Dear Dr. Wallace:

I worry about getting pimples, but so far, my complexion is clear. I wash my face at least four times a day. But my best friend’s mother, who is a beautician, thinks I’m doing my skin more harm than good. She says I’m washing my face so often I’m washing all the natural oils away and my skin will dry out and flake. This hasn’t happened yet and I am happy to report that my complexion is clear.

— Ms. Hygiene,

via email

Dear Ms. Hygiene: Most dermatologists recommended washing one’s face twice a day (morning and evening) with a mild soap and lukewarm water. Specks of dirt that become embedded in the skin do not cause pimples and blackheads. A clogged pore turns black when it’s exposed to air. It’s the same chemical reaction that causes the white part of an apple to turn brown when it is exposed to air. Perhaps in your case four washings work well, given the good results you are experiencing, but for most people two thorough washings are enough.

Dr. Wallace: I’m 17, and all I can think about is being a model. I’m popular, I get good grades in school, have a nice figure, and I’m considered to be good-looking. My only flaw is that maybe I’m too short. I’ve been told by modeling schools that a model must be at least 5’8” tall, and I am now through my growing phase, so I know already that I will never be that tall.

— Pretty but short,

via email

Dear Pretty: This is actually a popular question. Every week I receive three or four letters from young ladies inquiring about the requirements for becoming a model. I can understand why. It’s a glamorous job that pays extremely well for those few who are lucky enough to reach the top of that industry.

I called a model/talent agency and was told that the 5’8” height requirement is only for high-fashion models in centers like New York, Los Angeles, Paris, etc., but if you meet the other requirements (proper weight, poise, appearance, etc.), it’s possible to model regionally.

Check out modeling opportunities in your area. Contact department stores (fashion shows and makeup demonstrations), advertising agencies (regarding television and newspaper ads), local companies (for showroom demonstrations) and city magazines.

Continue your education and concentrate on speech, poise, drama and dance. It’s not easy, but the rewards are magnificent if you work extensively in the modeling industry. Good luck!

Dear Dr. Wallace: My question is regarding a girl who recently moved into our neighborhood and began attending our school. She invited a few girls to a slumber party next week to get acquainted. My best friend and I were both invited, and I was looking forward to going and having the new girl as a new friend because she seemed nice.

Last night, my existing friend called me and told me she wasn’t going to the party. When I asked her why, she told me she heard the new girl had a very bad reputation at her old school and was involved in sex and drugs. Do you think this could be true?

I’m not that kind of girl, and I wouldn’t want to damage my reputation by going to the party.

— Anonymous, via email

Dear Anonymous: Rumors have the way of being both vicious and unfair. Plan on attending the party. It will be a good way for you to make up your own mind about the new girl. If for some reason you don’t like the slumber party, or if you notice something wrong, call your parents immediately and have them take you home. But if you have a nice time and the new girl is trustworthy, you will have gained both a new friend and a valuable life lesson.

Write to Dr. Wallace at rwallace@galesburg.net.