It doesn’t seem to matter what kind of lipstick I buy, it ends up flaking and my lips become cracked. If I put lip gloss underneath it, it seems to bleed in the lines above my lip. Is there any kind of lipstick that you could recommend?

Since there are so many kinds of lipsticks on the markets, it would be impossible to list them all. But dry, chapped lips or an allergy to the dyes/pigments in the lipstick may cause the lips to crack and peel. Try a lip conditioner (they come in stick or creme form) first and then the lipstick over top. The lip gloss is usually used as a highlighter on the bottom lip only or it may be used alone. The lipstick on top of the gloss will probably bleed as the gloss doesn’t allow the lipstick to adhere to the lips, and the warmth of the lip area melts the gloss, therefore it would also bleed. Tiny vertical lines that appear around the lips are caused by smoking, habitual lip movements or sun and wind exposure. To prevent the bleeding of lipstick, powder the skin around the lips, line the lips with a lip-pencil (the color nearly matching the lipstick) and then fill in the lines with the lipstick using a lip brush.

I tan quite easily and don’t burn (just redden slightly) so do I still need a sunscreen?

The melanin or pigment coloring of the skin is for protection and to absorb visible and ultraviolet light rays, preventing damage to underlying tissue.

The number of melanocytes (skin cells that contain the pigment) varies from area to area. There are about 2,000 melanocytes per square millimetre of skin on the face, but only 1,000 on the arms and legs. All races have roughly the same number of pigment synthesizing cells distributed throughout the skin. Facial differences in color are determined by the ACTIVITY of the melanocyte and more specifically by the way the melanin is arranged inside the epidermal skin cells after it has been transferred from the melanocyte. In white skin, melanin is aggregated into pockets of granules while in black skin the pigment is dispersed throughout the cell as single particles. The later provides more light absorbing surface and since absorbed light is not reflected back to the eye, it appears darker in color. UVB rays burn the skin thus initiating the production of melanin. This production is continued by the presence of the UVA rays. To some degree you are still getting a bit of burn when you are in the sun, even when you have some tan, eg. a black skin can burn at the beginning of the summer with sudden exposure.

Tanning takes place in two phases; 1. immediately upon exposure to ultraviolet light, the melanin or pigment already present in the epidermal cells is oxidized from a brown to a darker brown color. At the same time, the melanin granules are re-distributed to the epidermal cells in a manner that creates further darkening of the skin. 2. The more permanent tan begins to appear two or three days after exposure to the sun. In this delayed tanning process the melanocytes are activated to produce more melanin, which spreads to the surrounding cells giving an even color.

Some sun exposure is good for the body (and the mind), but moderation is the key. After a long winter, many people tend to try and get as much sun as they can in the summer and they inevitably burn. Even in people who appear to tan easily, there is some burning of the skin. We suggest that you avoid deliberate tanning – such as lying in the sun and baking. When out of doors, protect exposed area with sunscreens (applied regularly), hat and sunglasses. It is especially important to protect the face, which tends to age and wrinkle more quickly anyway.

So even if you tan easily, we suggest you use sunscreen to eliminate the subsequent damage to the skin that the sun does – thickening or leathering, wrinkles and lines and the possibility of cancer. Sunscreens contain ingredients to filter out damaging rays but they still allow you to tan at a slower rate. They often contain moisturizers to soften and preserve the moisture in the skin. Baby oil and some cocoa butters can lubricate the skin but they offer no protection – in fact they increase the sun’s radiation by approximately 15 per cent. The oils can seal in the heat and prevent evaporation of perspiration which is your own cooling system and they make the skin more translucent, which can cause you to burn faster and/or be subjected to sun stroke. To some degree the sunscreens can help protect the skin from aging but plastic surgeons and skin specialists agree that the characteristics of aging skin (brown spots, dilated veins, leather-like skin) are the common result of repeated sunning over the years.

My 12-year-old daughter would very much like to have electrolysis done on her facial hair. Is it advisable for one so young and is it effective? Can it scar her skin?

We have been advised by a well-qualified electrologist that electrolysis would indeed be effective for your daughter’s problem. In fact, we’re told, it is often better to take care of it at this early stage. The hairs are likely finer now and easier to eliminate. Usually parental permission is required under the age of 16. When seeking out an electrologist, always inquire about the person’s qualifications and request a personal consultation. There is occasionally some scarring with this procedure when it’s carried out by someone who is not properly trained.