Do you feel like your nails could need a boost? Do you see dents, discolorations, ridges or they have an unusual shape? Here is what you need to know in order to keep your nails in mint shape.
First things first. How does a healthy nail look? The nail is composed of laminated layers of keratin (a family of fibrous structural proteins) that grows from the base area under the cuticle. This growing part under the proximal end is the only living part of the nails. A healthy nail is a uniform nail in color, smooth, without dents or creases.
Due to excessive nail treatments, genetics, or age, the nail tends to develop vertical ridges or grooves, that become more and more prominent as time passes. Below you may find five tips that will help you maintain and improve the health of your nails:
- Try to keep your cuticles in place. Cuticles are the natural barrier that prevents bacteria and fungi to penetrate the area. Once you remove it, the natural protection is lost.
- Use moisturizer. If your nails are prone to breakage, a little moisturizer now and then will go a long way improving the state of your nails. Double this deal with some cuticle oil, and you’ll have a handy protection set for your nails.
- Avoid using rash emery boards. They are causing small fissures and cracks that can further cause breakage or tears. You may replace your rough emery boards with a smooth nail file.
- I cannot stress enough how much you need to avoid touching cleaning chemicals. They dry the nail and disturb the natural moisture balance. Make sure to put on gloves any time your hands need to be around cleaning products.
- Trim your nail with regularity. Shorter nails will decrease the risk of cracking and chipping.
A healthy nail has a pale shade of pink. Any variation from this color may signalize a problem. For example, if the nail becomes yellow-ish, there is probably an ongoing fungal infection. In time, this condition may spread to the adjacent nails, creating even more problems. If one of your nails suddenly starts turning yellow, you may consider consulting a specialist.
Dos for the nail dutiful person:
- Hygiene – one of the most important factors for a healthy nail. Clean your manicure tools before and after every usage.
- Keep the nails clean and dry – avoid prolonged contact with water as it can deteriorate the nail. Avoid direct contact with cleaning chemicals or harsh nail products.
- Always apply a nail hardener.
- Make sure to have a balanced diet. Vitamin supplements could be welcomed too.
Don’ts for the nail dutiful person:
- Neglect existing problems. If you see that your nail condition is precarious, consult a doctor or a dermatologist. They will evaluate the state of your nail and provide the necessary treatment.
- Rip off hangnails. This may damage the skin around the nail and inflame the area. Always carefully clip the nail with clean scissors.
- Pick your cuticles or bite your nails. These actions will damage the nail or allow fungi or bacteria to penetrate the zone.