Entries in Grooming (3)


Pathological Grooming Now Categorized as a Form of OCD

Courtesy Nicole Santamorena(NEW YORK) -- When Nicole Santamorena was a baby she pulled her hair for comfort when she was distressed or sick.  But that coping mechanism eventually escalated into pathological grooming behavior so serious that she was bald by middle school.

"I had to wear a hair piece and a bandana," said Nicole.

Today, the 17-year-old from Putnam, N.Y., still fights the urge to pull out hair, but therapy, a good support group and even Internet friends with the same compulsive behavior have all helped.

Medical experts are baffled by these behaviors.  But now they are giving more scrutiny to pathological groomers, those with dermatillomania [picking scabs], trichotillomania [pulling hair] or even simply nail biting.

"The problem is we don't have data -- it's not something we collect because we always thought of these behaviors as benign," said Dr. Nilay Shah, a neurologist and medical director of the Integrated Medicine of Mount Kisco, N.Y.

"It's common enough to see 20 or 30 percent of all kids at some point along a spectrum that we call pathological, but other than that it's a wild guess."

Soon, all of these repetitive habits will be included in the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-V or the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders under the broader category of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

"That's a great thing," said Shah, who treats Nicole for other health issues.

"The beauty is that a categorization in the DSM-V gives it a whole new light," he said.  "And the research institutions can have a unified definition and approach that will lead to drug company and NIH funding."

Doctors know that OCD is a spectrum of disorders.  Compulsive hand washers and germaphobes exhibit repetitive behaviors as a kind of magical thinking to ward off something bad happening.

Pathological groomers like Nicole, on the other hand, derive stress relief and pleasure from their tics.

"There is a sensation I get before I pull," Nicole said.  "It's like a pulsating scalp and if I don't pull, it doesn't go away.  It's kind of a compulsion."

Studies suggest that the behavior is also genetic.  Nicole's mother picks her skin scabs and her father bites the hair from his knuckles.

"When you look at the brain wave activity, it does correspond with obsessive compulsive disorder," said Shah.  "We know consciously that it's not right or logical or reasonable, yet cannot help doing it.  And for a brief moment it feels better -- there's a release."

Researchers speculate that on a microscopic level, the signals or neurotransmitters in the brain are involved and often use antidepressant medications to help treat these behaviors.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Eyebrows 101: 6 Tips to Get the Perfect Brows

Ralf Nau/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Eyebrows are the new focal point for the face. The trend right now in the brow world is “big is beautiful,” so we asked expert Damone Roberts, aka “the Eyebrow King,” for his best brow advice.

Roberts, who has salons in Los Angeles and New York and has plucked and shaped for A-listers like Beyonce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna and even Robert Downey Jr., said there are common mistakes he sees over and over again.

Read Roberts’ do’s and don’ts below before you reach for the tweezers:

  1. Put down the tweezers.  Overplucking can really minimize the power of the brow. As you age your eyebrows tend to thin out. So be especially careful as you hit the big 4-0! One idea is to avoid tweezing for three to six months and then go get your brows sculpted. Take a picture of what they look like and try to match the look without overplucking.
  2. Be mindful not to tweeze the interior of your eyebrows too much. “Eyebrows that are too far apart — overplucked in the middle — make the bridge of the nose look a little wider and it makes the whole nose look a lot wider,” Roberts says. “That also has the effect of making the eyes look smaller and the face rounder.”
  3. It’s OK if the interior parts of the eyebrows are a little feathery, Roberts says. In the past, people wanted that dramatic line like Bette Davis, but now the more natural gradual in interior is in.
  4. Symmetry is crucial. You want both brows to look alike. Similar arch, similar start and end points and similar thickness are keys to symmetry.
  5. You probably have more hair than you think. Especially if you have lighter coloration for some of your hair. A good gel, plus brow powder can bring the finer, lighter hairs at the end of your brow into prominence.
  6. The shape of your face determines the shape of your brows.  In an interview Roberts did with Essence magazine he explains it like this: “A rounder face should have a higher arch to add length to facial structure. A square-shaped face should have rounder brows to soften facial features. An oval face can carry an eyebrow that is not too defined and not too round but right in between. Lastly, a heart-shaped face should have a straighter brow to lessen the length of the face.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


‘Mansome’: It’s Now a Man’s World Among Women’s Products

Jim Spellman/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Murses, manx, and mantyhose, oh my. It seems like there is a growing trend of sticking “man” in front of all mainstream women’s products, but it’s much more than that.  There is a whole “mansome” revolution afoot.

Don’t tell Tom Selleck, Burt Reynolds or Robin Williams but there is a new “manliness” of today. More than ever, men are taking great strides to improve their appearances. Gone are the days of hairy chests, scruffy facial hair and thrown-together outfits. Shaved bodies, smooth skin and sensational clothes are now part of the 21st-century male identity.

Companies, products and spas have gone to great lengths to accommodate men in a world of beauty and fashion. Even products like “fresh balls,” an antiperspirant for the male groin area, are on the market.

It’s all part of a revolution in “man-scaping.” A revolution so powerful, it is inspiring men to get manicures, pedicures, waxing treatments and much more.

Morgan Spurlock, the filmmaker of the new documentary Mansome, released last Friday, met up with Nightline to spend a day getting “man-tastic.”

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Spurlock discussed the point of his film over a pedicure at the Bliss Spa in New York City.

“I think there’s a great question the film asks which is what does it mean to be a man,” he said.

The film Mansome features Jason Bateman and Will Arnett enjoying a lovely spa day, but in truth it’s not comic relief, it’s reality. Take manty-hose for example, even Madonna is glorifying the style in her “Girls Gone Wild” music video, where muscular men strut around in heels and pantyhose.

Being a man used to mean being fierce, savage, and hairy, but that’s not so much the case anymore. According to Spurlock, women might say that a perfect guy is comparable to the Brad Pitts and George Clooneys of the world who are the most aesthetically pleasing and also incredibly successful.

“I think you can be a sensitive male,” Spurlock said. “If you are a sensitive male, you are a male-icorn …Manicorn. You are the ever elusive perfect man.”

A few years ago we might call this uptick in grooming, metrosexual, just a style. Now we don’t call it anything because it has become so normal. According to Bliss Spa pedicurists, about 40 percent of their clients are men getting daily treatments like facials, treatments and even something called a “mankini” wax.

Saks Fifth Avenue stylist Eric Jennings told Nightline man bags or murses, man jewelry and MANX -- otherwise known as Spanks for men -- are hot fashion items right now.

“Most guys are now wearing this for vanity,” Jennings said, referring to a pair of MANX. “It will compress you up to 1 or 2 inches around the middle.”

But that’s not all. The underwear company Frigo sells a brand of luxury performance boxer briefs at $100 a pair, and said that the underwear is stretchy and adjustable.

“It keeps you stabilized and your bits and parts in place all day,” said Mathias Ingvarsson, the chief executive officer of RevolutionWear, the firm behind the brand. “You wouldn’t be surprised if a bra and underwear cost $200 in the store so we felt that it was time for the men to get the extra opportunity.”

So there you have it, the new revolution of what it means to be a man. Take a look around, some guy out there is wearing one-hundred dollar underwear, others have soft, smooth skin, and others impeccably dressed. Nonetheless, more men are becoming conscious and aware of where they measure up in society, and how they look.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio