I am going south for Christmas and I have a SPF 22 sunscreen. Will this block out the sun’s rays so that I do not get any tan? The label suggests that I apply it before going into the sun. How long before?

A sunscreen at SPF 22 will not block out the sun’s rays and you will acquire a tan. I understand that in Canada you can purchase a sunscreen with a SPF of 39 which still will not completely block out the sun’s rays. The oxide type of paste will do that. You should apply sunscreen cream or lotion approximately 30-60 minutes before going into the sun. It needs this time to work with the amino acids or proteins of the skin. When applying the lotion, do not rub it into the skin like a moisturizer. Apply it with one-way strokes to the skin’s surface. If you rub it into the skin, the UV rays may be absorbed to the level of penetration. Keep in mind that when you go south, you are closer to the equator and you may need more protection or may need to apply the one you have more often.

Could you give me the name of a product that will get rid of wrinkles. If my skin is dry, will I be more prone to them?

There is no product that I am aware of that will get rid of wrinkles. Wrinkles are caused by structural changes in the dermis as a result of sun exposure especially, poor diet, medication, age, rough treatment of the skin, stress (emotional and physical) etc. Dry skin Рif it lacks oil Рneeds treatment to stimulate oil production. Years of neglect in treating dryness may leave your skin more susceptible to wrinkles. To help prevent wrinkles (some of them) avoid as many of the causes as possible.

I use a good cleanser, toner and moisturizer and sometimes a mask. But my skin can still feel rough to touch and it doesn’t seem to have any glow, unless I use makeup. Is there something else I can use to make it feel soft and smooth?

Sometimes cleansing, toning and moisturizing aren’t enough to keep the skin looking smooth and clean as well as glowing. Sloughing, exfoliating, desincrusting or peeling are important, simply because our air is more polluted, we are under more stress, our diets and lifestyles have changed, central heating and air conditioning are more common in every home, office and car and this all affects the skin. The accumulation of dust, dirt, pollution, grime, sebum and body wastes causes the top layer of your skin to develop a thin layer that traps complexion problems beneath. This can also make the skin appear dull, greyish and flaky. A peeling cream, lotion or enzyme are gentler to use than those with harsh grits or a sandy texture. Grains of sand can scratch the skin’s surface if used too roughly. The number of times it’s used depends upon the skin type. At home, general sloughing should be done about once to twice a week for oily skin and once a week for normal to dehydrated skin. People with very thin, sensitive or blotchy skins should use only organic-based peeling agents which dissolve the dead cells. Peeling agents can be purchased as creams, powders, liquids or gels and are usually applied after a cleansing. They help remove the dead, dry cells from the surface so the skin is softer, smoother, and more receptive to treatment or active ingredients in creams. Peeling can ease the removal of blackheads over a period of time by removing the dead cells that may be covering pore openings. Some agents are also formulated to brighten the complexion, reduce pigmentation spots, refine the skin, improve the skin’s respiration, etc.

I quite often get a bout of cold sores during a stressful time. They are irritating and not very attractive. How can I speed up the healing process?

Cold sores or herpes simplex are the result of a viral infection carried in the bloodstream and they usually appear on the mouth or around the nostrils. The itching or burning sensations usually occur up to 12 hours before the appearance of a small cluster of blisters which eventually break and form a scab. You could use camphorated ointments, benzoic peroxide, lavender oil to give some relief.