I am 45 and want to purchase a good cream for my skin. Will the collagen creams be better for me? Why does one product cost $18 and another $50?

The connective tissue of the dermis of the skin changes as the body ages so that its elasticity and the capacity to absorb water is reduced.

Collagen is one of the principal constituents of the connective tissue (the other is elastin) and when it starts to diminish, the skin starts to lose the full, soft appearance that is characteristic of a child’s skin.

Collagen helps to maintain a high level of water or hydration in the skin. The collagen used in creams will not replace lost collagen in the skin, but it has the ability to increase the skin’s capacity to retain fluid, thereby improving its elasticity and providing a more youthful appearance.

It should also be noted that collagen used in a product should be hydrolized or soluble collagen so that under ideal conditions it may penetrate into the skin. These products are usually much more expensive.

Other products contain such a small percentage of these ingredients that they will have little or no effect on the skin.

Your skin can also inhibit the penetration of products if it is not clean, if the PH balance of the surface is not correct, or if there is a buildup of dead cells.

A collagen cream is generally very light in texture and you need to use only a small amount. The cream helps the skin retain fluid, improves the texture, helps delay the formation of wrinkles and the effects of premature aging.

Some magazines recommend using strawberries, avocado, cucumber etc. on the skin. Is this of any benefit? My skin is very dry and sensitive.

The best treatment for your skin is a diet that includes a good balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and the daily requirements of vitamins, essential minerals aad water.

The application of extracts such as wheat germ oil, turtle, avocado oil etc. can give the skin a smooth and supple feeling and they can be an effective water-retaining shield, but then, oils are the basic ingredient of most cosmetic products.

My nails seems to peel and flake a lot and they break off before they are a decent length. I use hand lotion several times a day and they still peel. I use nail polish regularly.

Do you apply a base coat before nail polish? Do you use nail polish remover more than once a week? After using nail polish remover do you wash your hands without applying a nourishing nail or cuticle cream? Do you use a lot of harsh detergents? Do you do a lot of gardening? Do you pick off the nail polish? Any of the above practices could dry or destroy the proteins of the nails and cause them to become less elastic, therefore brittle. In the meantime, cut nails short and try regular massage to help the circulation. This will strengthen nails and make them more pliable. Apply nail cream liberally and as often as possible during the day and evening for at least a few weeks. During the day, apply a nail strengthener to help seal flaking edges. Try using a hand cream instead of a lotion. Cream gives more protection because it contains less water and helps retain moisture better.

Would you tell me how soon after having an anesthetic one can have a perm? My hairdresser suggests two to six months.

Most hairdressers suggest three to six months before you should consider a permanent after surgery and anesthetic. It takes approximately that long for the anesthetic to work its way out of the hair and the skin. You could probably chance a perm before two months, but it’s a risk and you could further damage your hair. In the meantime, you could have your cut shorter or try a simple hairdo that you can manage.