Hands and Nails Care

Hand Cream and Lotion

As mentioned earlier, there are three types of skin textures: normal, oily and dry. Each type therefore requires a different hand cream or lotion.

In this section we provide details about the types of lotion needed for your skin type. It gives your skin a youthful and healthy glow.

DRY HANDS: Most of us have our pet peeves about our hands. Some have dry coarse hands; others have cold clammy hands. Some have soft thin delicate hands where the skin tears easily. A little knowledge would help you to overcome some of these problems. Apart from this, one is con¬stantly exposed to minor cuts, burns and bruns and bruises in the kitchen or while doing chores. Here are some good tips to rectify these problems.

NAILS : Nails require constant care too. They chip, crack and discolour due to harsh treatment. Nails are horny extensions of the skin and are made from the protein called Keratin, like the hair. If the nails are in a poor condition then rough treatment is only a partial cause. Poor or careless nutrition affects the health of nails. Lack of vitamin B and C makes the nails hard and brittle and causes them to crack. An average nail grows by about one millimetre per day. A good diet and sunshine promotes healthy nails.

Hand Cream and Lotion

As mentioned earlier, there are three types of skin textures: normal, oily and dry. Each type therefore requires a different hand cream or lotion.

EGG AND ALMOND NOURISHER :
In winter your hands need extra nourishment. Try this excellent nourishment for your hands :
One egg, Two tablespoons of almond oil, One tablespoon rose water. Beat all the ingredients well. Take half teaspoon tincture benzoin, add drop by drop, mixing well. Apply this lotion on your hands. Leave it on for at least 2 hours. Wash off. An excellent luxury nourishment for the hands.

MILK :
Warm 2 cups of milk and pour into a bowl. Add a teaspoonful of salt and stir. Soak hands in warm milk and salt solution. Keep massaging and rubbing around the knuckles and finger joints. Wash off after 10-15 minutes. This exfoliates and nourishes your hands.


ROSE PETAL HAND LOTION :
1/3 cup glycerin and 2/3 cup rose water. Combine both ingredients. Shake well and pour in a bottle. Store in a cool, dry place. Use several times a day to massage into your hands. Makes the hands soft. It is an ideal softener during winter months.

CURD :
Take one cup of curd, and to it add a little lime juice. Beat it up and pour into a bowl. Dip your hands into it, all the time massaging and rubbing around the knuckles and finger joints. After 10 minutes wash off with plain water. This is excellent for sunburned hands or those that have been exposed to chemicals and detergents. It acts as a balm, and also lightens the tan on your hands.

BANANA AND HONEY CREAM :
One banana, one teaspoon honey, juice of one lemon, one tablespoon butter or margarine.
Mash the banana and add to it the honey, lime juice and butter. Blend well together and put it in a container. Apply well, massaging well with firm strokes into your hands. Leave on for 2 hours, then wash off. The hands become very soft and smooth.

HONEY AND ORANGE JUICE :
Half cup orange juice, one tablespoon honey. Mix well together, and then rub into your hands and nails. Leave it on for 10 minutes. Rinse This is an ideal solution for dry, rough and chapped hands.

Dry Hands

Most of us have our pet peeves about our hands. Some have dry coarse hands; others have cold clammy hands. Some have soft thin delicate hands where the skin tears easily. A little knowledge would help you to overcome some of these problems. Apart from this, one is constantly exposed to minor cuts, burns and bruns and bruises in the kitchen or while doing chores. Here are some good tips to rectify these problems.

SUGAR AND OIL :
Take 3 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of oil (any oil, vegetable oils, olive oil or almond oil will do). Mix the sugar and oil, beat to a blended consistency. Rub into the hands. Keep rubbing for 5-7 minutes, then rinse well with warm water. The dead coarse skin is removed and the hands appear soft and clean.

SUGAR AND LIME :
Take one tablespoon lemon juice, one tablespoon sugar, one tablespoon water. Lightly mix all these ingredients and rub all over the hands. Keep rubbing it in till it starts to dry. Rinse with water. Softens coarse hands.

HONEY LEMON JUICE AND OIL :
Take one-teaspoon oil (any oil, vegetable oils, olive oil or almond oil will do), one teaspoon lemon juice, one tablespoon rose water. Mix well together. Rub over crusty elbows, knuckles and other hardened areas. Keep rubbing it in, then after 5-7 minutes rinse off. This not only nourishes the skin, but also keeps it soft.

LEMON JUICE AND BARELY POWDER :
Take one tablespoon barley powder, one tablespoon lime juice.
In case barley powder is not available, boil barley for 10 minutes. Extract the juice and mix it with lime juice. Apply on the finger joints to get rid of dark circles. Rub well into the skin. Leave it to dry and then apply and rub again. After it has dried, then rinse off. Softens and whitens the knuckles.

ONION JUICE :
You can relieve minor kitchen burns on the hand just by rubbing a raw onion on the burn. Take an onion, cut it into half and rub on the burned area. It immediately reduces inflammation and relieves pain.

COLD MILK :
Did you know that blisters on the hands while cooking can be cured with a cold milk compress if applied immediately? Put some cold milk on the blister; dab it two or three times. It soothes immediately and actually aids in healing.

TURMERIC POWDER :
So often hands get minor cuts while chopping vegetables or while performing other household chores. If you have cut your fingers or hands, immediately apply turmeric powder onto the wound. It stops bleeding and aids healing.

