MEL for DSC Magazine, April 2020

In this month's issue, we're looking at your skin! (Erhm, in a totally not creepy way.)

Mistook your monthly magazine for a pack of One Wipe Charlies and flushed it down the toilet? No worries, here’s the online version!

In this edition:

  1. The Nudist’s Guide to Being Comfortable in Your Own Skin
  2. Why is Sensitive Skin So Damn Sensitive?
  3. Should I Be Moisturizing My You-Know-What?
  4. The Sexiest Body Parts for Guys to Show Some Skin
  5. The Lost Pastime of Presidential Skinny-Dipping
  6. Why Does Just Seeing a Bug Cause My Skin to Itch?
  7. Are You Really Supposed to Eat the Banana Skin?
  8. Oh FAQ: How Do I Deal with Ashy Skin?
  9. Get to Know Your Body: The Skin

1 – The Nudist’s Guide to Being Comfortable in Your Own Skin

Scott and Julie — the naturist couple behind the ‘Nomadic Nudists’ blog — have some advice on not getting hung up on those love handles.

Julie: I used to be insecure about showing my body, then I married Scott 34 years ago and found out he was a nudist. I wasn’t, however: I was raised Mormon in Utah, so we’d go to nudist places and I’d sit in my clothes. Then I took this photography class where the teacher said to “do something that you fear” and I’d always feared nudity, so I chose to do nudes. Through that process, I ended up taking all my clothes off — I confronted that fear. 

I don’t have a pretty body or anything, but I decided I was going to own it. Now I’m not afraid. Even at clothed beaches, I started wearing bikinis which I never wore before. It’s been 15 years and I don’t even have to “own it” anymore — now I’m just comfortable.

Scott: You hear about people standing in front of the mirror, saying “I love myself,” and I think body positivity is great, but I think that alone may not be enough. I think you have to face it — just get out there. And remember that all sorts of things relate to confidence, even if it seems unrelated. So if you’re confident in your nutrition or your career or even who you are, that helps because that confidence carries over, including to your body image.

2 – Why is Sensitive Skin So Damn Sensitive?

In fact, what does “sensitive skin” even mean? And do I have it?

Whether or not someone has sensitive skin is actually determined by themselves, not by a doctor. “Sensitive skin is not something a dermatologist can diagnose — it’s actually a self-diagnosed condition used by people who perceive their skin to be more intolerant to skincare products than the general population,” explains Dr. Fayne Frey of the skincare site Fryface. 

That’s not to say that sensitive skin isn’t real, it just means that it’s not an official diagnosis. Frey explains that things like rosacea (a reddening of the skin) and allergies do exist and are able to be diagnosed, but “sensitive skin” usually refers to itchiness, burning or general irritation which does not manifest itself in visible symptoms. The term is considered something of a “catch-all” for an otherwise unidentified skin issue, and Frey explains that this is a bit of a hot topic in the skincare community, as what might cause sensitive skin is unclear.

If you’re someone who might have sensitive skin, Frey suggests using skincare products with as few ingredients as possible — that way, if you have a reaction, it’ll be easier to determine what it is that’s bothering you. Also, avoid stuff containing retinoids or alpha hydroxy acids, which are known to be skin irritants. That, or tell that “sensitive” skin of yours to just suck it up already.

3 – Should I Be Moisturizing My You-Know-What?

I mean, y’know…more than I already am.

Most men aren’t exactly strangers to “moisturizing” our privates, even though smooth skin isn’t normally what’s on our minds when we reach for that lotion. But should we be moisturizing down there? According to dermatologist Lisa Chipps, the answer is a definitive no.

“Generally, those areas are plenty moist on their own,” she explains. “And I would caution men not to over-moisturize their creases and crevices because that can create an environment for a fungus — like jock itch — to grow.” That’s why, rather than moisturizing your genitals, butt crack or the space in between, you want to do the opposite, especially if it’s noticeably moist: Dry the area thoroughly after washing, use a zinc oxide cream to soothe any irritation or redness and, of course, change your underwear frequently.

