Dr Shah Hussain
Q: I am a 25-year-old woman with dark under-eye circles. Please suggest some easy remedies to get rid of them. Hina Asim, Lahore
A: Since your dark circles are hereditary, they can only be reduced. You should try to sleep for six to eight hours at a stretch. Also avoid rubbing your eyes or using too much kohl as it can lead to further darkening. Take iron and vitamin C supplements and apply a vitamin C serum every morning followed by a sun-block. At bedtime, use a cream containing vitamin K, retinol and a moisturiser. You could go for hyaluronic acid fillers if you have sunken eyes. This will improve your under eye area by almost 70 per cent.
Q: I am 32 years old and delivered my first child recently. Now I have pigmentation on my cheeks and chin. How can I get rid of this? Nadia Tahir
A: This kind of pigmentation occurs due to hormonal imbalance during pregnancy. You must strictly avoid going out in the sun and use a sunscreen with SPF of 50, if you do so. Remember to reapply every two to three hours if you are outdoors. Take vitamin C and antioxidant supplements and at bedtime, use creams containing kojic acid, arbutin, liquorice and hydroquinone. If the pigmentation persists, chemical peels and fractional laser treatments could help in further reduction of pigmentation.
Q: My nails have always been very weak. I try to file my nails regularly and push back my cuticles after using a cream and have also used a couple products to strengthen my nails, but I feel like many of them are just coating them which isn't actually improving my nails' natural strength. Is there any way I can improve my nails' natural strength?
A: Since the nail plate is dead tissue, you can't strengthen it from the inside; it's natural strength is determined by genetics just like your height. You can only strengthen it by products that coat and protect it, and equally importantly, by minimising exposure of the nails (i.e. avoiding over-use) to products that weaken the nail plate (e.g. nail polish remover). Of course you'll need to use nail polish remover from time to time, but using it every day or several times a week can begin to cause problems, depending upon your nail's natural strength.