Dry Skin Care – Tips to Improve Your Dry Skin

Like regular basic good skin care, dry skin care must be performed on a daily basis. Proper cleansing, toning, and moisturizing practices should become as natural and routine to your day as exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, working and getting plenty of rest.Dry skin results from a low level of skin oil, or sebum.This condition can be inherited but numerous other factors can interfere with the production of sebum. Extreme temperatures, wind, and air-conditioning can exacerbate the condition, causing the skin to feel tight, or to chap or crack. Smoking, cosmetics, chemicals, environmental pollution and high stress compromise dry skin and cause the skin to appear dull and to wrinkle, particularly around the eyes and mouth. All the more reason to practice smart dry skin care.Skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, and seborrhea, as well as certain drugs (e.g., antihistamines, antispasmodics, and diuretics) can also cause dry skin. Treating these disorders and avoiding these drugs will help improve your dry skin condition.Avoid that which will make you unhealthy on the inside and reduce your chances of developing unhealthy skin. Can’t imagine getting through a day without a cigarette? Then imagine having dry, wrinkled skin that makes you look 20-30 years older than you are. Is that an incentive to stop smoking and regularly practice dry skin care?We’re not saying change is easy. But change, in the long run, may be the best thing that ever happened to you. Proper good skin care, in general, and dry skin care, in particular, are certainly within the reach of anyone concerned about the health and look of their skin. Think of how you want to look and feel in 6 months, a year, two years. You absolutely can improve how you look and feel within a short period of time. Why not make the decision to help yourself attain better skin.Oh, I almost forgot, one more thing you have to give up, if you want to enjoy healthy skin. This applies not only to people with dry skin, but to anyone who wants to have clear, beautiful skin. Your skin’s number one enemy is the sun. Sun worshippers (me included), accept that as a fact. And the number one rule of dry skin care follows: PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE SUN!As much as many of us love the sun, and love to bake in it, and walk and play in it, and love how it bronzes our skin and makes us feel healthy and limber and sexy and carefree, make no mistake, the sun can kill you, if you let it.This is no knock on the sun, believe me. The sun gives life and provides us essential vitamin D, but the sun can also inflict irreversible damage to our skin, causing it to age prematurely, to dry and wrinkle and sag, and more alarmingly, to develop precancerous moles and sun spots and carcinomas, and cancerous melanomas.So as much as we love the sun, we have to interact with it in a smart way. Click on Good Skin Care: 14 Ways to Improve Your Skin for more information about protecting yourself from the harmful effects of too much sun exposure.Here are a few solid dry skin care tips to heed:In winter, when the air’s humidity is lower, your skin dries out faster. Keep that in mind when you choose a moisturizer. Use a stronger moisturizer in the winter and a lighter moisturizer in the summer, when the humidity is higher.
As we age our skin becomes thinner and drier. As a result our skin is more prone to damage in the form of cuts and cracking. Be especially careful when handling tools and utensils, and when coming into contact with harsh or abrasive surfaces or objects.
Exercise regularly to increase blood circulation, which helps to nourish your skin and cleanse it from within.
Dry skin care no-brainer: drink plenty of clean water to improve skin hydration. At least 2 quarts every day.
Clean your skin carefully. Because dry skin is more easily damaged than oily or normal skin, practice good, safe cleansing to prevent dead skin cells mixing with dirt and grime and leading to infection.
Avoid excessive washing, especially with hot water, which evaporates more rapidly than tepid or lukewarm water. Too much contact with water will remove natural oils and moisture from the skin and encourage further drying. People with dry skin, especially the elderly, should avoid bathing or showering with hot water.
Keep your baths or showers to less than 15 minutes to avoid the loss of natural oils that help retain your skin’s moisture.
Avoid commercial soaps that dry out the skin. Choose a natural moisturizing soap that has a neutral ph value.
Great dry skin care technique: after showering lightly apply virgin coconut oil to your face and massage gently to get your blood circulating and to refresh your face.
Avoid cold cleansing creams, which are made from hydrogenated oils. These oils actually dry out the skin and lead to wrinkles. Try instead patting virgin coconut oil or pure olive oil on your skin to cleanse it. Wash off with tepid or warm water and pat dry with a soft cloth.
Always moisturize your skin – face, neck, body – after your bath or shower. Moisturize your hands after washing them.
Take evening primrose oil supplements to strengthen your skin and increase your skin’s moisture content. * Get plenty of sleep to allow the skin to repair itself at the cellular level.
For some great ways to improve the look and feel of your dry skin using simple, inexpensive products you can purchase at you local food market or grocery store.There is no mystery to proper dry skin care. First, make the decision to practice regular and consistent good skin care. That may mean giving up something (something that is probably bad for you anyway), or taking whatever measures are necessary to promote your overall physical and mental health and the health and appearance of your skin. Once you’ve committed to making your skin look and feel great, use common sense. Keep in mind the guidance and tips provided above for practicing proper dry skin care, and enjoy healthy better skin for the rest of your life!

