Is it possible to have both dry skin and acne? My skin is tight and flaky but I have a lot of acne, too. I cleanse my skin at least four times a day and use an astringent after cleansing. Can you tell me how to deal with this problem?

Because of environmental conditions, skin can have a low moisture level. Even oily skins need moisture, they are quite often dehydrated. The problem usually arises with those who overdo skin-care regimes. Overzealous use of soaps, astringents, washing too often or too vigorously can strip the outer skin of its naturally protective mantle and leave your skin open to bacterial invasion which can cause acne. Even a skin with acne can feel drawn, taut and very flaky as a result of over-washing, the use of drying medications and the absence of protective creams. If you have acne, a light, non-greasy moisturizer can help to counterbalance dehydration in the skin.

I suggest that you cut down the washing program to twice a day – in the morning and evening with a mild cleanser suited to your skin type. Use lukewarm water and an alcohol-free lotion afterwards and then apply a light, oil-free moisturizer. Surface moisture can help the skin keep the bacterial level down. Guard against moisture loss indoors by keeping the thermostat low, using humidifiers and investing in houseplants as they do fill the environment with moisture. Also drink lots of water.

Even though I wash my skin at night and get rid of makeup, I still wake up in the morning with raccoon eyes from my mascara? How can I get it off?

It is important to take off all mascara and makeup as it can grind into the skin as you sleep. Check the formula of your mascara to find out whether you should use water and cleanser or an oil-based remover. The oil, cleanser, or gel should be left on at least 30 seconds or so to soften the mascara before washing it off. Wet a cotton ball, squeeze out the excess water and then gently wipe across the eyelid and down the lashes. There is also non-oily eye makeup remover especially for contact- lense wearers. After lashes have been properly cleansed, condition them with a lash cream to moisturize the hairs.

I have a heavy growth of hair on my chin and upper lip which I have waxed regularly. The re-growth is finer, but when I’m travelling, I find it difficult to have it done. I am considering having electrology. Could you tell me a little more about it?

In electrolysis, a fine needle is inserted into the follicle to destroy a reproductive cell in the papilla by heat coagulation. The needle itself is insulated (except for the tip) so no damage can be done to the skin. You will feel a slight sensation such as a sting. There may be reddening or hives, or even transparent liquid forming a tiny scab when it dries. But this will disappear after a few days. Try not to wash the area or touch it for approximately 12 hours. Keep the area clean with rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide or a soothing cream or gel. This does not interfere with skin functions or oil secretion. It is better to have sessions approximately a week apart than to go for extensive treatments. Also, there is no guarantee as to how long it will take to destroy a certain amount of hair permanently, since everyone’s hair growth pattern is different.