Should everyone use a moisturizer? I have been using a lotion-type of moisturizer but my skin feels oily all the time. I have tried other types but have not been pleased with them either.

We believe that all types of skin should get some form of protection, but it must be the proper one, according to your skin type. Since it seems that your skin is oily, for example, you will need one that is especially suited to an oily skin, i.e. one that has a humectant or hydrating agent in it and not the extra oils that some creams offer. This type of moisturizer helps retain the natural fluids of the skin without affecting the oil balance.

There are several reason for using a protective, moisturizing barrier on the skin. The cold and biting winds of our climate are very drying to the skin. All types of central heating (and fireplaces) in homes and offices make the air dry and rob your skin of precious moisture. Moisturizers can help to prevent this. Pollution from industrial waste, exhaust fumes, smoking, etc. circulate through the air and deposit a film of destructive grime on the skin. This can begin to erode the delicate tissues of an unprotected skin.

To maximize the protection, thoroughly clean off the dirt and pollution morning and evening and apply the appropriate moisturizing barrier. The moisturizer works best if it is applied over a skin left slightly damp from the application of the toner. The moisturizer will keep the water from evaporating. Apply it over the face and include the neck. If areas of the skin are extremely oily, you may omit it from these areas. (Some companies make creams to help balance oil production and you may use one of these on just those areas.) If the skin looks too moist or greasy, just blot the excess, it won’t remove the protective barrier, and use a little less cream next time.

You should also note that moisturizers containing a high level of glycerine-type ingredients work best in humid weather because they draw water from the air. But in dry climates, the glycerine works in reverse, taking water from the skin. Also, in both winter and summer, look for a daytime moisturizer with some level of sunscreen.

I am getting “whiteheads” across my cheeks. I have tried to squeeze them but all I do is redden or bruise the area. How do I get rid of them?

True “whiteheads” appear as pearly, rounded bumps under the skin or raised slightly above it. They are the result of oil that is trapped under the skin and has then hardened. They are hard to the touch and the smaller ones look like grains of sand. They are formed when sebum becomes trapped in a blind duct, with no surface opening. This is why you cannot easily squeeze them out. They are more common on dry skin but are also found on oily skins. Often they form after injury to the skin, sunburn, windburn, pressure on the nose or cheeks from heavy glasses, etc. If they are newly formed, they may disappear if you massage the skin and they are reabsorbed by the body. But if they have been there for a while or are quite large, a dermatologist or beauty therapist (esthetician) will have to remove them for you.

Whiteheads are removed by piercing a small opening in the surface of the dry layer of skin cells, through which the debris can be squeezed out. There is no damage in this as the puncture is not made through any live skin tissue.

My forehead is quite high and wide. My hairdresser has suggested that I wear bangs but I am not so sure about this. I thought I would ask your opinion before I take this drastic step.

We agree that your hairdresser has made a good suggestion as bangs will soften the horizontal line and draw attention to your eyes. Bangs need not be severe and straight across, if this is what you are afraid of. They can be light, feathered bangs, perhaps some loose tendrils or just a few wispy fringes. You need only enough to break up the width of the forehead.

I am trying to find a mask that is good for my skin. I have read that oatmeal is good but found that it left my skin dry. Do you have any suggestions? (I am 45.)

Oatmeal as a mask is well known for its refining, cleansing and calming effect on normal to oily skins. The fine (ground) oatmeal can be mixed with water, rose water, witchhazel etc. If you find it drying on your skin, it is probably not appropriate for your particular skin type. You may require a moisturizing mask such as collagen, or honey, whose action is to soften and refresh the skin without removing the natural oils.

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