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Things that you can do to have strong and healthy nails

Updated on October 15, 2016
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Nails are made up of a hardened substance called keratin.

If you observe your nails carefully, there is a thin layer of skin at the lower portion of your nail, the area where the nail meets the skin. This lower portion is called cuticle.

The cuticle protects the root of the nail. The pale white half circle that is seen above the cuticle is called the lunula that has the root of the nail from which the nail grows.

As the nails grow, they push the old cells out towards the tip, from the nail bed (the flat surface under the nails) which then harden to form the nail.

Nails grow at a slow rate. They grow about 2.5 mm each month. The fingernails grow faster than toenails.

How to take care of your nails?

# Trim your nails regularly depending upon the growth rate of your nails. The best time to cut your nails would be after a shower or a bath because the nails will become soft after a bath, and it will be easy to cut them off. After cutting your nails use a nail file to smoothen your nails.

# Do not cut very deeply as this might cause cuts and bruises on your skin and, in turn, may lead to infections and inflammations. The best way to cut your nails is to cut them straight across.

# Take the time to wash in and around your nails. as this will prevent infections due to germs and dirt accumulations.

# Do not bite your nails, or the loose skin that hang off the nails as this will result in painful infections as germs will enter through the openings of your damaged skin and can cause nail infections.

# Do not pull off loose hanging nails, as this will damage the surrounding skin. Cut them off gently using a nail clipper.

# Do not use your nails to open tin cans or to pick up things from the floor, as this will damage your nails and make them brittle.

# Wear gloves to protect your hands, especially when you are washing dishes, cleaning the house or handling any chemicals that may cause damage to your hands and nails.

Taking care of your cuticles

A healthy cuticle leads a healthy nail. Taking care of your cuticles is very important because it protects the root of the nail. You should never bite or cut off cuticles because it will damage the cuticles and the root of the nails.

Trimming off cuticles can cause a gap between the nail and the skin. This gap will act as openings for dirt and germs to get under your skin and cause painful infections. The best way is to gently push back cuticles using an orange stick.

Nail Creams and Nail Polishes

Nail polishes make your nails colorful and attractive. Allow your nails to breathe by giving a break to your nails. Nails turn yellow if they are constantly covered by nail polish.

If you are using stick on nails, then make sure that you remove them after two weeks and clean your nails. If there is a gap between the artificial nail and your nail, dirt and germs can collect in this gap and cause nail infections.

Nail creams

Nail creams strengthen nails, prevent breakage and moisturize them. Massage a nail cream before you go to bed.

Cuticle creams can be massaged into the cuticles. Cuticle creams moisturize and strengthen the cuticles.

Diet for healthy nails

A healthy cuticle is the foundation of a healthy nail. Eating a wholesome meal is essential to for healthy nails.

Biotin or vitamin H strengthens weak and brittle nails. Bananas, beans, cauliflower, eggs, peanuts are all rich in biotin.

Proteins help to produce Keratin that strengthens nails. Incorporate eggs, low-fat dairy products, soybeans, whole grains for a protein rich diet.

Iron is essential for healthy nails. When iron is deficient, the body will not be able to produce enough hemoglobin that is responsible for carrying oxygen to the different parts of the body. The lack of oxygen can prevent the growth of healthy nails. Whole grains, eggs, dark leafy vegetables, legumes are rich in iron.

Nail Conditions

Hangnail is a small piece of skin found next to the fingernail or toenail formed due to dry skin or due to nail biting.

Do not bite or tear off hangnails. as this will damage the surrounding skin and may lead to paronychia (a painful nail infection). Hang Nails should be clipped using a nail clipper. Massage a moisturizing cuticle cream into your cuticles to prevent hangnails.

Ingrown Nails is a condition where the nails grow into the skin at the corners digging into the skin. If left untreated this can lead to painful conditions.

To prevent ingrown toenails, do not cut too deep at the corner of your nails. Cut your nails straight across. To avoid ingrown toenails do not wear tight fitting shoes.

Fungal infection of nails will cause the nail to become yellow and brittle. Ridges may appear on the nails. There are medications to treat fungal infections. Using antifungal lacquer helps to get rid of fungal infections.

If fungal infections are not treated properly, the infection will spread to the surrounding areas.

To prevent fungal infections -

  • cut your nails and keep them short
  • when you go to a salon check out the cleanliness and hygiene of the salon
  • wash your hands if you touch an infected nail
  • spread anti-fungal powder in between your toes when you wear shoes
  • wear cotton socks to wick away the sweat and keep your skin dry

Take care of your nails to prevent infections and to keep them strong and healthy.


