’t, what turns us on, what absolutely doesn’t—come naturally. But maybe physical intimacy is a taboo topic in your family or culture. Or perhaps you’re totally comfortable with dirty talk when the clothes come off, but the idea of discussing toys or butt stuff with your new partner while fully dressed at the dinner table terrifies you.“It’s no wonder we’re so uncomfortable talking about sex as a culture. I mean, if you think about most love scenes in movies, the characters never discuss it,” Vanessa Marin, MFT, licensed psychotherapist and author of Sex Talks: The Five Conversations That Will Transform Your Love Life, tells SELF. “They’re just able to have this magical, effortless, incredible sex.”But don’t let those perfect camera angles fool you: Most healthy relationships require open and honest communication to thrive—in and out of the bedroom—Marin says. And if you struggle in the carnal conversation department, it’s a skill worth honing, “or else you run the risk of waiting until things are really bad to talk about sex, and it just reinforces this whole misconception that it has to be an uncomfortable topic,” she adds.So how, exactly, can you bring up your sexual fantasies without awkwardly hiding under the covers? Here’s Marin’s best advice:Acknowledge your anxiety.For many people, sex is an important part of a satisfying relationship, so discussing it with your partner should, ideally, be no different than talking about stuff like your feelings, life plans, and dealbreakers.In practice, however, sharing that you’re craving some role play or strap-on fun may feel a whole lot different than requesting more date nights, Marin says. One way to, well, ease your uneasiness: Acknowledge the anxious elephant in the room (it’s you). Calling this out from the start, Marin says, can help relax you and your partner by creating an environment that encourages vulnerability.For instance, you might begin the conversation with something like, “I know we don’t really do this, and it’s kind of awkward, but I really hope both of us can feel safe talking openly about our sex life.” That way, “you can start to get comfortable with the idea that sex is natural, and not this hush-hush subject,” Marin says.Don’t feel like you need to have a capital-S sex talk.Okay, you’ve finally worked up the courage to chat candidly about your desires. Now what?You may have a bunch of hot ideas you’re itching to share with your lover, like exploring anal play or experimenting with phone sex. But rather than dumping every dirty thought into one intense and formal sit-down, Marin says it’s best to start small.For example, you could try reminiscing about one of your favorite not-so-family-friendly memories together (“Remember when we took our time while going down on each other on Valentine’s Day? I’d love to do that again.”) or even just make a quick comment during pillow talk (“That was amazing. Maybe next time we can try some new positions?”). Marin says that asking for what you want more casually—rather than making it this super serious, “we need to talk” moment—may help you both recognize that keeping the lines of sexual communication open can be easy and fun.Use positive language to create a supportive vibe.Let’s say the sex was really bad. Or you wish you had orgasmed. It can feel really difficult—mean, even—to offer constructive criticism about your partner’s performance, but that doesn’t mean you should bottle it up. “We have to be sensitive with sex, because most of us would like to think we’re good in bed and it’s natural to feel super vulnerable about the ways we might not be getting it right,” Marin says.Instead of going straight into problem-solving mode and pointing out what they need to “fix,” a kinder and more effective approach is to focus on what is working for you. So if your partner doesn’t really engage in foreplay and you’d really appreciate it if they would take their time, you might tell them something along the lines of, “It turns me on so much when you go slow and kiss me everywhere,” Marin suggests.Not only is that framing less likely to bruise their ego—and put them on the defense—than asking them to “seriously, stop rushing,” she says, but communicating what you want, versus what you don’t, increases your chances of actually getting it—and getting off.Related:
In hindsight, the signs of cheating are often pretty easy to spot. Looking back, it was probably a bit weird that your significant other was suddenly super vague about their weekend whereabouts. And what screams cheater louder than a partner quickly switching tabs whenever you walk by their laptop? But there’s a reason so many of us fall for flimsy excuses and look past suspicious behavior, Rachel Sussman, LCSW, a New York City–based therapist and the author of The Breakup Bible: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Healing from a Breakup or Divorce, tells SELF. (And no, it’s not because you’re a sucker.)