A Complete Review Of The Major Credit Reporting Agencies And Credit Reports

Today we have grown into a nation looking for instant gratification, the buy now pay later syndrome. So, without a good credit rating it will be very difficult to get the things you want at the time you want them. Consumer credit has become widely accepted as a substitute for ready cash, so having good credit is the key to your future of getting all you deserve, and the key to opening doors that make your life more comfortable and worry free.As a consumer it is to your benefit to fully understand how credit works and every aspect of what is involved when you apply for any type of credit, including the major credit reporting agencies that hold your credit report file. When you understand what the banks and other creditors are looking for, and you know what is in your credit report, you will be able to control your financial future and make the best choices for yourself and not accept anything less than what you deserve.When you apply for credit, lenders want to know about you, your employment history, your income, your assets, and most importantly they want to know about your credit history. A lender will get lots of information directly from you through a credit application, then, they will pull your credit bureau reports to confirm this information and review your credit references and credit report scores. Then upon evaluation of your credit application combined with your credit report, the lender will determine your credit risk and make a final decision on whether or not to grant you credit and at what rate of interest they will charge you.So, now that you know the process of getting credit, let us take a deeper look into the factors that can either be an asset or liability to you when applying for credit – your credit report.What is a credit reportYour credit report is your financial resume, a summary of your financial reliability, containing both personal and credit information. Your credit report is maintained by credit reporting agencies, also known as credit bureaus, and provided to lenders, employers, insurance companies, landlords and other companies who have a legitimate need for this information, based on the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Your credit and personal information is reported to the credit reporting agencies from various creditors, in most cases electronically, instantly updating your file.What is in my credit reportYour credit report is divided up into five main areas: personal profile/identifying information, inquiries, credit history, public record information and your credit score.PERSONAL PROFILE / IDENTIFYING INFORMATION – this is where all your personal information is recorded – your name including any alias and possibly your spouses name, current and previous addresses, Social Security number, date of birth and current and previous employment. You might find some of this information is incorrect or incorrectly spelled, this can occur when creditors pull your credit bureau as they usually enter in the information though the computer where data entry errors can occur, and these mistakes will update your credit bureau report. However, if there is information that is not even close, such as an address, this should alert you to investigate this further as it is a possibility that you may be a victim of identity theft.INQUIRIES – in this section you will find listed all the parties that have requested a copy of your credit report and the date it was done over the past two years. There are two types of inquires, soft and hard. A hard inquire is when you have applied for something and is initiated by you, for example, you have applied for a loan or mortgage or completed a credit application for a credit card or even applied for insurance. These hard inquiries are the ones that appear on your credit report and are visible to creditors when they access your credit report. A soft inquiry only shows on your credit report when requested by yourself and do not show to the creditors. A soft inquiry can come from your existing creditors that are monitoring your account, companies that are looking to offer you promotional applications for credit and each time you request a copy of your credit report.CREDIT HISTORY – in this section you will find an itemized list of your credit cards, loans and mortgages, both currently active accounts and past closed ones. The information reported includes, type of account, when it was open, the high balance or limit, monthly payments, date of last payment, how the account is paid including any late payments, date of last activity and a rating of how the account was paid.PUBLIC RECORDS – this information is obtained from local, state and federal courthouses and includes bankruptcy records, foreclosures, tax liens, monetary judgments, court-ordered payments, and over due child support payments. Public records are a negative credit reference and will lower your credit score. They also stay on your credit report anywhere from six to ten years.CREDIT SCORE – your credit report scores are a rating determining you credit risk and the likelihood of defaulting on a loan. Lenders will use this score as a tool to assist them in deciding whether or not they will lend you money. Your credit score is a snap shot of your credit at that point in time, and can change on a daily basis. The score is a three digit number ranging between 300 and 850. Statistics show that the higher the number the less likely you will default on a loan, therefore you are a good credit risk; and the lower the number the greater chance there is for you to default on your payments, making you a greater credit risk.When your credit score is low, you still may be able to borrow money but, you will most likely have to pay a higher rate of interest and you may not get all the money you request and possibly have to pay additional fees, basically you are at the mercy of the lender. However, the higher your credit score is the more you are in-charge, you can get any loan at the best possible rates with no restriction.Your credit score is a complicated calculation, where the credit reporting agency takes into consideration many factors, including but not limited to, your payment history – late payments, both current and previous will bring down your score; your credit balance in relation to you limit – if you are at your maximum credit limit or if you are over it will bring down you score; the number of inquires – if you have to many in a short period of time it will bring down your score; the length of time you have had credit, the total number of outstanding debts and any derogatory information or public records, such as bankruptcies, collection, judgments and written off accounts – will bring down your score.Where does the information on my credit report come from?Your credit history information is gathered at companies called credit bureaus or credit reporting agencies. There are three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. They receive information voluntarily from creditors and the credit reporting agency updates and maintains your credit report file with this information. Creditors report, loans, credit cards, mortgages, on a regular basis electronically. Your file is also updated when you apply for credit, as the information from your credit application is submitted to the credit reporting agencies when they pull your credit report.Who are the major credit reporting agenciesThere are three major credit reporting agencies. Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. These are independent companies from one another, and it is important for you to know that they do not exchange information. This means that it is quite possible that you not only have a separate credit report with each of them, but that they may contain different information. There are hundreds of smaller credit bureau companies across the country however these major credit companies are the largest and the main bureaus that the banks and financial institutions use. You will find that creditors may use one of the three credit reporting companies, however it is not unusual for them to use all three.Who has access to my credit reportThe Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) contains rules regarding who can access your credit report. Generally speaking, a credit reporting agency may only provide information from your credit file when the requested relates to the extension of credit, collection of a debt, a tenancy applications, an application for employment or insurance, the issuance of special licenses or potential financial dealings that involve you. The law also gives these companies access to your report as part of an ongoing business relationship. An example of this would be you have a loan at a bank and you miss your payment, this gives that bank a right to obtain an updated copy of your credit reports. Credit card companies use this option a lot. They consider it part of the maintenance of your account. As credit cards are revolving (not a closed end loan), a customers circumstances can change, so credit card companies will obtain updated credit reports on their customers to review them and look for warning signs of a customer getting over extended in credit which could result in problems fulfilling their obligations. This is how credit card companies can either raise or lower your credit limit or interest rate automatically. However, in the case of an employer, this law does not apply and they need the employee’s permission each time they wish to request a copy of your credit report.You are also entitled to copies of your credit reports, and today with the internet there are many fast and easy ways to obtain credit reports online. You can purchase a copy from each of the major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian or Tran Union, the cost may vary however, under the latest Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules they are restricted to the maximum amount they can charge you. Check with your state laws, as some states require the credit bureau companies to provide you with a copy of your credit report periodically for free. The FCRA gives you the opportunity to receive a copy of your credit reports if you have been denied for credit or other benefits based on your credit report, you are entitled to receive a free credit report from the credit bureau that provided the report. The FCRA also allows you obtain
totally free credit reports. If you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft or fraud, if you are unemployed or if you receive welfare assistance.

