After many years of using makeup, eyeliner, mascara, eyeshadow etc., I seem to have developed a sensitivity to many brands. After using eye makeup a couple of times, my eyes sting and feel uncomfortable. I have been careful to wash brushes regularly and sharpen the pencils. Could you recommend some alternative brands?

There are so many brand names on the market that, unfortunately, you will probably have to try a few. First, try to choose those especially designed for sensitive eyes. Use only one makeup (eg. only eyeliner) for a period of time so that you can determine which kind of makeup is bothering you. Also, there is a makeup base for the eyes which will help create a barrier between makeup and the sensitive eyelid skin. For some, using a light film of foundation will also create a barrier. When choosing eyeshadows, try to use only the matte-finish powders as the iridescent or shiny eyeshadows seem to cause more reactions.

How should you buff toenails?

Never buff your nails back and forth, as the friction caused by that kind of motion builds up a great deal of heat, which can be harmful to the nail. Buff in one direction, outward from the cuticle towards the edges of the nails using a rapid movement with no real pressure.

You have spoken of the possibility of sunlight causing dark pigmentation if a person is taking antibiotics. I got pigmentation on my forehead last summer while I was on an antibiotic program. It has faded somewhat, but it is a slow process. Is there anything I do do to further fade these patches.

You do not mention your age, but the pigmentation spots may also be due to hormonal changes, accumulated years of sunlight or tanning which can lead to abnormal production of pigment. There are several bleaching creams recommended for lightening freckles, melasma and other excessive pigmentation. These contain ingredients which seem to block the chemical reaction that produces the pigment or melanin in the skin. The other widely used ingredient in bleaching creams is a chemical called Hydroginone. The bleaching creams are usually found in drugstores or in skin-care salons and they are to be applied only to the pigmentated areas at least twice daily and for several weeks before you will see a difference. You may also consult a plastic surgeon or skin specialist and inquire about having a chemical peel. Chemosurgery can minimize or treat the effects of some pigmentation problems. It is a technique which involves the application of a chemical solution to the skin which will peel away top layers. This skin will regenerate or be replaced completely after several weeks.

There are also foundations or skin tints to help blend the pigmented area with the surrounding skin. So that the spots do not darken anymore, you would be wise to apply a sun block all year round and avoid sun exposure.