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    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Thank you for the return visit, much appreciated.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      I read this before but popped in again for the support and to refresh my care of nails.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      ChitrangadaSharan thank you for your visit and the vote up. Much appreciated.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Lot of helpful information for nail care! Nutrition matters a lot for having healthy nails.

      A well manicured hand is a reflection of a methodical and organised personality.

      Thanks for this useful hub! Voted up!

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      midnightbliss thank you for stopping by and adding your valuable comments.

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 3 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      I'm glad to see you mention "Biotin or Vitamin H" for healthy nails. Too often I hear girlfriends comment that routine manicures is adequate nail care. As you noted, it also requires a healthy diet.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      fpherj48 thank you, a good pedicure does make you feel like a brand new woman!! Thank you for stopping by and your many votes, much appreciated.

      vocalcoach thank you for reading and for the share, much appreciated.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Because I am a pianist I keep my nails short. This is such a good hub Vellur. I like the photos and the video. Thank you for presenting this. I'll share this!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Well-manicured hands and a goodpedicure are the best "finishing touches" to a well-groomed woman. Whenever I have an appointment at the salon, I walk out feeling like a brand new woman.

      Excellent hub......reminds us of the best ways to take care of our hands & nails. Thanks!..UP+++

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Audrey thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. Much appreciated.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      Lots of great info here--I don't paint, but I do take care of them--

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      Levertis Steele thank you for stopping by.

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 5 years ago from Southern Clime

      This is great advice. Thanks for sahring!

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      Rusticliving thank you, I am sure your nails will look great. Take care. Thank you for your vote and sharing too.

      tillsontitan you are right, many people are not aware of nail facts. Thank you for stopping by and for your votes.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      You packed some good information in this hub Vellur. A lot of people aren't aware of what a hang nail actually is,or the importance of keeping your cuticles in good condition. Your nails are not only an indication of your health, but people look at your nails all the time and its always nice to have good looking nails.

      Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

      I hate to admit it, but I am a nail biter. However, after reading this, I may never bite them again! Very good information Vellur! I think I shall pay more attention to my hands and see if I can't get my nails to look a little better! :) Voted up and shared!

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      Bedbugabscond am glad you stopped biting, thank you for visiting.

    • Bedbugabscond profile image

      Melody Trent 5 years ago from United States

      I used to bite my nails. It was a terrible habit. I found the best way to stop biting them was to take care of them regularly. As long as I wash and trim them regularly, I am not as tempted to bite them.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      thoughtforce thank you, I am happy that my tips are useful to you. Thanks for sharing.

      Shawn May Scott, thank you. Vit E oil is great and does wonders.

      cclitgirl take care and do not bite. Thank you for stopping by.

      carriethomson thank you am glad you enjoyed the video. YEs, anyone can do it.

    • carriethomson profile image

      carriethomson 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      it was to amazing to watch the video and to know the steps for nail polish....so easily and perfectly it is shown...anyone can use such and art there own.......thanks

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Now...if only I could kick my nail-biting habit. I bite my nails a lot...I've done that since I was little. Yep...it's a bit of an addiction. Oh well. Maybe I'l *try* to grow my nails and make them look as good as the pictures here. :D

    • Shawn May Scott profile image

      Shawn May Scott 5 years ago

      I use vitamin e oil every night and rub it into my nails and cuticles. This has given me year of soft hands and strong nails. I do not wear polish anymore as I do not need to for strength. Although the right red is too much fun!!! Great tips, thanks for sharing.

    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 5 years ago from Sweden

      I could really need some manicure and it is on my to-do-list! I have no problems with my long nails but they look so much better when I take care of them. Thanks for all this information and the great tips in this hub. Useful, interesting and sharing

      Tina

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      Sunshine625 thank you for your wonderful comments and apprecaition. You made my day!!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      A tribute to our nails! Fantastic! I used to have long nails, but no more...I keep them as short as possible due to the fact that hearing my fingernails on a keyboard annoy me. A pet peeve. I recently have been coloring them again. You offer some great tips. Thank you!

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      teaches12345 gloves do a good job of protecting your hands and nails even though it will be a bit difficult working with gloves, if you are not used to it. Thank you.

      prektjr thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

    • prektjr.dc profile image

      Debbie Carey 5 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA

      Lots of good information! Thank you for sharing!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      It took me some time to realize that I had to use gloves when I clean if I wanted healthy long nails. Your suggestions to use lotions is excellent advice, it does make them softer and more flexible.