Best in Class Finance Functions For Police Forces

Background

Police funding has risen by £4.8 billion and 77 per cent (39 per cent in real terms) since 1997. However the days where forces have enjoyed such levels of funding are over.

Chief Constables and senior management recognize that the annual cycle of looking for efficiencies year-on-year is not sustainable, and will not address the cash shortfall in years to come.
Facing slower funding growth and real cash deficits in their budgets, the Police Service must adopt innovative strategies which generate the productivity and efficiency gains needed to deliver high quality policing to the public.

The step-change in performance required to meet this challenge will only be achieved if the police service fully embraces effective resource management and makes efficient and productive use of its technology, partnerships and people.

The finance function has an essential role to play in addressing these challenges and supporting Forces’ objectives economically and efficiently.

Challenge

Police Forces tend to nurture a divisional and departmental culture rather than a corporate one, with individual procurement activities that do not exploit economies of scale. This is in part the result of over a decade of devolving functions from the center to the.divisions.

In order to reduce costs, improve efficiency and mitigate against the threat of “top down” mandatory, centrally-driven initiatives, Police Forces need to set up a corporate back office and induce behavioral change. This change must involve compliance with a corporate culture rather than a series of silos running through the organization.

Developing a Best in Class Finance Function

Traditionally finance functions within Police Forces have focused on transactional processing with only limited support for management information and business decision support. With a renewed focus on efficiencies, there is now a pressing need for finance departments to transform in order to add greater value to the force but with minimal costs.