“The status quo feels very safe, and most people don’t want to acknowledge that the person they’ve trusted, loved, and spent so much time with is betraying them,” Sussman says. Facing the fact that you may have an unfaithful partner can be difficult for a variety of reasons. For example, many people turn a blind eye out of fear that cheating signals the end of their love and sex life as they knew it. Others ignore common signs because they’ve convinced themselves it was just a “one-time thing” or that “it’s all in their head.”Listening to your gut isn’t so simple, especially if you’re madly in love (or firmly in denial). However, if something feels off, it’s important to explore that uneasiness, since it could be a sign of infidelity and save you time (and heartbreak) in the long run. “Your instincts can help you recognize the signs of cheating, but instincts are usually refined by life experience,” Nikquan Lewis, MS, LMFT, sex therapist at Intimate Connections in Katy, Texas, tells SELF. That’s why “it’s important to pay attention to those physical, mental, and emotional cues that your body gives when you’re uncomfortable,” Lewis says. “That’s how you learn to trust yourself: By being mindful and aware of what you’re experiencing.”And don’t just take that advice from the relationship experts, but also from nine people who lived—and learned—from being betrayed by a cheating partner. Here, they share with SELF some of the subtle signs (and dead giveaways) of infidelity they wish they’d heeded.He stopped wanting to have sex with me out of nowhere.It was our senior year on spring break. I went on a friends’ trip to Punta Cana, and he went to Spain with his buddies. We hadn’t seen each other in almost two weeks and I was really excited to spend time with him. When we finally returned to school, we hung out every night, but he weirdly kept going to bed unusually early—which is fine, but he would typically be all over me after being apart for so long. I didn’t want to be reading into it, but as it turns out, one of the times he cheated was while he was away in Spain, which probably explains the sudden change in behavior. —SShe was weirdly overprotective of her phone.My ex, who cheated, was constantly changing her passcodes (which I found a bit odd) and would frequently make excuses for why we couldn’t use her cell phone to play music or pull up directions when we were driving in the car. I also noticed that her phone was always facing down on the table, and her facial expression and body language changed, as if she was panicked, whenever I held or used it on the few occasions she allowed it. —JHe always accused me of cheating.We dated for almost three years, and he was constantly paranoid about the possibility of me cheating on him, even though I never did anything to make him distrust me. For example, he made me unfollow all of my exes on Instagram and he hated it when I hung out with my male friends—a major red flag. He would constantly gaslight me until I believed that I should cut out all other men from my life out of respect for him. Well, he ended up cheating on me for six months.
In SELF’s Sleeping With… series, we ask people from different career paths, backgrounds, and stages of life how they make sleep magic happen.Despite the fact that Sarah Jessica Parker has been in show business for four decades and is best known for strolling the streets of Manhattan in chic stilettos and runway-worthy ensembles as Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw, the superstar’s beauty routine is refreshingly, well, unglamorous.In fact, Parker, who’s currently reprising her iconic small-screen role in And Just Like That, takes pride in the simplicity of her nightly skin care steps. “I’ve seen people on the Internet showing us their regimens, and I’m like, ‘How do you know so much? Are you part-time scientists?’” she tells SELF with a laugh. Her low-maintenance attitude toward moisturizers and serums is one reason why, Parker says, she recently partnered with RoC Skincare for its Look Forward Project, an initiative focused on approaching aging with positivity—a topic she’s talked about extensively. “The older you get, the more you’ve lived and the more valuable you are,” she says. “Some might call it aging, but I simply call it another wonderful day.”If you’re an SJP fan, we know you want the specifics, so we asked the Emmy-winning actor exactly how she winds down at the end of a long day, which involves accessible drugstore buys, true-crime podcasts, and one game-changing device.I didn’t always have a self-care routine, but I’m a bit more thoughtful now that my kids are older.For many, many, many years, I’ve had young children in the house, and they’re just getting to an age where they don’t need me to tuck them in every evening, read them stories, or make sure they’ve bathed. They’re independent of me now, so my nighttime routine is simply more relaxed. That doesn’t mean it’s not busy or that I’m not still checking backpacks and making sure laundry’s done. But it’s calmer in the house and I have more independence.At most, I have three skin care steps.I don’t want to walk into my bathroom and see a drugstore on my counter. It confuses me. It overwhelms me. So I pay close attention to what works on my face, what I know will integrate well into my everyday life, and I keep it as simple