How do you know if you have been exposed to too much sun – other than getting a burn? I have oily skin and don’t like the feel of greasy suntan lotions. Is there anything else I can use? I just love the sun and can’t seem to get enough of it.

No one is immune to the sun’s damage, but there are ways to minimize the damage. Most people think you have to burn to acquire a tan. If you burn, peel or freckle, it is a sign that you have had too much sun and some damage has been done. This damage accumulates over the years and shows up as a brownish mark known as an age spot or liver spot; as a raised black mole or a flat brownish discoloration. If you do burn, you should switch to a sunscreen with a higher sun protection factor. Once you have acquired some tan, it takes very little sun to maintain it: about 15 to 20 minutes a week.

There are lighter, non-greasy sunscreen formulas for oily skin (quite often a gel-like substance) and waterproof formulas will usually last longer. Also, remember not to overdo the suntanning just because you can’t see immediate results. Sometimes a burn or tan won’t be visible until hours later. Do apply sunscreen anytime you’re outside – not just when sunbathing – and don’t strive for the “ultimate tan.” Accept the fact that you’ll look healthy and attractive with just a little color.

I get cold sores quite often on my lips. How can I get them to disappear quickly and is there anything I can do to prevent them?

Cold sores are a form of herpes simplex, a virus that usually lies dormant in the body until activated by sunlight, stress, menstruation and an over-tired body. In the winter, lips can be chapped and dry which can activate the virus. Condition the lips with a lip balm and, if outdoors, make sure it is formulated with a sunblock. Medicated lip ointments or camphor will relieve some of the symptoms, and aid in healing. Avoid wearing lipstick as it can help spread the sores if the lipstick is not wiped off. This also applies to the lip balm. When I go to the beach or a pool party, I like to wear makeup. But, I would like it to look natural as possible. Any suggestions as to colors I should wear? My tan is quite golden and I have blond streaks in brown hair. Colors for the eyes are the mushroom/fawn tones or the bronze/sand tones with eggplant, violet or terra-cotta. On the lips and cheeks, try brownish gold, apricot or pale sienna. Make sure your skin is protected from the sun by using a suncreen lotion; a tinted sunscreen cream or foundation, or one of the toned color gels will add subtle touch.

Last year I had fake nails applied and now I have had them removed, but my own nails are weak and bend easily. How can I strengthen them?

Your nails have been weakened by the chemicals and filing or roughing that made the fake nails adhere to them. If not properly applied, fake nails can cut off the air supply at the cuticle area, which encourages bacterial or fungus growth.

To get the nails into shape – which will take about four to five months (that is how long it takes a nail to grow – you can cut them as short as possible and file them gently to even them. Give the nails a regular hot- oil treatment at least three times a week. You could use sesame or olive oil. Warm the oil and soak the nails in it for about 15 to 20 minutes. Wipe off some of the oil and massage the cuticle area gently. To aid circulation and for better growth, try buffing the nails several times a week. You can also apply protein treatments or a strengthening polish without the formaldehyde in it.

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