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28 Jan - 03 Feb , 2012
expertadviceHeart TO Heart
For relationship advice and more, talk to your super-smart Sis.

Q: There are so many opportunities available to children these days and I want my two girls aged 9 and 7 to avail all of them. I want them to attend all classes possible so that they can discover where their talents lie. I want them to attend the best school in the city we live in, even though it is very expensive. I feel that my husband should find the money for all this somehow or the other. But my husband disagrees with me. He says that we should cut our coat according to our cloth and that our girls will be all right even without all the extras I want them to have. We are fighting a lot over this these days. Which of us is right? Farhat Ali, Karachi
Your husband is. Every parent wants to give their children everything in the world, but few of us can afford to. The large majority of us have to make the best of what we have and give our kids as much as we can afford. And believe me, our children won't suffer by not being given everything. They will, in fact, grow up to be more mature and less selfish. They will choose more carefully and know the value of money. So don't think of giving your children everything, but think of giving them all you should give them. See how their interests develop and then let them join classes. Put them in the best school you can EXPERT ADVICEafford and then make sure that they work hard.
But you can also think of ways of earning some money yourself so that you can do more for them.

Q: I am a 22-year-old girl. I have graduated and am now working. My two best friends visit me regularly, often sleep over and frequently ask me to come and spend a few days at their places. But my parents and elder brother still do not allow me to go and spend even one night outside the home. Even permission to visit my friends is given reluctantly. All my friends have more freedom than I have. I resent this. What should I do? Sidra Khan, Karachi
Your family is obviously very protective about you. This is due to their love for you and so you should not resent it. But you can also tell your parents and brother that you are now grown up and that you should be allowed more freedom. They may then allow you to go out with friends more. But many parents are not comfortable with their daughters spending nights at their friends' homes, especially if there are young men in those homes. You will have to accept this unless you are ready to rebel and challenge their authority. But would you want to do this?
Talk to your parents and remember, the more mature your behaviour, the more freedom your family is likely to give you. But try and understand them too.

Q: I have grown up living in a nuclear family with my parents and younger sister. But recently, my aunt's daughter has come to live with us since she has finished her education and there aren't many job opportunities in the small town in which my aunt lives. But though my cousin is my age, I do not like having her live with us. I feel that I have no privacy and I hate sharing my room with her. Should I tell my parents how I feel and insist that they send her away?
Our society has a tradition of living in joint families and of helping relatives when they are in need. This is a great strength of ours and it would be a pity if we lose this tradition as more and more of us begin to live in nuclear families. You have not said anything about your cousin not being a nice person. What you seem to object to is her very presence in your home. You seem to have forgotten that she is a close relative who is about your age. You could have a lot of fun with her and build a close relationship with her! And, while she needs your help today, do not forget that you might need hers in the future. So, welcome her into your home.

Dr Shah Hussain

EXPERT ADVICEQ: What is the best laser treatment available for getting rid of fine lines? Nida Khawar, Karachi
Fine lines can be treated with a pixel laser or a non-ablative erbium laser. There is some scab formation for about three to four days after the pixel laser treatment, which fall off and leave smooth skin behind. It takes about two to three months for collagen remodelling and reduction of fine lines. Non-ablative lasers may not be as effective, but they don't lead to scab formation and may be better for those who don't want any downtime. Radiofrequency skin tightening is another good option to reduce fine lines.

Q: I work out every day so my hair gets a little greasy. Whenever I shampoo, I lose a lot of hair, so I want to avoid washing it every day. Is it okay to leave the hair a little greasy? Ayesha Javed, Lahore
It is not good to leave your hair greasy. You should rinse your hair with water and dry it well in case you don't want to shampoo. You may even wash your hair daily with a mild moisturising shampoo – baby shampoos and conditioners are best. Make sure to condition your hair at least twice a week. Do not blow-dry everyday; this will make your hair dry and brittle. Avoid going for chemical treatments such as hair perming or straightening. Have a high-protein diet and take supplements of iron, calcium and zinc to keep your hair healthy.

Q: I have dark elbows and knees. My mother suggested I use a scrub of chickpea flour and malai. Will it help? Can you suggest other options? Hania Samad, Karachi
Excessive dryness and friction causes darkening of elbows and knees. You may certainly use a scrub of chickpea flour and malai. Coconut milk is a natural skin moisturiser and can be used as well. You should use a good moisturiser with coconut milk or cocoa butter or shea butter on the dry, dark areas. At bedtime, you could apply a 6 per cent glycolic acid-based cream for about six to eight weeks. Moisturise your skin at least twice a day. You could also go in for a few sessions of diamond peel and phenol peel to get rid of the pigment.

Q: Can hair products cause dandruff? I've noticed that my dandruff problem worsens after using certain products. Umar Khan, Islamabad
Dandruff could occur due to a hormonal disturbance or even stress. Infection, injury to scalp, faulty diet and excessive use of hair products like conditioner, hairspray, mousse and gels, too, can also cause dandruff. Wash your hair and scalp frequently – it could be daily or every alternate day, depending on how stubborn your dandruff is. Use a shampoo with zinc pyrythione and ketoconazole. Do not take hot showers. Apply a solution containing salicylic acid to release the flakes. Don't apply oil frequently, as this will aggravate the dandruff. For persistent dandruff, you may have to consult a dermatologist, as you could be suffering from seborrhoeic dermatitis or scalp psoriasis.

General Physician
Dr Sadqa Gul
EXPERT ADVICEQ: I am a 26-year-old woman and am overweight. Over the last year or so I have a terrible bloated feeling in my stomach after I eat anything at all. I would wake up and have a fairly flat stomach but if I eat so much as a slice of toast, I get a hard stomach and feel bloated. I had a smear test a few months ago and even the nurse commented that I looked bloated. I sometimes suffer from constipation but even when I don't I suffer from this. Can you advise me what it could be? Reema, Islamabad
Bloatedness can be a very uncomfortable symptom and can be associated with a diverse range of conditions. For example it is commonly associated with hiatus hernia and disorders of the gallbladder. It can also be associated with lactase deficiency, which means the affected person has a difficulty in digesting dairy products. Lactase is the enzyme that digests lactose, which is the sugar contained in milk and other dairy products. Therefore if a person is deficient in this particular enzyme the lactose remains undigested. Sometimes the feeling might even be due to bolting down food too quickly, which results in swallowing copious amounts of air along with the food thereby inflating the stomach. Unfortunately it is not possible for me to be more specific in this response because bloatedness alone is a not a very reliable indicator of any condition in particular.

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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