Are there benefits to using foundation other than just covering the skin? I am not wearing any now, but am wondering if I should. I am 33 years old, with ruddy skin and blemishes.

Foundation or liquid makeup serves several purposes. Its main purpose is to give the skin an even color tone. It helps cover up dark circles under the eyes, pigmentation markings, blotchy areas and blemishes. It has an added protection factor against pollution damage, dryness or dehydration from the environment. Many manufacturers have added special moisturizers or sunscreen agents. It also helps blusher and eyeshadow to stay on longer. Depending upon the coverage you desire, there are liquid, water-based, oil or moisture-based, cream or mousse, or the pancake type. When choosing a color, test the color on the jawline, forehead and the neck. The ideal shade would be an exact match to your natural skin, or one that is slightly darker. For your ruddy skin, look for cool beiges; avoid those with pinky tones. Since you also have some blemishes, make sure it is water-based.

I have a problem with ingrown toenails even though I cut them straight across. What else can I do?

Unfortunately, there are a number of people who suffer from ingrown nails even though they have cut them properly. Often the sides of the toe area are quite fleshy and the growing nail, and”or the square edges bite into the folds and create pressure and tenderness. Sometimes the nail growth is altered; it becomes thickened and much more rounded. You may have to try a slightly rounded trim so the nail doesn’t dig into the skin. But, before you do that, please consult a podriatrist or chiropodist for their advice. Other causes of ingrown nails may be the downward pressure from restrictive footwear, tight pantyhose, the stop-start pressure on the toes during activity such as squash, racquetball or tennis. Try soaking the affected foot in warm water and apply an antibiotic ointment to the inflamed area. Do this about two or three times daily. A tiny wisp of cotton, placed under the corner of the nail, will elevate the nail plate away from the area that is inflamed.

You have suggested having a professional facial, but I seem to break out with pimples after the treatment. Is this normal, or could it be that the products used do not agree with my skin?

It is quite possible that you may see some blemishes after a facial treatment. Your skin is an organ which gets rid of body waste products – just like the kidneys and intestines. The disturbance and stimulation caused by a treatment of deep cleansing, steam, massage, mask, etc. may have brought up waste products of the body and skin to the surface of the skin to be dispelled. They usually disappear in a couple of days, unless your skin is very toxic. It is possible that the products did not agree with your skin, and if you suspect that is the case, stop using them for about four days and then try them again – one at a time – to determine if you are sensitive to them. Some skins, where there was too much pressure during the cleansing or massage routine, may also break out with some blemishes. Make sure you have a balanced diet, drink lots of plain water, have good hygenic habits (washing, etc.) to help control the blemishes.

In September I will be going south to an island. I understand I may need a higher sunscreen cream. I now use a SPF 15. I have fair skin, dark hair and hazel eyes.

The ultra-violet rays are stronger near the equator and especially in higher altitudes. I would suggest a higher SPF. The highest that I know is available in Canada is SPF 39. Apply the sunscreen at least a half an hour before going into the sun. Remember, there is tremendous reflection of UV rays around sand, water and under those clouds.