1) Aligning to Force Strategy

As Police Forces need finance to function, it is imperative that finance and operations are closely aligned. This collaboration can be very powerful and help deliver significant improvements to a Force, but in order to achieve this model, there are many barriers to overcome. Finance Directors must look at whether their Force is ready for this collaboration, but more importantly, they must consider whether the Force itself can survive without it.

Finance requires a clear vision that centers around its role as a balanced business partner. However to achieve this vision a huge effort is required from the bottom up to understand the significant complexity in underlying systems and processes and to devise a way forward that can work for that particular organization.

The success of any change management program is dependent on its execution. Change is difficult and costly to execute correctly, and often, Police Forces lack the relevant experience to achieve such change. Although finance directors are required to hold appropriate professional qualifications (as opposed to being former police officers as was the case a few years ago) many have progressed within the Public Sector with limited opportunities for learning from and interaction with best in class methodologies. In addition cultural issues around self-preservation can present barriers to change.

Whilst it is relatively easy to get the message of finance transformation across, securing commitment to embark on bold change can be tough. Business cases often lack the quality required to drive through change and even where they are of exceptional quality senior police officers often lack the commercial awareness to trust them.

2) Supporting Force Decisions

Many Finance Directors are keen to develop their finance functions. The challenge they face is convincing the rest of the Force that the finance function can add value – by devoting more time and effort to financial analysis and providing senior management with the tools to understand the financial implications of major strategic decisions.

Maintaining Financial Controls and Managing Risk

Sarbanes Oxley, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), Basel II and Individual Capital Assessments (ICA) have all put financial controls and reporting under the spotlight in the private sector. This in turn is increasing the spotlight on financial controls in the public sector.

A ‘Best in Class’ Police Force finance function will not just have the minimum controls to meet the regulatory requirements but will evaluate how the legislation and regulations that the finance function are required to comply with, can be leveraged to provide value to the organization. Providing strategic information that will enable the force to meet its objectives is a key task for a leading finance function.

3) Value to the Force

The drive for development over the last decade or so, has moved decision making to the Divisions and has led to an increase in costs in the finance function. Through utilizing a number of initiatives in a program of transformation, a Force can leverage up to 40% of savings on the cost of finance together with improving the responsiveness of finance teams and the quality of financial information. These initiatives include:

Centralization

By centralizing the finance function, a Police Force can create centers of excellence where industry best practice can be developed and shared. This will not only re-empower the department, creating greater independence and objectivity in assessing projects and performance, but also lead to more consistent management information and a higher degree of control. A Police Force can also develop a business partner group to act as strategic liaisons to departments and divisions. The business partners would, for example, advise on how the departmental and divisional commanders can meet the budget in future months instead of merely advising that the budget has been missed for the previous month.

With the mundane number crunching being performed in a shared service center, finance professionals will find they now have time to act as business partners to divisions and departments and focus on the strategic issues.

The cultural impact on the departments and divisional commanders should not be underestimated. Commanders will be concerned that:

o Their budgets will be centralized
o Workloads would increase
o There will be limited access to finance individuals
o There will not be on site support

However, if the centralized shared service center is designed appropriately none of the above should apply. In fact from centralization under a best practice model, leaders should accrue the following benefits:

o Strategic advice provided by business partners
o Increased flexibility
o Improved management information
o Faster transactions
o Reduced number of unresolved queries
o Greater clarity on service and cost of provision
o Forum for finance to be strategically aligned to the needs of the Force

A Force that moves from a de-centralized to a centralized system should try and ensure that the finance function does not lose touch with the Chief Constable and Divisional Commanders. Forces need to have a robust business case for finance transformation combined with a governance structure that spans operational, tactical and strategic requirements. There is a risk that potential benefits of implementing such a change may not be realized if the program is not carefully managed. Investment is needed to create a successful centralized finance function. Typically the future potential benefits of greater visibility and control, consistent processes, standardized management information, economies of scale, long-term cost savings and an empowered group of proud finance professionals, should outweigh those initial costs.

To reduce the commercial, operational and capability risks, the finance functions can be completely outsourced or partially outsourced to third parties. This will provide guaranteed cost benefits and may provide the opportunity to leverage relationships with vendors that provide best practice processes.

Process Efficiencies

Typically for Police Forces the focus on development has developed a silo based culture with disparate processes. As a result significant opportunities exist for standardization and simplification of processes which provide scalability, reduce manual effort and deliver business benefit. From simply rationalizing processes, a force can typically accrue a 40% reduction in the number of processes. An example of this is the use of electronic bank statements instead of using the manual bank statement for bank reconciliation and accounts receivable processes. This would save considerable effort that is involved in analyzing the data, moving the data onto different spreadsheet and inputting the data into the financial systems.

