The best ultraviolet absorbers are Paba (para-amino benzoic acid) or other derivatives called benzophenones. No sunscreen will give absolute protection and should not be used as an excuse to over- expose your skin to the sun. Even the most potent product still allows a certain amount of radiation to penetrate the skin. When applying it, do not try to rub it completely into the skin. It is better to apply the sunscreen evenly and lavishly and usually more frequently than instructions call for. Apply it at least one-half hour before going into the sun and reapply approximately every hour and after swimming, heavy perspiration, eg. after tennis, and more frequently in humid weather.

For your type of skin, the 15- to-21 strength should still be best as long as you follow the above guidelines. You should begin sun-bathing before 10 a.m. or after 3:30 p.m. Begin with a 10-minute exposure time and increase gradually. Only you can best determine your skin’s tolerance and know how long you can take the sun without getting a burn. And remember, the closer you are to the equator, the more intense the sun’s rays are, so reduce your time accordingly.

I seem to have a reaction to nail polish and have been informed that you can create a shine on the nail by buffing. Would this be good for the nails?

Buffing the nails with a special chamois buffer will stimulate the circulation to the nail bed and promote a healthier-looking nail. If there are any ridges on the nail, they will be smoothed down somewhat and a shine will be created. If you want an even brither shine (to look like a clear polish), you can use a buffing powder, cream or specially designed buffer. Check with various cosmetic counters, manicurists, estheticians, etc. The buffing action should be done in one direction only to avoid generating heat on the nail from friction.

Do you think that foundation makeup is too heavy to wear all day long?

Foundations have changed over the past few years. Now, not only can they hide imperfections or flaws such as pigmentation marks, couperose, blemish marks, dark circles and uneven skin tones, there are also some that minimize pore size, normalize skin by controlling oily or dry complexions and have some sunscreen properties to block out the UV rays. When properly chosen and applied, they are very comfortable to wear all day. If you do choose to wear a foundation, change it as the season changes. In the winter, most skins need a type with a little more moisture. In the summer, a lighter type or just a tinted cream will do.

I am male, 36, and I recently had an accident which left a scar through my eyebrow. Now part of my eyebrow looks higher than the other, how can I straighten it and how do I go about tweezing it?

It would be best to have a professional esthetician shape the eyebrow first rather than attempting to do it yourself and making an error. They may use a warm wax method to even out the shape. They should first discuss with you how much is to be removed and what shape you want it to be. The wax, in a warm liquid form, is applied to the area that is to be removed. When it is cooled, it is quickly stripped off. The skin is a bit tender for a second, but the method is quick and probably less painful than plucking. If the scar has left an obvious white line, you can learn how to cover it using an eyebrow pencil to lightly feather stroke over it.

Instead of waxing, an esthetician may tweeze the hairs. The brow area should be first washed, then cleaned with a disinfectant and then the hairs are removed one at a time, being tweezed out in the direction that they grow.

I am 22 and have been using lot of acne medication over the past five years. The acne is cleared but now my skin is dry and I am afraid to use a moisture cream in case the acne comes back.

You would not likely have any problem if you use products made specially for your skin type. If you are uncertain, have your skin properly analyzed by a couple of different cosmeticians or beauty therapists and see what the answer is. If the opinions are different, then seek still a third opinion.

Some acne treatments contain highly drying agents that dehydrate the skin – sulfur, alcohol, resorcinal. This is compounded by excessive application, year after year. Even though you feel that your skin is dry, do not plaster it with oil-based moisturizers, petroleum gels and creams, etc. It is likely that your skin is still oily but feels dry due to dehydration and these would only clog it. Choose a water- based moisturizer (the water will be listed first in the ingredients) that contains the moisturizing ingredient urea, or one that is lipid (fat) free. You could also begin by using a weekly moisturizing mask and choosing a milder soap. Begin the new program slowly so you can monitor the results.

Would you suggest using a makeup sponge to apply foundation or is it better to use your fingers?

Personal preference is an important factor but we find that by using the sponge the base is blended more smoothly than with the fingers. If you have too much foundation on the fingers, it is difficult to get rid of any excess, whereas the sponge will absorb some of it. The sponge, if kept clean, will not transfer bacteria and natural skin oils to the face as will the hands. The application will be sheerer if the makeup sponge is first dampened slightly.