Now, there are skin conditions — like psoriasis or eczema — that can cause dryness downstairs, but Chipps recommends consulting a dermatologist about that. Her personal recommendation would be as follows: “If there’s a dry spot down there and you were to use a moisturizer, I would suggest using something bland — something that doesn’t have any perfume or potential allergens in it — because that skin is sensitive.” 

That said, don’t worry: The occasional “moisturizing” (wink, wink) won’t do your private places any harm. Just be sure to clean up the excess.

4 – The Sexiest Body Parts for Guys to Show Some Skin

We asked a whole bunch of people what their favorite bare body part is on a man. Here’s what they told us (several of them while drooling slightly).

“I feel like I’m constantly touching a lover’s chest while being intimate. So seeing it invites me to think about touching it. There’s a lot of energy there!” — Charlize

“A man’s back and shoulder blades, tanned and dappled with sweat, are my summer ideal. Alternatively, watching the muscles of a man’s back as he lifts himself out of a pool is just as glorious.” — Lara

“Forearms, when they’re all tan and sinewy, maybe tattooed, a sleeve casually rolled up… Yes!” — Lyz

“No matter what a guy’s body type is, I love seeing stomach peeking out when he lifts up to do something. Any time we’re doing an outdoor activity and a guy’s shirt raises up, it’s a big thrill for me. It can be a belly or a six-pack as long as it’s midriff.” — Murphy

“It’s a 1980s answer to a timeless question, but I think more guys these days are obsessed with their glutes and it shows. A male with a bubble butt is an almost comically sexy surprise.” — Heather

“Thick thighs, especially when their shorts are riding up. They’re the best.” — Pat

“Calves are the gay boobs.” — Robert

5 – The Lost Pastime of Presidential Skinny-Dipping

With help from Louis Picone, author of the newly updated book The President is Dead!, here’s a quick history of the thankfully extinct practice of presidents swimming in the buff.

Quincy’s Quincy
John Quincy Adams’ nude dalliances in the Potomac are legendary. Though some doubt its veracity, one story says journalist Anne Royall once cornered Adams in the water and held his clothes until he answered her questions.

Swim Softly, and Carry a Big Stick
Theodore Roosevelt liked to skinny dip, and on one occasion he coaxed the French ambassador to swim nude with him, though the ambassador opted to keep his gloves on, explaining, “We might meet ladies.”

Nude Deal
Despite his polio, Franklin Roosevelt loved swimming and would swim in the buff with fellow politicians, feeling it was a good way for them to let their guard down and reach across the aisle (though what they were reaching with is lost to history).

Ask Not What Swim Trunks Can Do For You
No surprise here — JFK was known to skinny dip with his mistresses. One story goes that female White House staffers — nicknamed “Fiddle” and “Faddle” — once had to hurry out of the White House pool when they heard Jackie was coming.

L.B. Jumbo
Lyndon Johnson’s comfort with his own body extended beyond his practice of skinny dipping with friends, as he was also known to talk to the press on the toilet and pull out his penis — nicknamed “Jumbo” — on unsuspecting people. Classy fella, that LBJ.

6 – Why Does Just Seeing a Bug Cause My Skin to Itch?

Let’s see if you can make it through this without scratching.

While itching can be caused by rashes or toxins on the skin, there’s also plenty of research that explains why people feel itchy even when there’s nothing physically present. In 2012, researchers at the University of Manchester found that visual cues — like pictures of ants crawling or a picture of a bug bite — can generate an itch response, even if no physical contact is made, so clearly there’s a psychological component to some itching.

Part of this response might be from your own past experiences, as Dr. Wenqin Luo explained to NBC News. So if you’ve had a bug bite or you’ve ever had ants crawling on you, those memories pop back up at the sight of those stimuli, prompting an itch. Additionally, itching has been known to have a socially contagious element to it — much like yawning — so just the sight of a person itching themselves might very well cause you to itch.

