Fat is one thing, puffiness is another: Which are your tackling? If you can’t tell the difference, press the bulge with your thumb: if a ‘hole’ appears, that usually indicates a fatty base. There may be a medical reason for puffiness and you should consult your doctor.
Strengthen the muscles: Exercises can’t perform miracles but they can trim as much as 2.5 cm (1 inch) of fat off your ankles.
Impaired circulation: Lack of correct exercise can cause ankles to become thick and puffy because of impaired circulation. Prolonged standing has the same result and tight shoes don’t help either.
Massage: Take a soft cloth, hold the ends tightly in each hand and pull hard forwards and back across the front of your ankles and then across the back.
A heavy book: Thick ankles can often be reduced by placing a heavy book on the floor and standing tip-toe on its edge. Then sink your heels on the floor, with your toes gripping the book. Do this a few times daily with a sturdy chair to hold on to.
Good habits: Learn good habits when you are sitting down which will help prevent swollen ankles. Don’t habitually cross your legs or sit with one foot hooked behind the rungs of a chair as both will cut off your circulation. Sit correctly with both feet on the floor in front of you.
Long standing: When you are standing for long periods whether as part of your job or during a long wait for a bus, relieve the pressure on your ankles by balancing on one foot, raise the other slightly and circle your ankle from right to left, left to right. Change to your other foot and repeat.
Reduce swelling: After a day’s shopping or a lot of standing about, you may have some temporary swelling. Immerse your feet, up to the ankles, in hot then cold water, which will do wonders to reduce swollen ankles.
Relaxation: Aim to relax for 10 minutes or so every day with your feet, legs and thighs supported. So that they slope gently upwards: ideally your feet should be 30 cm (12 inches) higher then your head. Lie on a tip-back chair, the floor or your bed, with cushions adjusting the height.
For a smooth finish
Waxing: This method removes hair from the roots and is one of the best ways to remove hair. Would-be waxers often panic: it’s the thought of applying hot, burning wax and ripping it off. In fact, the conventional wax need only be warm and there are cold applications too. Be prepared for post-waxing tingle, especially in areas where wax strips have overlapped. Skin can also appear pink and tender, so allow at least a day between waxing and a special occasion or sun-bathing. The only real disadvantage is that before tackling repetitive treatments hair must be long enough for the wax to get a good grip.
Bikini hair: for strong bikini hair, which sometimes becomes ‘ingrown’, rub with a loofah before waxing or think about getting rid of the unruly edges altogether with electrolysis.
Shaving: This is another popular method of removing hair on legs. It cuts the hair across at skin level and the cost is minimal. When using an electric razor, apply a pre-shave lotion or talcum powder first, which dries the skin thoroughly and gives a close shave . To wet shave, use warm water and soap (not shaving cream, the skin is too soft for that). The technique is to shave whit long smooth strokes, form ankle upwards.
Removing light hair growth: Pumice or hair-removing gloves are ideal for removing a light hair growth and for dealing with specific areas like front of legs only, if you want to fade out at the sides and ignore the back, Do remember that pumice has quite a rasp to it. Used in the bath, the weight of the water doubles its effectiveness and it is only too easy to rub your skin until it is sore.
Bleach away: The appearance of hair can be minimized by using a special bleaching preparation. You can make your own as follows: mix two tablespoons of 20-volume peroxide with no more then five or six drops of ammonia. Add enough mild soap flakes to make a past. (This is enough for the front of both legs.) Apply immediately and leave on for about 10 minutes. Rinse off well. If the results aren’t light enough or the hair has a reddish tinge mix more fresh paste in a day or so and re-apply. Caution: a patch test is advisable with all bleaching.
Gone forever: Electrolysis will remove hairs permanently but only after several treatments. Salons don’t like being committed to a time, but an approximate estimate for ‘half leg’ electrolysis would be half-hourly appointments twice a week for about six months. Discomfort, during treatment, can be anything from a slight tingle to a short sharp pain, depending on the sensitivity of your skin and the operator’s skill.
For a smooth effect: Depilatories chemical hair-removers in cream, lotion or mousse consistencies, give a smoother effect then shaving with slightly longer lasting results. Clean the hair area with warm water, no soap: apply depilatory with a spatula, or something similar, to a thickness of 3 mm (⅛th inch). Leave on for suggested number of minutes. In practice, it’s not easy to completely cover curly hair, so try stroking against the lie of the hairs, then with them. For speed, most users wipe off the first application with a damp cloth and re-apply blobs of depilatory to stubborn hair. After two to three minutes these usually come away.