I’m in my early 40s and have been using a vitamin cream for about four months. My wrinkles are lessened to some degree but my skin is red and tender. What can I do about the redness? Is the cream safe to use around the eyes?

 Vitamin A acid has been an acne cream or treatment cream since the mid- seventies. It is a prescription drug. Several studies have shown that the drug is also effective in improving the skin by removing fine wrinkles caused by sun damage.

It seems to work by peeling the outer layer of skin, which makes some skins look smoother, but the constant peeling can make your skin red and sensitive. It can cause irritation and a burning sensation, it increases your sensitivity to the sun, therefore you burn and form pigment faster. You should use a sun block or sunscreen of at least 20 SPF or higher. In extremely high dosages, the derivative of Vitamin A may cause birth defects. It is better to use products that peel the skin without irritation and reddening.

Do not use it around the eyes, it is not suitable for the fragile skin of the eye area. Wrinkles are the result of loss of collagen and elastin in the underlying skin tissue, either from smoking, sun exposure, genetics, rough handling of skin over the years, medications, alcohol, etc. If you don’t want wrinkles, then take some precautionary moves such as stopping smoking, wearing a sun screen, etc. Once you have had sun damage or a burn – at any age – it registers on the skin.

Since the birth of my baby, I have an abundance of black hair on my arms and upper lip. I have shaved it but then my skin is rough and it catches on my sweaters and fine blouses. Depilatories aren’t any better than shaving, and having electrolysis is too expensive. What else can I do?

Since you have just had a baby, the hair may be a result of a hormone imbalance and may last only a few months. But for immediate improvement you could try waxing or have the hair bleached. Waxing gives immediate and effective results. The hair which is pulled out by the root does not return for approximately three to six weeks. Bleaching creams must be left on at least 20 minutes, depending upon how coarse the hair is and the color desired. It is safe for most areas of the body, but do test it first for any reactions.

I have never dyed my hair, but would like to change the color. It is dark blonde, should I try a yellow blonder or a silvery shade?

Try to avoid any drastic change, especially the first time. It is always easier to add more color than to remove it. I would suggest a consultation with your hairdresser or a colorist for suggestions. Try wigs for the over-all effect. You could streak or highlight the hair to add a lighter dimension.