Things that You can do to have Strong and Healthy Nails
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 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.
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.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Nithya Venkat