Organizations that possess a silo operating model tend to have significant inefficiencies and duplication in their processes, for example in HR and Payroll. This is largely due to the teams involved meeting their own goals but not aligning to the corporate objectives of an organization. Police Forces have a number of independent teams that are reliant on one another for data with finance in departments, divisions and headquarters sending and receiving information from each other as well as from the rest of the Force. The silo model leads to ineffective data being received by the teams that then have to carry out additional work to obtain the information required.

Whilst the argument for development has been well made in the context of moving decision making closer to operational service delivery, the added cost in terms of resources, duplication and misaligned processes has rarely featured in the debate. In the current financial climate these costs need to be recognized.

Culture

Within transactional processes, a leading finance function will set up targets for staff members on a daily basis. This target setting is an element of the metric based culture that leading finance functions develop. If the appropriate metrics of productivity and quality are applied and when these targets are challenging but not impossible, this is proven to result in improvements to productivity and quality.

A ‘Best in Class’ finance function in Police Forces will have a service focused culture, with the primary objectives of providing a high level of satisfaction for its customers (departments, divisions, employees & suppliers). A ‘Best in Class’ finance function will measure customer satisfaction on a timely basis through a metric based approach. This will be combined with a team wide focus on process improvement, with process owners, that will not necessarily be the team leads, owning force-wide improvement to each of the finance processes.

Organizational Improvements

Organizational structures within Police Forces are typically made up of supervisors leading teams of one to four team members. Through centralizing and consolidating the finance function, an opportunity exists to increase the span of control to best practice levels of 6 to 8 team members to one team lead / supervisor. By adjusting the organizational structure and increasing the span of control, Police Forces can accrue significant cashable benefit from a reduction in the number of team leads and team leads can accrue better management experience from managing larger teams.

Technology Enabled Improvements

There are a significant number of technology improvements that a Police Force could implement to help develop a ‘Best in Class’ finance function.

These include:

A) Scanning and workflow

Through adopting a scanning and workflow solution to replace manual processes, improved visibility, transparency and efficiencies can be reaped.

B) Call logging, tracking and workflow tool

Police Forces generally have a number of individuals responding to internal and supplier queries. These queries are neither logged nor tracked. The consequence of this is dual:

o Queries consume considerable effort within a particular finance team. There is a high risk of duplicated effort from the lack of logging of queries. For example, a query could be responded to for 30 minutes by person A in the finance team. Due to this query not being logged, if the individual that raised the query called up again and spoke to a different person then just for one additional question, this could take up to 20 minutes to ensure that the background was appropriately explained.

o Queries can have numerous interfaces with the business. An unresolved query can be responded against by up to four separate teams with considerable delay in providing a clear answer for the supplier.

The implementation of a call logging, tracking and workflow tool to document, measure and close internal and supplier queries combined with the set up of a central queries team, would significantly reduce the effort involved in responding to queries within the finance departments and divisions, as well as within the actual divisions and departments, and procurement.

C) Database solution

Throughout finance departments there are a significant number of spreadsheets utilized prior to input into the financial system. There is a tendency to transfer information manually from one spreadsheet to another to meet the needs of different teams.

Replacing the spreadsheets with a database solution would rationalize the number of inputs and lead to effort savings for the front line Police Officers as well as Police Staff.

D) Customize reports

In obtaining management information from the financial systems, police staff run a series of reports, import these into excel, use lookups to match the data and implement pivots to illustrate the data as required. There is significant manual effort that is involved in carrying out this work. Through customizing reports the outputs from the financial system can be set up to provide the data in the formats required through the click of a button. This would have the benefit of reduced effort and improved motivation for team members that previously carried out these mundane tasks.

In designing, procuring and implementing new technology enabling tools, a Police Force will face a number of challenges including investment approval; IT capacity; capability; and procurement.

These challenges can be mitigated through partnering with a third party service company with whom the investment can be shared, the skills can be provided and the procurement cycle can be minimized.

Conclusion

It is clear that cultural, process and technology change is required if police forces are to deliver both sustainable efficiencies and high quality services. In an environment where for the first time forces face real cash deficits and face having to reduce police officer and support staff numbers whilst maintaining current performance levels the current finance delivery models requires new thinking.

While there a number of barriers to be overcome in achieving a best in class finance function, it won’t be long before such a decision becomes mandatory. Those who are ahead of the curve will inevitably find themselves in a stronger position.