Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Woman Questions How To Deal With Wrinkles

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have pale skin that has begun to wrinkle, even though I’m barely 40. I already know from looking at my mother that I am destined to look like an old woman well before my time. Some of my friends have been getting collagen injections and Botox to smooth out their wrinkles. One of my colleagues went a step further and had plastic surgery. I don’t know what I should do, but I’m not ready to accept that I’m beginning to look like my grandmother. What do you recommend? -- Smooth Skin

DEAR SMOOTH SKIN: Go to a dermatologist and get a professional evaluation of your skin. Learn what you can do to keep your skin moisturized and supple. Find out if a cleansing routine that includes SPF will help. That requires no invasive treatment.

Ask about the levels of support that are available, from collagen and Botox all the way to plastic surgery. Talk about the pros and cons of each therapy, and get professional advice on what is recommended for your skin. Be sure to go to a dermatologist who is highly trained and respected.

If plastic surgery is an option, be sure to research a reputable doctor. Look at photos of patients the doctor has worked with so that you can figure out who is right for you.

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DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who loves me a lot but talks to me in a harsh way. I find that when I am feeling vulnerable or upset about something, I cannot talk to her for fear that I will start crying. She doesn’t know how to be gentle. I don’t think she intends to be mean, but sometimes it seems like that.

I really do appreciate her support. She often has great ideas, but it’s hard for me to accept them when she comes across as so judgmental. Is there anything I can say to her to get her to soften her words? -- Sharp Tongue

DEAR SHARP TONGUE: On a day when you feel strong and clear, contact your friend and tell her you need to talk to her about something. Then, tell your friend that you love her and you know she loves you, but it hurts your feelings when she is harsh or judgmental when you are in a vulnerable space. Be prepared with specific examples of her engaging you in sharp ways so that you can illustrate your concerns. Tell her that sometimes you need her to just be kind and to bite her tongue rather than laying into you about whatever is going on.

Chances are, she won’t be aware of how abrupt she seems. That’s why you should give her a couple of examples so that she can understand what you are talking about. Describe a scenario, including what was happening, how you were feeling and how she engaged with you. Then tell her how you felt and what you would have preferred. Ask her if she understands.

Ultimately, you may not want to talk to her when you are feeling emotional or vulnerable in some way, as you are asking her to be different than she is. That may not work, and you will end up with hurt feelings.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Etiquette & Ethics | Miscellaneous