My eyebrows are very dark compared to my natural hair color. I would like to lighten them but purchasing a package of hair dye seems expensive just for this. What can I have done?

An esthetician could do the bleaching or you could purchase a facial bleach which will lighten them. I suggest that you leave the bleach on your eyebrows for about two minutes, then remove carefully with water. If you need to reapply, leave it on only one minute at a time until the desired lightness has been obtained. Write the number of minutes on the box for the next time, so that you won’t have to go through this testing again.

I am in my 60s and have noticed lately that my toenails are becoming very yellow and thick-looking. I am having a hard time trimming them. What causes this?.

There are several reasons for toenail problems. The external problems may be excessive perspiration, improper cutting of the nails, too-short shoes and tight stockings. Fungus infection, inherited malformations or an injury can also cause the toenails to look discolored and thickened. Some of the internal causes can be circulatory conditions, eczema, psoriasis, systemic diseases such as arthritis or diabetes, tissue stress, such as when a person is overweight, or lung and coronary disease, which may leave the nails ridged, flecked or crumbly. As we age, the natural regeneration function of the nails slows down and they can be more susceptible to fungus infection, which is one of the most frequent toenail problems.

It is caused by parasitic fungi, yeasts or molds, all of which grow under and into the nail. Once these get into the shoes, they tend to remain there, as shoes are not normally washed and cleaned. As a result, they become a source of infection and re-infection. The infection makes the nail appear dry, lustreless, yellowish or greyish. Part or all of the nail may be infected and it gradually works its way back to the cuticle area or root area.

Treatment of the fungus can involve reducing the thickness of the nail, removal of the nail if it is very infected or daily applications of various liquid or ointment fungicides. I suggest that you see your doctor or a podiatrist who can diagnose your condition.

I use an expensive eye cream that is supposed to firm and moisturize the eye area. But I have puffy eyes in the morning. Should I try another cream or could you recommend one?

Most eye preparations keep the area around the eye well lubricated, prevent dryness and strengthen the skin. Yet since this skin is extremely delicate and thin, you should be careful to apply an eye cream very sparingly. Apply it on the brow bone and underneath the lower lashes, avoid applying it directly on the eyelid. If too much is applied at night, it may seep into the eyes when you are asleep, which could cause irritation and the puffy skin. Some people mistake this for an allergy, but it may not be. (If you have eliminated the excess cream and the puffiness still persists, then it could be a sensitivity to the cream or a systemic disease).

Puffiness may be caused by inflammation of the eyelids due to foreign bodies on the cornea, sensitivity to mascara, eyeliner, nail polish, or eyeshadow.

Will medications affect my skin if I sunbathe? What other damage does the sun do?

Some disorders are caused by the skin’s response to combinations of ultraviolet light and chemicals present in certain drugs. They are usually referred to photosensitivity diseases. Medication such as tranquillizers, antibiotics and oral contraceptives have all caused photosensitive reactions in some people. The results can be an unexpected severe sunburn, redness, painful rashes, swelling or hives or darkening or pigmentation of the skin. This is especially common on the face. By altering protein in the lens of the eye, ulraviolet radiation can cause cataracts, or it can change the structure of the immune system which is your line of defence, especially against infectious agents such as viruses. This may be why sunlight worsens such infections as herpes viruses. Using fragrances such as lavender, sandalwood and lemon or lime, etc. can also cause photosensitivities.

I have thought about having my lashes tinted for the summer. Does it make them look fuller? How long does the tint last?

If your lashes are fine, they will not look any thicker when tinted. Mascara will add to the lashes to make them look thicker. Most people who have lash tinting done say it lasts three to five weeks in summer and a little longer in winter because the sun tends to fade lashes.8