Cysts are sacs which form in the tissues and contain a liquid or semi-solid material. They are often painful due to the pressure on the surrounding areas. These affect men more often than women and are sometimes a signal of a systemic problem. They are not necessarily confined to adolescence and may persist into the 30s. Most often they occur on the back, chest, neck and lower part of the face. Cysts are best treated by a dermatologist.

I have heard that petroleum jelly on the face is very beneficial in fighting wrinkles. However, I have also heard that it causes facial hair to grow.

Petroleum jelly is a thick mixture consisting of purified, semi-solid hydrocarbons, a product of the petroleum industry. It can act as a shield to prevent moisture loss, eg. for downhill skiers, but it also prevents the elimination of perspiration and doesn’t allow oxygen to be absorbed by the skin.

Petroleum jelly is basically an inactive substance, i.e. it contains no nutrients and doesn’t actively do anything for the skin. By applying the jelly, you may cause more damage to the skin through wear and tear due to its thickness and lack of spreadability. It is too sticky to use under makeup and can cause puffiness or irritation if used around the eyes.

Abnormal hair growth is usually caused by internal changes such as fever, hormonal imbalances, medications, etc. An electrologist says that there are no studies to indicate that petroleum jelly can cause hair growth. There is a medicated jelly that contains cortisone and is used for razor burn, irritations, etc. Since cortisone can stimulate hair growth, there is a possibility that prolonged use of this may increase hair growth.

To prevent, or at least delay, the fines line of aging, you would be better to use a hydrating (moisturizing) cream suited to your skin type.

Recent surgery has left me with a scar. My doctor recommends injections of cortisone, however I understand that there is the risk of certain side effects. Could you please give me some more information.

Cortisone describes a particular group of steroid hormones, all of which have an anti-inflammatory action. When small amounts of corticosteroids are injected into a scar, the collagen (a tough connective tissue) is reduced and the scar is flattened out. Possible side effects from cortisone being taken internally, either by pill or injection, include altered serum electrolytes, (sodium, potassium, etc.) altered sperm mobility, convulsions, increased sweating, thin, fragile skin, bleeding into the skin. The possibility of side effects should be discussed with your doctor.

During the summer it is hard for me to keep my eyeshadow looking fresh, it always creases. Can you suggest a product or a way to prevent this.

To help prevent the eyeshadows from melting on your skin and creasing try the following suggestions:

Before applying any eyeshadow colors, brush on a translucent or base color eyeshadow powder. There are eye bases available from some of the cosmetic companies under the names of eye primer, before-eye-makeup base, shadow base. Any of these will create a barrier between the eyelid skin and the shadows. This helps prevent the colors from settling into the skin folds and keeps the color from changing.

Try one of the waterproof eyeshadows and mascaras.

Avoid cream and frosted eyeshadows as they end to melt more quickly.