DR. WALLACE: My parents and I had a big fight last weekend. It didn’t turn physical or anything, but there was a lot of yelling and arguing. I haven’t been home since.

I’ve been staying at a friend’s house for the past three days. Today, I called my mom and let her know I was at my friend’s house. My mom wanted to know where I was specifically, but I wouldn’t tell her. My dad called me and said if I don’t come home right now, he was going to report me as a runaway to the police. Am I a runaway? My parents know I’m OK. They just don’t know where I’m physically at right now. I feel this is for the best, as we all need to cool off for another few weeks. — Not Home Right Now, via email

NOT HOME RIGHT NOW: According to the National Network Of Runaway And Youth Services, a runaway is described as a 17-year-old or any child younger than 17 who is away from home with unknown whereabouts.

You did not mention your age in your letter, but if you are indeed 17 or younger, then it appears you would be considered a runaway.

If so, I would suggest that you go home to talk to your parents and see if you can work things out. Of course, if any physical abuse were to occur, that would change things, and you could contact authorities that could help you find a safe alternative environment.

If your situation is merely an unsavory clash over family rules, I suggest doing your best to cool things down and bide your time until you turn 18 and can be self-sufficient enough to move out.

DR. WALLACE: I’m a teenage girl, and I have a problem with hair, which is embarrassing. I normally wouldn’t ask a columnist about my hair problems, but my mom suggested I talk to you. I have dark hair growing on my upper lip and on my chin. It’s so embarrassing, and I want to get rid of it permanently. What is the best way to make it go away? — Unwelcome Hair, via email

UNWELCOME HAIR: You can start with a few safe methods at home, such as tweezing. Simply attempt to pluck the unwanted hairs out one by one, if there are not too many. Another method is shaving, and don’t worry about the hair “growing back thicker”; that is merely a myth. Hair that is cut becomes pricklier, not thicker. The thickness remains the same.

Depilatory creams such as the product Nair can melt some hair away, but always try a very small area first as a test in case an allergic reaction occurs.

If your selected home remedies don’t produce the desired results for you, you could consider going to see various professionals to help you further.

One professional method is waxing; another is epilation, which goes beyond tweezers and can pluck out multiple hairs at once; other options would be laser hair removal or pulse light therapy. Another alternative is known as electrolysis.

These methods have various applications and uses for certain types of situations. Although some may offer home remedies, I recommend you see a licensed professional who can recommend a tool for your particular skin situation. Over the years, I’ve received many letters with tales of woe detailing injuries or scars that were created by making mistakes trying complicated remedies at home. I know there is expense involved, but seeing a professional is worth it for both your personal safety and ultimate self-confidence!

Dr. Robert Wallace will answer questions from readers in this column. Email him at rwallace@galesburg.net.

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