I have to walk a long distance from the bus stand to my office and the road is not in good condition. I wear sandals as these are comfortable but the soles of my feet are getting dry and cracked near the heels and dirt collects in them and this makes my feet look ugly. What can I do about the cracks? Apoorva Banerjee, Asonsol

When you get back home, soak your feet for 10 minutes in warm, soapy water. Then, using a soft brush, clean the soles of your feet very gently in circular movements. Then rinse in cold water and dab dry. Now apply a pack made as follow: grind one tablespoon of grass and into it mix half a tablespoon of milk powder and four teaspoons of white pumpkin juice. Apply on the cracks, allow to dry and wash off. At bed time, rub melted Vaseline into the cracks and leave on.

I am 30 years old and my skin is normal, but it gets dry and dehydrated. If I use a cream I feel sticky and uncomfortable. What should I do? Please help. K Singh, Kolkata

This type of skin can be a problem. Wash it with a face wash and not soap or a cleansing cream. After clearing, dab with a skin toner and apply a moisturiser. Your skin is normal but is only superficially dry, so when you use a cream you will feel sticky, and if you do not you will feel dry. So the best thing for you to do is to use a moisturiser. There are different types available, from light to heavy — so by trial and error, find out which one suits you the best and stick to it. Use it both morning and night after cleansing.

Since I have a low metabolic rate please suggest certain types of food that can help increase my metabolic rate. I need to lose some weight quickly for a family function. Trina B, Siliguri

Here are some foods that you should have daily, like seafood and milk products. These contain a lot of iodine, which is needed to keep your thyroid functioning correctly. The thyroid gland controls, among other things, your metabolic rate and a deficiency can slow it down. So make sure you have seafood, milk or milk products daily. Also make sure you consume skimmed milk and not full fat milk. Have the seafood grilled or steamed instead of fried.  Have at least three cups of green tea daily. It contains flavonoids, which affect the hormone that produces energy. This, in turn, speeds up fat oxidation that helps keep you slim.

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