Q: “I’ve struggled with acne breakouts for a long time and haven’t found anything to help. What can I do to control my breakouts better?” – Soli
A: It takes some time to find a skincare routine that works for you. I know that when I buy a full skincare kit from a brand, I constantly run out of one product before the other and am forced to mix and match with whatever is available. Conveniently, that is what has led me to discover the perfect skincare routine. If you can, I’d recommend consulting with an esthetician or your dermatologist to see what they recommend and then go from there. Harsh scrubs with microbeads are much more damaging than they are beneficial for everyday use. It’s important to use irritant-free soaps as fragrances can help contribute to skin imperfections and discomfort. Exfoliate sparingly, use gentle soaps, and tone with something natural and acne-fighting (like witch hazel or tea tree oil). Then, be sure to moisturize to seal the good stuff in and keep the gunk out. When I feel a pimple begin to surface, I’ll dab a bit of tea tree oil on it to minimize its growth overnight. They have little pimple stickers at most drug stores or beauty stores to place on whiteheads at bedtime – for me, they work wonders. Be gentle with your skin even if you feel like you should be using harsh chemicals to quickly combat your skin. You must remember that balance is essential; aggressive acne cannot be treated with equal aggression. Of course, as I am not a professional, medical advice is where to start. Your skin may require pharmaceutical help beneath the surface, in which case a simple routine may not be enough. Regardless, I highly recommend a gentle and thorough approach with a foaming, fragrance-free cleanser with a strong toner and a lightweight moisturizer.
Q: “My best friend and I are interested in the same guy, but he is interested in me. How do I handle this situation around my best friend?” – Renee
A: Oof. A tough spot to be in. As long as you’re respectful of your best friend’s feelings, she/he should be respectful of yours. By that, I mean not to rub your relationship in her face until she/he is more comfortable with the situation and, also, for her/him to be supportive of your new romantic venture. It’s a difficult position and is a lot to ask of a best friend – and this will certainly be a test for your friendship. It may be difficult not to spill every detail of every date and conversation with them, but at least in the beginning, it is important to protect their feelings. Give it some time and be open with them as to how they are feeling and what you can do to help them feel better without sacrificing your own happiness. A true best friend will be there for you through every victory and every failure and, per the “friend code,” you should do the same.
Q: “I want my teenage son to talk to me about things going on in his life. How do I get him to open up to me?” – Elka
A: As a young adult myself, I find that I want my parents to ask about my life and take an interest. Forcing anyone to talk to you and be vulnerable with you is ultimately counterproductive: They raise their guard even higher and often are less likely to open up at all. It’s important to establish that trust between you two. Treat your son like another human being rather than your offspring and start to have conversations. Ask questions, be genuine, don’t press for a response, and don’t offer advice or input unless it seems like he wants it. The worst thing for many teenagers is getting advice after just telling a simple story. Be truly interested in his life and what he has to say, and approach the communication as an equal instead of as a parent. Some people believe that parents should not be friends to their children, but I firmly believe that they should at least be friendly. Your kids should feel like they can come to you with anything and have your support without judgment, with few exceptions. I hope that your son lets you into his world as comfortably for him as possible and that you continue to have a strong relationship!