as possible. I personally don’t want to devote 30 minutes to skin care, but no matter what—winter, summer, spring, fall—I always wet my face before putting anything on it. That’s a must. [Editor’s note: Damp skin better absorbs skin care products.]RoC’s multi-tasking, brightening Revive + Glow Daily Serum is often my first step. I then apply this RoC moisturizer, which I use every single night and in the daytime, too. And to top it all off, I use their balm stick for my eyes. First of all, it just feels good to not have to touch or rub on a sticky cream, and you can just do a nice, quick swipe under each eye. I’m always really thoughtful about anything with actives because I have sensitive skin, but I would say those are my three must-haves. Simple, collaborative, and they marry well.RoCRoC Multi Correxion Revive and Glow Daily SerumRoCRoC Multi Correxion Revive + Glow Moisturizer SPF 30RoCRoC Multi Correxion Revive + Glow Eye BalmI like to listen to true-crime podcasts while I get ready for bed.Some of the true crime stuff that I’ve listened to has been really interesting. There’s one podcast out of Norway called Death in Ice Valley, which is really amazing. I also think Connie Walker’s reporting on Indigenous women is extraordinary—she hosts Missing & Murdered and she just won the Peabody and the Pulitzer [for a podcast called Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s]. I think of it as investigative journalism rather than typical true crime, but it’s really great.I also listen to the news at night. I try to pay attention to world events, so I’ll tune into the BBC and its podcasts while I get ready to go to sleep.God no, I don’t have a complicated sleep ritual. But…I have a diffuser. I turn it on before I wash my face every single night, and that’s something I’ve only been doing for the past couple of years now that I don’t hear one of my kids calling me or the bathtub overflowing. As for the essential oils, I buy all of mine from Bigelow Chemists in the West Village. I use some of them on my body, too. They smell absolutely beautiful.When it’s time for bed, I try to have the room at a cool temperature, which is such a luxury. The more I’ve read about that, the more I see that sleeping in colder environments is apparently a better way to rest.That’s really it though. I don’t drink special tea. I don’t wear sleep masks. As I said, I like to keep it simple.VitruviVitruvi Stone Ceramic DiffuserThis interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
While the Hollywood is a popular ask, Dr. Gohara cautions against smearing hot wax near those internal regions, since the tissue is so thin and more susceptible to damage. “Think about somebody waxing your eyeball or the inside of your mouth or any mucosal area,” Dr. Gohara says. Enough said.D-zilian waxHey, bikini waxes aren’t just for people with vulvas. A full Brazilian for folks with penises will remove hair around the lower abdomen, above the shaft, and even on the scrotum (yes, the balls will be bald). If you’re clenching your nether regions just reading this, we’re here to remind you that such a sensitive body part requires careful attention (duh). That’s why, again, you should only visit a licensed and experienced esthetician—ideally, one who specializes in these types of waxes.Dick-ini waxOkay, maybe the D-zilian sounds a little too intense (torturous?) for you. In that case, you could opt for a less invasive version that resembles a standard bikini wax: Your scrotum and butt will be left alone and the main focus will be on the strands along your inner thighs and lower abdomen. The goal, ultimately, is to remove any hair that would be visible if you were to wear skimpy briefs or a more revealing swimsuit.How to care for your skin after a bikini waxArguably, what’s more important than what you do pre-wax is your aftercare routine. It’s pretty much inevitable to experience at least some inflammation, which might show up as redness (depending on your skin tone), itchiness, and/or bumps, Dr. Gohara says.Mild irritation should dissipate naturally within one to two days, according to Dr. Garshick. If it doesn’t or you notice a more severe reaction like pustules, painful cysts, or skin flaking, see a primary care doctor or dermatologist as soon as you can, she adds, as these can be signs of an allergic reaction or infection.To avoid those complications—and feel more comfortable overall—follow these three post-wax steps:Apply hydrocortisone to minimize inflammation and itchiness.An over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream, which contains anti-inflammatory properties, can help alleviate any discomfort, Dr. Gohara says. Not only will it calm down some of that initial irritation and swelling, but it can also reduce itchiness, which may show up in the days or weeks after your wax, as your hair starts slowly growing back, she adds.Refrain from exercise the day of your appointment—and if you must work out, avoid tight-fitting clothing.Gym lovers, we know how difficult it can be to take a day off from your precious workouts, but for the sake of your burning loins, sit this one out. Your sweat can mix