With summer in full swing and holidays abroad finally back on the cards, women across the nation will, naturally, be feeling the pressure to look good.
Social media is soon to be abuzz with women posing in their teeny tiny bikinis, and that’s not to mention the Love Islanders prancing around in their best swimwear for eight weeks straight.
But with the increased exposure to these pics comes increased body insecurities, with over 6 in 10 women already feeling negative about their bodies.
According to Mental Health Foundation, higher body dissatisfaction is associated with a poorer quality of life, psychological distress and the risk of unhealthy eating behaviours and eating disorders.
Here, Health and Wellbeing Expert, Stephanie Taylor, of StressNoMore, compiles a list of the most common body insecurities (based on online searches in the past month) and offers expert advice on how to feel more body confident this summer.
Body Image (Googled 100 times per hour*)
A recent study revealed one in five adults worried about their body image when comparing themselves with others on social media.
But always take these images at face value. After all, you’re only seeing the best lighting, angles and sometimes even filters or edits. You can’t see the 10 other images they chose to delete.
Be mindful about the types of accounts you follow and how they make you feel. Unfollow accounts that make you feel insecure about the way you look and follow others who you can identify with in a positive way.
If you’re comfortable, positive and learn to love your body without comparing yourself to others, you are one step further to tackling your insecurities and being body confident.
Cellulite (Googled 92 times per hour*)
Not uncommon, cellulite affects 80-90 percent of women.
But while many strive to ‘get rid’ by working out, it’s not that simple as cellulite is only loosely linked to weight. It’s caused by fibrous tethers running through your fat being pulled on the fascia beneath your skin, creating dimples.
And guess what? It’s genetic!
Products designed to help ‘fight cellulite’ containing ingredients such as caffeine and seaweed may tighten the top layer for a short period but they won’t eliminate the issue.
And hacks such as the ‘cupping method’ used on TikTok and by celebs such as Kim Kardashian can cause serious side effects such as scars, burns and skin discolouration.
While you’ll never be able to completely get rid of cellulite, you can reduce the appearance by working on tightening your muscles. This can be done through exercises such as squats and lunges, deep tissue massages or gadgets that enhance lymphatic drainage and help to dissolve fatty deposits beneath the skin.
But remember, cellulite is just part of being a woman. Learn to embrace it!
Body Hair (Googled 84 times per hour*)
As far back as the Roman Empire, reports say body hair removal is a sign of ‘cleanliness’ and ‘wealth’, while pubic hair is seen as uncivilized.
However, women shouldn’t feel the need to conform to beauty ideals represented by the media – it should be your own choice.
Consider your reasoning behind your need to remove your body hair. Is it because you want to fit in or because you generally feel more comfortable without it?
Tanning (Googled 65 times per hour*)
While you might be surrounded by images of people bronzed, remember we haven’t all got the same skin types to handle hours in the sun or on the sunbed this summer. It’s all down to how much melanin you have.
So why do people feel conscious they’re not tanned enough? It’s because we’re fed an ‘ideal image’.
The best advice is to embrace the skin you’re in, work with colours that suit your skin tone, wear SPF always, sit in the shade if needed and if you really want to look a little bit more tanned, then be sensible about the time you spend in the sun or try fake tan.
And absolutely do not try any TikTok hacks such as ‘sunscreen contouring’…
To tackle body insecurities and build your confidence, try these:
· Practise positive affirmations in the mirror
· Ditch the scales
· Stop comparing yourself to others (on social media and real-life)
· Surround yourself with positive people
· Learn to LOVE yourself in your own skin!
NOTE: *In the last month between June 6-July 6