Is there anything that can be done to remove the acne scars on my face? I am 28 and have had them since my teen years.

Scars are a normal part of the healing process. The amount of scarring produced by acne flare-ups depends on the grade of acne (mild to severe) and the individual’s ability to heal. Fortunately there are several methods that a dermatologist or plastic surgeon can use to lessen the unsightly appearance of scars. It is assumed that there are no longer any major acre flareups causing further scarring or the procedures would have to be repeated.

To fill in soft, crater-like pits and depressed areas, some doctors are now using injections of collagen implants. This is a protein normally found in the connective tissue of the body which, for this purpose, is extracted from cows. The extract is highly purified and is approved for use by dermatologists and plastic surgeons. This treatment is not recommended if you are pregnant, have arthritis, ulcerative colitis or other connective tissue diseases.

Two other methods are used to peel off the outer layer of skin, which is then replaced by younger and fresher looking skin from beneath. Both methods can be employed on specific areas or as a general treatment. The first is called dermabrasion and involves the sanding down of the outer layer of skin. The second method accomplishes this with the use of a chemical solution that ‘burns’ it off. Recovery time will be at least two weeks and any possible risks or side effects should be discussed first with the doctor. Surgical results are affected by the extent of scarring, hereditary factors that influence the individual’s healing process, your age, skin type and color. The decision as to the best type of treatment for your particular case must be made in consultation with the specialist. To find a dermatologist or plastic surgeon who performs these procedures, ask your doctor or phone the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Our daughter is interested in having someone restyle her long hair. Could you advise us on how to look for a good stylist?

Hairdressers that we consulted had many suggestions to help you determine whether a stylist is going to do a good job for you or not. To find one try asking friends for recommendations. If you’re not shy about it, you could even ask a stranger who is wearing a style that you admire. Make an appointment for a consultation and don’t feel pressured into getting a cut right away. You want to build a sense of trust and communication with your stylist, for example, knowing that if you ask for a trim that that is what you will get. Communication is the key here in explaining the look of length that you want. If you have a picture that shows what you’re aiming for then bring it along. But also listen carefully to the hairdresser’s recommendations as she or he may be able to suggest looks that would be more flattering to her face shape and features and that would also work better with her hair’s texture. The hairdresser should also examine your daughter’s hair when it’s dry.

Unless you particularly want this, try to avoid having the hair cut in a style that can be worn only one way. There is more flexibility when you opt for a cut that can be worn in several styles. To test if the cut is a good one, shake your head from side to side, bend over from the waist then return to an upright position. If the hair falls naturally back into place then it’s a good cut. A good cut also sits well and grows in well while maintaining its shape for a reasonable length of time. Keep up the style by having it trimmed again before it loses its shape. You’ll be able to tell when you’re in need of a cut better than anyone else – it becomes difficult to manage and loses its body. Usually short hair is cut every five to six weeks, ear length every seven to nine weeks and shoulder length and longer every nine to 10 weeks.

What type of blushers do you recommend? Some seem to disappear on me after a while. I am 16 and my skin is oily.

Blushers can be chosen according to the type. They come in cream, powders, gels and sticks. Most wmen seem to prefer the powder but people with dry skins and mature women do well with the cream type as it looks most natural on them. Oilier-skinned people such as yourself prefer the powder because of the texture. Some people apply a gel or cream blusher first and a powder over it but this takes a practiced hand. Gels create a translucent look but can have a drying effect on the skin. These are fine on an oily skin as well.

When choosing a blusher, rub some of the tester between your finger tips. Note whether it is soft, silky and smooth or chalky, course and dry. (The latter may look streaky and chalky when applied.) If the color adheres well to the fingertips, then it will likely remain on the cheeks throughout the day. Look for a matte finish as this type lasts longer, too.

Choose a blush that has depth to the color. In this case, you can go darker or softer depending on how heavily it is applied. Generally speaking, an olive complexion or one that is sallow should use very clear shades of pink or red. A reddish compexion will look less so with shades of peach or coral. Tanned skins are enhanced by bronze, honey or bright corals. Clear reds, dark brick red and some of the purples flatter a black skin.

Apply the blusher over the translucent powder. It will go on more smoothly than when applied over a damp foundation or moisturizer. Apply it to the fullest part the ‘apple’, of the cheek. Avoid blending it directly under the eye, no higher than the top of the ear and no lower than the ear lobes.