with any leftover wax residue or bacteria on your skin, which may clog your hair follicles (potentially leading to infection) or exacerbate irritation, Dr. Gohara warns.If you insist on getting your reps in (sigh), the least you can do, per Dr. Gohara, is wear loose-fitting clothes (think flowy athletic shorts instead of tight leggings or going commando in spandex). Otherwise, you won’t just have to worry about the sweat, but also the skin-tight material rubbing on and chafing your raw skin.Avoid sex the day of—or at least opt for “safer” positions.You might want to show off your new wax to your partner or fling, and hey, we don’t blame you. Keep in mind, though, that certain sex positions, like missionary or cowgirl, which involve a lot of, um, banging up against each other, can be irritating for people with labia, Dr. Gohara says.Keeping your pants on for the first day is a smart idea, but that doesn’t mean have to abstain all week: “Ideally, you could minimize that irritation with other positions that may not be as likely to cause friction,” such as spooning. Oh, and if you shower beforehand, use cool water, since heat can make the area even more sensitive, according to Dr. GoharaAgain, as long as you see a well-trained pro, there’s no “right” or “wrong” choice if you decide to get a bikini wax. This experience is customizable, so pick your fave, prep accordingly, be gentle with yourself afterward, and rock your new look.Related:
Unless you’ve been living in a Wi-Fi-free hole for the past few months, you know that Taylor Swift’s record-breaking Eras tour has been having a major moment. And while most of the social media coverage has featured Swifties dancing and belting out bops like “Cruel Summer” and “Lavender Haze,” some attendees of last week’s SoFi Stadium shows in Los Angeles have been posting about a less joyful effect of their concert euphoria: a positive COVID-19 test. And yes, some of these fans claim they took standard safety precautions like wearing a mask and quarantining before and after the concert. (As you’ve probably seen in social media videos, however, the majority of folks were unmasked at the shows.)The city (along with other parts of California as well as other areas of the country) has been experiencing an uptick in COVID as of last Thursday—to be more specific, an average of 333 new cases per day, according to the most recent data from the LA County Department of Public Health. “It’s impossible to say for certain if and how much the Taylor Swift concerts, or any other single large event, contributed to these increasing counts,” the department confirmed to SELF in an email. “We know large gatherings where thousands of people are in close proximity are higher risk events, however, it is very likely that increased rates of summer travel and other gatherings are also contributing to the increase.” (Morgan Wallen’s show and the Head in the Clouds Music Festival also recently drew crowds in Los Angeles County.)This seems like an ideal opportunity to remind everyone that big events like concerts, even if they’re outdoors, still come with COVID risks. Screaming and/or crying at the top of your lungs for three hours (as you should) is a recipe for potential transmission: Remember that the coronavirus that causes COVID often spreads through respiratory droplets via coughing, sneezing, and talking (or, yep, singing), as SELF previously reported. And even if a show is mostly outside, there are likely some moments when you’re stuck waiting in a long bathroom line, for example, or standing inside to buy some merch and snacks.“Outdoor transmission has become more likely with the newer variants as they have become more transmissible, but outdoors remains a much lower-risk setting than indoors,” Linsey Marr, PhD, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech who studies viral transmission, told SELF in 2022. Still, an open-air concert isn’t a “get out of jail free card,” especially with the new variant, Eris, on the rise. Viral particles disperse more quickly outside, thanks to wind speed and air currents. But some of the factors that make indoor settings risky—crowded spaces, the sharing of food and drinks, people who have recently traveled—still exist outdoors and can increase your chances of contracting COVID.That’s why it’s crucial to be extra vigilant and practice common sense precautions post-concert, like social distancing and isolating for the next few days (yes, even if you’re asymptomatic) and making sure to take not one, but two (or three!) rapid tests to ensure that you and those around you stay safe and healthy. Since at-home COVID tests aren’t always reliable, you’ll want to test more than once, according to the US Food and Drug Administration. (Plus, we don’t have a ton of data on how well these tests pick up the new variant compared to more accurate PCR tests you’d get at the doctor’s office.)Remember: These small steps help you take care of yourself and your community! Because what’s the point of having the night of your life only to feel, um, all too unwell—and possibly infect someone else—once you come down from your concert bliss?Related: