Beauty of hands not only depends on the skin texture but also on the how healthy is our nails. Whether we apply nail polish or not, appearance of healthy and well maintained finger and toenails represents our health. Beautiful and well-maintained nails also increase our confidence level during our communication.
Human nails are composed of laminated layers of a protein called keratin. They grow from the area at the base of the nail under the cuticle. Healthy fingernails are smooth, without pits or grooves. They are uniform in color and consistency and free of spots or discoloration.
Discoloration and changes in nails that need doctor’s attention:
- Changes in nail color, such as discoloration of the entire nail or a dark streak under the nail
- Changes in nail shape, such as curled nails
- Thinning or thickening of the nails
- Separation of the nail from the surrounding skin
- Bleeding around the nails
- Swelling or pain around the nails
To prevent nail damage, Do not -
- Bite your nails or pick at the skin around your nails. It can cause an infection and it hurts, too!
- These habits can damage the nail bed. Even a minor cut alongside your fingernail can allow bacteria or fungi to enter and cause an infection.
- Pull off hangnails. You might rip live tissue along with the hangnail. Instead, carefully clip off hangnails.
- Ignore problems. If you have a nail problem that does not seem to go away on its own or is associated with other signs and symptoms, consult your doctor or dermatologist for an evaluation.
- Use nail-polish remover more than twice a month. It is really hard on your nails. Limit your use of nail polish remover. When using nail polish remover, opt for an acetone-free formula.
- Pry or poke at things with your nails. This can damage them.
- Cut or push back the cuticles, the tiny sliver of skin where your nail grows out your finger. That can lead to infection.
- Use acrylic nails or artificial nails as these can be very harmful to your nail and are not recommended.
- Wear shoes that are too tight, which can cramp toes and put pressure on toenails.
How to keep nails health?
- Keep them short and clean. Use a good nail clipper or a small nail scissors to cut them every week or two. If you let your nails get too long, they are more likely to break and to get infected under.
- Cut them in the shape of the tip of your finger, somewhat straight across but a little round at the sides so they’re strong.
- Cut your toenails straight across, using a clipper designated for toenails. This will help prevent an ingrown toenail.
- Some people use a nail file or emery board to smooth the ends of their nails. Make sure that the file is not old, rusted and dull. Rub it back and forth very gently along the end of your nail to remove any rough edges.
- Dry your hands really well after washing them, or getting them wet.
- Rub lotion on your fingernails, especially when your hands feel dry.
- Eating a healthy balanced diet keeps nails strong.
- Changing socks everyday is important otherwise, toe nails may get infected and fall off.
- If you are using public showers wear flip flops in public showers and at the swimming pool to prevent infections caused by fungus that can get in to toenails.
- Apply artificial nails only to healthy nails. Covering brittle or diseased nails only makes matters worse. It might even cause you to lose natural nails. Also, before applying artificial nails test for skin reaction.
For beauty of nails:
- Apply moisturizers to hands and nails: When rubbing lotion or oil into your hands, make sure you work it into the cuticles and nails, too. Coconut oil is excellent for rubbing into nails and cuticles.
- Cuticle care: Cuticles are meant to be a barrier for bacteria, and cutting them can lead to painful infections. Avoid having your cuticles trimmed during a manicure. Apply olive oil or almond oil on cuticle area and keep cuticle.
- Do not use harsh nail polish: Many nail polishes are also loaded with toxic chemicals such as toluene, dibutyl phthalate, dimethyl and diethyl phthalates, camphor, and formaldehyde. Use water-based polishes, which do not last as long but are the safest option out there. Read label before use.
- Buffing can help: A bit of buffing can go a long ways. Take the time to trim, file, and buff your nails properly. Never saw back and forth with a file because that can weaken your nails. Always file from the outside edge of the nail inward.
- Nail polish remover quality: Instead of using acetone based remover try using remover made from natural ways – entirely from soy and corn, and fruit acids and vanilla.
- Use nail-strengthening treatment: Strengthen your nails by applying castor oil and wheat germ oil. Mix 2 tsp castor oil, 2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp wheat germ oil. Mix and keep in a sealed bottle. Rub a small amount onto nails. Leave for 3 to 5 minutes. Wipe off. Try this for few weeks to strengthen nails.
- Food: Foods that supplies good amount of protein, vitamin B, Zinc , iron, calcium are very essential for healthy nails. Protein is crucial. Eating foods with vitamin B reduces brittleness; zinc gets rid of white spots; iron prevents ridges from forming; calcium keeps them strong; vitamins A and C prevents dullness and drying. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
If you are going for pedicure or manicure – make sure the salon has a proper certificate and salon is clean and good hygiene is in practice. Healthy nails represent beauty of hands. Take care of your nails properly and keep them clean.