Shahnaz Husain, renowned and acclaimed pioneer of the beauty movement, answers some of the common questions concerning beauty and care:

Q. I have a lot of blackheads on my face. Please suggest a remedy to remove and prevent them.  
A. Blackheads occur on oily skin or oily areas of the skin. After washing the face in the morning, she can wipe the blackhead prone areas with an astringent lotion, using cotton wool. After washing in the morning, she can make a paste of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and water. Apply the paste on the areas with blackheads daily and wash it off after 5 minutes. Use a facial scrub two or three times a week on the blackhead prone areas. Facial scrubs are easily available. Or, she can mix oats with egg white and apply on the face twice a week. Wash it off when it is dry. She can also go for regular clean ups at a good beauty salon.

Q. My upper lip is dark & lower lip is pink. What should I do to make my upper lip also pink?
A. After washing the face, when the lips are wet, rub upper lip gently with a soft towel. This helps to remove dead skin. Then apply cream of milk on upper lip after adding a few drops of lemon juice. Leave on for an hour. Apply pure almond oil daily on the lips at night and leave on overnight. You can also look for a lip balm with sunscreen and apply on upper lips. Meanwhile you can take the help of make up by applying a brown matte (non-shiny) lipstick on the lower lip. Then apply the colour of your choice on both lips, so that both lips look the same colour.

Q. What should I do to get even skin tone and reduce dark patches on my cheeks?
A. You should apply a sunscreen with high SPF before going out in the sun. Try to avoid too much sun exposure as far as possible. Mix rice powder with curd and use as a facial scrub once or twice a week. Apply only on the dark patches and rub gently on the skin with tiny circular movements. Leave on for a few minutes and then wash off with water. Mix honey and lemon juice in equal quantities and apply daily only on the dark patches. Wash off after 15 minutes with plain water. Twice a week, apply face mask. Mix 3 teaspoons oatmeal with one teaspoon each of honey, curd and lemon juice, or egg white. Apply on the entire face, avoiding the lips and area around eyes. Wash it off after half an hour.

Q. My face is quite oily and I am allergic to make-up and creams. Can you suggest a natural remedy to improve complexion? 
A. After washing the face, apply astringent lotion using cotton wool, to reduce oiliness. You can mix cucumber juice with rose water and apply daily, washing off after 20 minutes. Use a facial scrub twice a week. They are easily available. Mix multani mitti with rose water and lemon juice into a paste and apply daily on the face, avoiding the lips and area around eyes. Wash it off when it dries.

Q. How to remove sun tan in arms? Suggest home remedies.
A. Apply sesame seed (til) oil daily and massage it on the skin of arms. Twice a week, use a scrub. Mix rice powder with curd and pinch of turmeric (haldi). Rub gently on the skin before bath and wash off while bathing. Mix gram flour (besan), curd, lemon juice and a little turmeric (haldi) and apply the paste at least three times a week on arms. Wash it off after half an hour. Then apply til oil and massage it into the skin, as recommended.

Q. My skin is oily. What can I apply to moisturize my face, without making it oily? Also, after applying sunscreen, my skin sweats. Which sunscreen will be absorbed quickly? Can I make sunscreen at home?
A. After cleansing, apply an astringent lotion, using cotton wool. This helps to reduce oiliness. For moisturising the face without making it oily, mix half teaspoon pure glycerine with 100 ml rose water. Keep in an airtight bottle in the fridge. Apply a little of this lotion on the face to moisturise the skin, without making it oily. Look for a ‘non-oily’ or ‘oil-free’ sunscreen. Or you can try a sunscreen gel and apply less. It is difficult to make sunscreen at home. It is better to use sunscreen made by a reputed company, with SPF number written on the label.

Q. My skin is sensitive to the sun. How can I protect it?
A. Protect the skin from the sun by applying broad spectrum sunscreens and wearing a hat or carrying a parasol (small umbrella). Try to avoid sun-exposure between noon and 3 p.m., when the sun is directly overhead. Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before sun-exposure. If you happen to be in the sun for more than an hour, re-apply the sunscreen. SPF 15 to 20 suits most skins. For sensitive and very dry skin, use higher SPF of 30 to 40.