Despite all these scientific inquiries about visual itching stimuli, there’s not much research as to whether or not simply reading about an itchy subject will cause an itch response, but, perhaps you could tell us, how do you feel right now? Do you feel like scratching yet?

7 – Are You Really Supposed to Eat the Banana Skin?

Or are the experts just monkeying around?

“Don’t throw out the banana peels!” exclaims nutritionist David Friedman, author of Food Sanity: How to Eat in a World of Fads and Fiction. “They’re edible and quite healthy. While bananas are known for their high potassium content, eating the skin offers an additional 80 milligrams of potassium, plus gut-healthy dietary fiber, polyunsaturated fats, antioxidants and essential amino acids.”

Don’t worry, we’re not saying that you need to gnaw through that bitter, tough skin every time you want a banana — there are ways to make it more palatable. “The best way to consume it is to remove the stem and blend it into your morning smoothie,” Friedman says. You can also fry them or bake them, though you’ll probably want to wait until it’s gotten a few black spots first, as that means it’ll be thinner and sweeter. 

If you’re not quite brave enough to eat that banana epidermis, don’t sweat it. While it may contain a few extra nutrients, whether our bodies can actually absorb them in peel form is actually a matter of debate, as Today reported that its benefits are still unproven. Still, as long as you get pesticide-free organic bananas, it’s not going to hurt you to try it, even if it doesn’t sound so ap-peel-ing (sorry, but you had to know that was coming).

8 – Oh FAQ: How Do I Deal with Ashy Skin?

Esthetician Sabrina Bradley has some tips for getting rid of those dried-out skin flakes.

Step #1: Lotions have a lot of water, making them ineffective at locking in moisture — instead, go for moisturizing creams or ointments.

Step #2: Moisturizing oils can also be helpful, like jojoba oil and almond oil, which won’t clog your pores or feel too greasy.

Step #3: Twice per week, exfoliate your skin during your morning shower — apply oil first, then scrub your skin in a circular motion with a brush or exfoliating glove.

Step #4: As a means of preventing dry skin, don’t take showers that are super hot, as they reduce the oils in your skin, making it drier.

Step #5: When getting out of the shower, pat yourself dry so that you’re still a bit damp, then apply the moisturizers, as damp skin is most effective at absorption.

Step #6: Flaunt those smooth elbows — and other formally ashy areas — with pride.

9 – Get to Know Your Body: The Skin

Prepare to know the back of your hand like, well, the back of your hand.

Quite an Organ
The average adult has more than 20 square feet of skin covering them, accounting for approximately 15 percent of a person’s body weight, easily making it the biggest organ. We’ve each got an impressive 300 million skin cells, and every single square inch contains up to 300 individual sweat glands.

Hot Under the Collar
When temperatures rise, your sweat glands kick in to cool your body down. When it’s colder, your skin’s blood vessels tighten, which limits the amount of hot blood that can reach the skin, which in turn prevents heat loss.

Bumpy Road
Those razor bumps that appear on your skin after shaving occur when a hair curls back around and grows into your skin instead of growing up and outward. To help avoid them, warm up and wet your skin before shaving; always shave with the grain; rinse in between each stroke; and moisturize afterwards to condition the hair and clear up any irritation.

Shed the Skin You’re In
Your skin constantly replaces itself, creating a whole new layer every 28 days (way more than a snake, which sheds its skin two to four times a year). This constant skin replacement is great, but also disgusting: More than half of the dust in your home is most likely not dust at all, but dead skin! Barf.

Remember, any time your MEL magazine is missing, lost, eaten by a bear, or simply off to seek its little papery fortune all by itself, you can find the digital edition right here on Original Content. In fact, if you prefer to read it on a screen instead of on paper, you can remove the paper version from your shipments entirely by clicking right here. The trees will thank you!