GELATIN :
For those people who have split nails and cracked hands, a good 'soak' in gelatin will certainly help. Take a packet of gelatin or lemon jelly, pour it into a cup of hot water. Make a paste and put it to set. When it has set, soak the hands in this jelly, keep rubbing the nails and cuticles as well as the hands. Keep them soaked for at least 15 minutes. A regular use of this treatment prevents cracks on the skin of the fingers and the cracking and splitting of fingernails. Eating jelly also helps promote a healthy growth of nails.

BUTTERMILK AND ALMOND OIL :
Take one tablespoon almond oil and one cup buttermilk. Mix well, apply on the hands. Massage well, let it dry, then apply again. Repeat this till all the solution is used up. Use this at night, before bedtime. Wear cotton gloves and sleep. Next morning, rinse well. This treatment ensures that the hands remain soft and maintain a good skin texture.

Nails

Nails require constant care too. They chip, crack and discolour due to harsh treatment. Nails are horny extensions of the skin and are made from the protein called Keratin, like the hair. If the nails are in a poor condition then rough treatment is only a partial cause. Poor or careless nutrition affects the health of nails. Lack of vitamin B and C makes the nails hard and brittle and causes them to crack. An average nail grows by about one millimetre per day. A good diet and sunshine promotes healthy nails.

Nails need to be constantly cleaned, moisturized and buffed to keep them looking healthy. The way you look after your cuticles, the manner in which you file your nails, all these go a long way in promoting a well manicured look. Nails can be irreparably damaged due to cuticle infections, or other damage from housework or use of poor quality soaps and detergents. The cuticles also tend to harden and spread out beyond the nail bed area, further damaging the nails. All these are just due to carelessness and can be overcome by a proper nail care routine.

A nail takes approximately 16 weeks to grow from its root to the tip. Nails cannot miraculously grow overnight, nor can the texture of the hard, yellow, brittle nails change so quickly. A deliberate, patient nail, care routine, combined with the right diet can indeed work wonders and give you perfectly shaped, finely textured nails.

Your nails need to be cleaned gently: Take a sponge soaked in warm water. Squeeze soapy water on your nails and rub on the nails, under the nails, and draw out the dirt. Dry brittle nails should first be soaked in a solution of warm water, olive oil and lime juice. Soak your nails in his solution for 10 minutes, constantly massaging and cleaning your nails, while gently pushing back your cuticles with your fingers. After this cleaning routine, scrub your nails with some good moisturizing cream or lotion.

While nail polish does protect the nail and is a good make-over for nails, you should keep your nails free from polish at least once a week, and let them 'breathe' in the air, sunshine and moisture.

Nails need protein to keep them strong. Thus you must take a protein rich diet to prevent them from getting brittle or develop cracks. They should also be kept as dry as possible, and manicured every few days. They should always be kept trimmed to the right length and the cuticles softened and gently pushed back.

Use an emery file (sandpaper) rather than a metal nail file. Do not file away the sides too deeply as one can injure the nail bed. The colour of your nails is an indicator of good health. Healthy nails are transparent and look a little rosy too. Pale nail beds often indicate anaemia. Yellowing and thickening of nails along with a slow growth rate may be due to illness or lung disease.

Concave nails indicate iron deficiency, while white patches on the nails indicate calcium deficiency. Your diet must be rich and nutritious with plenty of vitamin B as well as calcium, found in whole grains; meat, cottage cheese, green leafy vegetables. Eat garlic daily to keep the nails healthy. A capsule of vitamin E strengthens nails as well.

Helpful Tips

A few common nail care tips will ensure healthy nails. Keep the nails trimmed, clean and moisture free. Be careful when filing nails, do not file too deeply into the nail bed area to get pointed nails. Use the emery board instead of a metal nail file. Wear gloves while cleaning dishes, swabbing, cleaning or dusting.

Here are some good tips for common nail problems:

TO STRENGTHEN NAILS :
Soak daily in warm almond oil or olive oil for 5-7 minutes, preferably before bed-time.

DISCOLOURED NAILS :
You can clean discoloured nails by soaking them in a solution of lemon juice and warm water. After 7 minutes, scrub them with white vinegar by using a nail brush.


CRACKED NAILS :
To get rid of cracks in nails, apply glycerin at bedtime; rubbing it in generously. Leave it on your hands, ft soothes your nails and helps to repair cracks.

SWOLLEN CUTICLES :
If your cuticles have swollen and overgrown and are painful, try the following nail care tips:
Soak your hands in warm water for 5 minutes. Make a paste of turmeric powder and sandalwood powder. Apply this paste thickly, like an ointment, on the cuticles. Leave on for 20 minutes and rinse off.

CUTICLE SOFTENER :
All you need is one teaspoon warm olive oil or almond oil. After a bath, massage cuticles with warm olive oil or almond oil everyday. While massaging, push back the cuticles, using your fingertip.

TO HARDEN SOFT NAILS :
Sometimes soft nails or thin nails crack easily. To harden them, soak them in olive oil for 20 minutes every alternate day.

TO WHITEN NAILS :
Dip a swab of cotton wool in hydrogen peroxide; clean the nails with this swab, rub under the nails to clean and whiten them.

The golden rule to a healthy, beautiful pair of hands and lovely nails is protection and care. If you protect your hands and nails and make their care a daily routine, you would see a dramatic improvement. Your hands do not demand expensive creams or lotions, they only demand a little time and attention. Do not use your nails to open letters! Treat your nails gently, not as 'tools'.

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