Though not necessarily due to lack of cleaning, stains on the body can still look unsightly and “dirty” so here are a few tips to help you deal with common stains on the body.
The best long-term solution for stained nails is to apply a good base coat before applying your coloured nail polish. In addition, always give your clean nails one “polish-free” day at least once a week to allow the cells to breathe and regain their equilibrium.
If nails are really yellow and unsightly, it will not harm them to paint over them with fresh polish. But the best thing is to just wait for the stains to fade and leave your nails unpainted for a period of time. For those who are desperate, you can try rubbing a wedge of fresh lemon over the stained nails.
If you have accidentally stained your skin when applying a home hair-dye kit, you can try rubbing cigarette ash directly onto the stained area – this has surprisingly successful results. If your skin is stained by fake tan lotion, the best course of action is to leave it alone and let it fade of its own accord – it should start to lighten in a couple of days. Resist the urge to scrub your skin – this will not remove the colour any faster and will only add ugly red marks to your stains. It is best for your stained skin cells to slough off naturally.
You can help to speed up the process with gentle exfoliation: on the face, use some basking soda gently rubbed onto damp skin or apply a cream with Alpha-Hydroxy-Acids (AHA’s) before going to bed; on hands and feet, try a bit of body hair bleach: leave it for 10 minutes and then wash off thoroughly. For larger areas, coat your body in baby oil and leave for 30 minutes, then take long bath, gently exfoliating with a washcloth. Doing this daily will help to “fade” the tan stains.
If you have very severe staining on your teeth, it may be best to consult a dental professional about tooth whitening treatments. For every day stains, such as those from cigarettes and coffee – try brushing your teeth and rinsing with mouthwash after every meal: this will help to remove any residues (eg, tannins from tea) as well as remove any plaque, which holds stains. Take care, however, not to brush too hard as otherwise this will strip your teeth of their protective surface enamel, thus exposing the darker dentine, which is even more vulnerable to staining.
Eating crunchy foods such as celery, apples and other similar fruits and vegetables – as opposed to sticky, sugary foods – can also help. Most of all, limiting your intake of caffeine-rich and heavily pigmented foods and stopping smoking is the key to preventing stains in the long term.
For a simple home teeth-whitening treatment, mix a teaspoon of baking soda with a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to form a paste and then brush it gently onto your teeth and gyms twice a week. Make sure you rinse thoroughly afterwards. If you don’t have hydrogen peroxide, you can try 3 teaspoons of baking soda mixed with a teaspoon of table salt.
One of the most common causes of stained fingers and hands is nicotine from cigarettes. Rubbing vigorously with lemon juice and then washing thoroughly with soap and water can help. If the stains are stubborn, you can try applying more lemon juice and then gently scrubbing your hands with a pumice stone. Wash and rinse again and then dry and apply a good hand cream.