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Proper Care of the Hands and Fingernails

Updated on February 6, 2010


Hands express your personality. They are the most telltale features about you. You may not realize it but, people are always looking at your hands. When you write on the blackboard, when you raise your hands to answer a question in class, when you shake hands with friends or set the table for dinner, you call attention to your hands. Because your hands are in sight most of the time, it is a must that you take time to keep them well- groomed.

Simple care daily and a once-a-week manicure will keep you feeling confident that your hands look well cared for.

Wash hands frequently - before and after meals, after working, playing, or handling anything that is dirty, before working in the kitchen and starting to sew and after going to the toilet. Use a mild soap and water. Rinse and dry them completely so that they will remain smooth and soft. A hand lotion rubbed or patted into the skin, will help prevent dryness and chapping.

Neat nails are essential to attractive hands. Your nails can be pretty if you give them special care. Don't use your nails to open jars, remove thumbtacks or untie knots. Don't bite your nails or use them as tools to dig, scrape, or pry.

Complete care of your nails includes once-a-week manicure. Here are the basic rules for a good manicure.

1.   The best time to "do" your nails is after your weekly shampoo. Your cuticle is soft and your nails file easily.

2.    File your nails with an emery board. File from outside to center. Shape them in an oval; they will look more graceful and break less easily.

3.    Buff your nails to stimulate circulation and make them stronger. Soak the nails of each hand in warm, soapy water for two or three minutes. Use a soft brush to clean them. Dry thoroughly.

4.   Push back the cuticle with a towel. Apply a little cuticle remover, with cotton wrapped on an orange wood stick. Let this dry and do it again. Cut any hangnails, but never cut the cuticle. Do not pull hangnails off. This may tear the skin and result in infection.

5.    Rub lotion into your hands. Dry the nails before putting polish on.

6.    Nail polish improves the appearance of your nails only if it is correctly applied and kept neat at all times. If you use polish, choose a soft color, or better still, natural color. Vivid, dramatic shades are all right now and then on young hands at parties. They are not in good taste for daily school wear. Apply two coats of polish after you have put on a base. Let it flow easily. Then, with the ball of your thumb, wipe off any smudges. Seal with a thin coat of colorless sealing polish. This prevents chipping. Don't peel your polish. Repair it when it is damaged. As soon as the polish starts to chip, remove it. Whether you see nail polish or not, your nails should be kept clean, unbroken and well-shaped at all times.

Nails that chip or split may be caused by an insufficient calcium in the diet. Include plenty of food rich in calcium like milk and cheese and also fruits and vegetables which supply vitamins and minerals for healthy nails.


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