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04 Feb - 10 Feb , 2012
expertadviceHeart TO Heart
For relationship advice and more, talk to your super-smart Sis.

Q: My best friend and I are both 32. We share a room and work in the same organisation. Both our families live far away and so we spend a lot of time together. We have been friends since our high school days and are more like sisters than just friends. At least, this is what I thought till recently. A week ago, my friend suddenly exploded and said that she hated me touching and using her things, especially her cosmetics and clothes. She also said that she had been upset about this since we had first begun sharing a room in college but that she had got up the courage to say this just now. Since then she has EXPERT ADVICEbeen behaving normally, but I am shattered. I feel hurt and insulted and cannot bring myself to talk to her. Should I shift out of our shared room? Tazeen, Islamabad
If you shift out, you would be losing something very precious, because a good friend is very difficult to find. Your friend had kept her feelings pent up a long time and that is why she exploded. Actually, what she said is right, one should not share cosmetics because sharing these can result in transferring germs and infection. Your friend has made it clear that she wants to continue being your roommate and friend. So it is best that you too act as if nothing has happened and be as friendly as before with one exception. You should not touch your friend's things. If you prefer you can bring up the subject with your friend, tell her you understand and that you will not use her cosmetics again. You can also tell her that you wish that she had told you about her feelings earlier.

Q: I am an unmarried woman of 38. I am the youngest of four siblings and I live with my parents. All my other siblings, two brothers and a sister, are married and settled in life but though my parents got all of them married, they are not at all concerned about me. This is because my mother has Parkinson's and I am her main care giver, I have been with her for the last 14 years. I love my mother and know that she needs me, but I want a life of my own too. I have now accepted that I am too old to get married, but I am a trained physiotherapist and would like to work, have a social life and enjoy myself. I haven't mentioned this to my siblings in case they think that I am being selfish, but I am getting more and more depressed. What should I do? Shiza Khan, Karachi
You are not the selfish one in your family, your siblings are. Your father too isn't doing his duty towards you, because having you stay at home taking care of your mother suits him. Since each member of your family is looking after his or her interests, you must speak out. Tell your siblings and father that you are tired and that you think that it's unfair that you have to sacrifice your whole life while your siblings do nothing to help. If you stand firm, you and your family can work something out. The others can take turns caring for your mother or your three siblings can pool in money and get a trained caregiver to look after her. Get yourself a job, but do not give up on marriage. These days many women get married late for various reasons.

Dr Shah Hussain

EXPERT ADVICEQ: I am 28 years old. Whenever I use hair-removing cream, my skin gets irritated at the site of application. What should I do? Please advise. Nisha, Karachi
A little irritation after the use of hair removing cream always takes place and you should apply some emollient cream to counter it. Generally this itching and burning sensation lasts for only a short period but if it persists longer, the possibility of an allergic reaction is to be considered and you will have to stop using that hair removing cream.

Q: I was a very plump teenager with weight 85kg, but I lost 20 kg in four months at a slimming clinic. I look very good but I have a problem. My upper arms have become flabby. Now, I cannot wear sleeveless dresses because I look like an old woman. How can I firm up my arms? Hania, Lahore
Flabby, swinging arm muscles are always due to weight-loss or age. In your case, it is the former reason which causes loss of elasticity in the skin. It is always recommended that together with dieting, exercise should also be done so that muscles are toned up and strengthened. A cosmetic surgery procedure called brachioplasty is the only answer for your problem. In this, the drooping section is incised and the skin is stitched back to give the arms a lift. Upper arm exercises like holding your palms on your shoulders and rotating the bent arms in clockwise and anticlockwise movements may tighten the droop a little too.

Q: I am a 23-year-old working girl, and my problem is that every time I apply lipstick, the colour begins to seep into the lines on the lips, because of which I have to reapply frequently. Please advise what should I do. Shaheeda Khanum, Karachi
Your condition called 'bleeding lips' is caused by dry, cracked lip surfaces. Apply lip balm at night and in the morning to smoothen the cracks and also drink at least eight glasses of water a day to rehydrate your skin. Try this technique: use a rich moisturised lip pencil to draw the lips' outline. Then fill in colour with the pencil on the lips and use a lip brush to blend the colour that would make it last longer. After the cracks heal, always use lipsticks with rich creams and emollients.

Q: How can I use a moisturising lotion and an SPF cream together? Aaliya Ali, Karachi
Apply the moisturiser first. Wait for a few minutes and then apply the SPF cream over it. This will ensure that you have a soft skin unaffected by ultra-violet rays too. Always use sun screens last, whether it is over make-up or over other creams.

General Physician
Q: I wanted to know whether drinking at least 7-8 glasses of water every day is normal. Ali, Lahore
Clean and fresh water is nature's best gift to humanity. Drinking 7-8 glasses of water daily is good for health. It will flush your body of toxins, keep you well hydrated and bring a fresh glow to your skin.

Q: I am 30 years old housewife. My problem is that whenever I walk, my legs start aching, especially my joints. I delivered a healthy baby three months ago. What could be the problem? Zainub Tahir, Karachi
Apparently, you are suffering from calcium deficiency which is quite common in young women. Calcium is important for healthy bones, and deficiency occurs through inadequate supply of calcium in diet. Unfortunately, though most of the households in our country profess to take a good diet, if we analyse the diets of such people, we will find that these so-called "rich diets" actually are short of essential nutrients. Moreover, during pregnancy, there is excessive strain on the mother. It will be advisable for you to take calcium supplements as recommended by your doctor.

If you want to discuss problems related to skin, hair and nails or if you have any health related queries that need to be answered, or if an onerous emotional problem is weighing you down, share it with us at askexpert@magtheweekly.com. Kindly mention your age and the column you have the question for in the subject line.

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