Looking after your nails is one of life’s pleasures. Taking the time out of your day to meditate as your file and buff the nails to a beautiful shape is utterly relaxing. The rewards of your efforts are worth it too, as you look down on healthy and well-groomed fingers as you work. While we would all love to be pampered each day by the skilled hands of a nail technician, the truth is that some of the work needs to be done by us. We need to make sure we deliver nails in good health, so the manicurist can work that magic to make your look glamorous and stunning.
Here we take you through some of the essential information about nail care.
Getting to know your nails
Getting to know you nails will help you understand a little about why and how you should take care of them. Your nail is made of material that is like your hair. It is layer on layer of a type of protein called keratin and it grows from a cuticle base. While you might think that the nail is made up of dead cells, they do have a blood supply. So, although it does not hurt when you cut your nails, thankfully, your general physical health can impact on the look of your nail.
Knowing what a healthy nail looks like is more important than just being concerned about aesthetics. Unhealthy nails can signal broader problems with your health. These problems will show up in a number of ways, including a change to the shape, pitting and ridges; pain, swelling and redness, nails separating from the skin, brittle and crumbling nails and white marks or changes in colour.
Of all of these, horizontal ridges on your nails should cause most concern. If you believe you have these and are worried, you may wish to see a doctor. Horizontal ridges can indicate acute kidney disease, thyroid problems, diabetes and even signal you have mumps. Equally, white marks on your nails may indicate a deficiency in Vitamin A and vertical ridges that you are dehydrated.
Healthy body, healthy nails
It is not just that nails are a healthy diagnostic tool for doctors, but that your nails are impacted by your physical health. Consequently, if you eat well and exercise regularly, you will find that your nails are naturally healthier too. Eating foods like lean protein, oily fish, salmon, eggs, whole grains, legumes, beans, and nuts will improve your nail health.
You will know if your efforts are working if your nails are a mauve or pink colour. Your nails shouldn’t break easily or contain horizontal lines and you should have cuticles. If your nails still look unhealthy despite a good diet, you might want to consider using supplements that include Biotin, Vitamin A, iron and maybe silica.
It is also important not to bite your nails. Nail biting is a common cause of fungal and bacterial infection. However, nail biting is also a symptom of anxiety. Therefore, you would do well to consider what triggers nail biting and address these directly. Again, your whole system is connected and sometimes solving the basic problem will have positive consequences for your nails too.
Strong and long nails
We all crave strong and long nails, as they are appealing to see. To strengthen nails, you should apply oil. While this oil can be bought from a shop, scented and lovely, and at a high cost, the best variety of oil for your nails is olive oil. It will do the trick well.
To grow nails quickly you can take a nail supplement and avoid any manual work. You should regularly massage cuticle oil into your nails and keep them moisturised.
Maintaining your nails with the right equipment will give you that strong and long look over time. You need a good nail file, buffer, scissors or clippers, polish remover, moisturising oil or cream and a cuticle pusher. When look to create the perfect nail shape use your file and buffer. Although it is tempting to use scissors to short cut the process, you will be more precise with slow and even use of the file. If you do cut your nails, be sure to soak them in warm water first, else you might end up tearing and damaging them. Then, when you have removed nail polish with an acetone-free remover, be sure to rub that olive oil into the nail to strengthen and nourish.