Beauty SOS!

Monday, January 4, 2010
What is the best way to zap an ugly pimple, fast?
Never squeeze a pimple unless it has a fully formed whitehead, where the pus is all at the surface. In this instance, squeeze it gently using a tissue. Apply ice before and after, and finish with a dab of antiseptic.

At what age should I begin using anti-ageing skin care?
If you want your skin to stay looking youthful, rule number one is to stay out of the sun and use a sunscreen, or moisturiser containing sunscreen, every single day. Of course this can be practised from any age, the younger the better. In your 20s use a cream containing anti-oxidants such as vitamin C, green tea or pomegranate, to help prevent damage before it occurs. Once you hit your 30s it's a good idea to step up your skin-care routine with the addition of a night-time anti-ageing treatment. Whatever your age, always ensure you use a moisturiser daily to keep skin hydration levels up.

Is it true that cool tea bags placed on the eyes can help to reduce puffiness?
Yes, tea has been found to help reduce puffiness under the eyes because it has diuretic properties that combat swelling from fluids. Also worth a try are soothing chamomile tea bags, pieces of cucumber or teaspoons that have been cooled in the freezer.

I have some tiny white bumps on my face that are hard and a little painful to touch. What can they be?
These sound like milia, small oil cysts caused by trapped dead skin cells and sebum that has accumulated under the skin. Milia are too hard to squeeze, but they can be removed by a dermatologist or skilled beauty therapist. A sterilised needle is used to make a pin-prick incision, allowing the hardened debris to escape. Don't try this yourself as you could scar your face if you do it badly.

My sensitive skin is easily irritated by sunscreen. How can I protect it?
Choose a sunscreen with mineral-only ingredients as these are less irritating than chemical sunscreens.

Is there a way to fade freckles permanently?
Certain laser treatments or chemical peels can be used to fade freckles. You would need a consultation with a cosmetic physician or dermatologist to discuss these possibilities. Any treatment for freckles will last only as long as you stay out of the sun afterwards, and you should always use a maximum protection sunscreen.

How do you prevent an oily T-zone from shining throughout the day?
The best way is to use a good anti-shine product containing tiny micro-sponges that mop up excess oil. Facial blotting papers are also a quick and convenient way to mop up excess oil and keep skin clean and fresh, unlike the continuous reapplication of powder, which can look caked.

I have noticed brown patches of pigmentation on my face. What is this and what can I do?
When the skin pigment melanin fails to move evenly up to the top layer of the skin, areas of hyper-pigmentation become visible. This is usually triggered by sun exposure, although a trauma such as a pimple or mosquito bite may also cause melanin to rush to the surface. Hormones can stimulate melanin and irregular pigmentation is associated with pregnancy and the Pill as well. There is a plethora of whitening creams you could try, or certain lasers and intense pulsed light treatments such as Photofacial, available at cosmetic clinics, can also help.

What's the best way to file nails?
Always use an emery board, never a metal file. For natural nails make sure the emery board is no less than 240 grit (which refers to the degree of abrasiveness). Anything less is too harsh and is designed for acrylic nails. Always file your nails in one direction from the outside in, rather than sawing backwards and forwards, which is likely to cause nail breakages. Also, make sure the file is vertical (at a 90 degree angle from the nail) to file evenly rather than on a slant. Keep the shape slightly square to give the nails a better chance of growing stronger.

How can I stop fake tan from streaking?
A self-tanner generally streaks either because it has been unevenly applied or because it has been absorbed by dry patches on the skin. Avoid this by always exfoliating immediately before applying a self-tanner and by taking time to ensure every trace of the tanner is massaged well into the skin. Applying a moisturiser to dry areas such as the elbows, knees or heels before you start is also a good idea.

What's the best solution to deal with open pores?
Unfortunately there's no wonder cure for open pores, which are generally the result of excess sebum production or sun damage, where the skin loses elasticity around the pore. Anything that exfoliates the skin can help, including creams containing alpha or beta-hydroxy acids or vitamin A, as well as salon treatments such as microdermabrasion, peels or intense pulsed light.

I get ingrown hairs from waxing. Is there an easy way to prevent this happening?
Ingrown hairs, or pseudofolliculitis, occur when a hair curls into the side wall of the hair follicle, instead of growing straight out of a tube in the centre. Because waxing or tweezing can break the hair off at the very tip, there is more chance of the hair growing into the follicle side. The best way to avoid ingrown hairs is to exfoliate regularly to minimise dead cell build-up. Try using a loofah in the shower daily, together with body scrub at least twice a week.

What's the best way to get rid of unwanted facial hair?
Laser hair removal is certainly the most permanent option and works particularly well on darker facial hair. Contact a few reputable cosmetic or laser clinics to compare prices and find out how many treatments you're likely to need with their particular laser before you decide to go ahead.

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