Our nails are one of those parts of our body that we often tend to neglect. Unhealthy and poorly maintained nails reflect badly on our personal hygiene. On the other hand, nails which are well kept and cared for enhance the beauty of our hands.
Moisturize Your Nails Regularly
Nails are made of a protein rich substance called keratin which is also found in our hair and skin. A basic knowledge of our nails can help us to take better care of our cuticles. The surface of the nail is called the nail plate which is surrounded by skin on three sides. The nail bed is the skin which lies underneath the nail and the cuticle is the skin which overlaps the nail at its base. Simple but daily care of our nails and the surrounding skin can help to give them a healthy and attractive look.
Healthy nails have a uniform, pinkish color. They also have slight, uniform vertical ridges and are not brittle. If the nails are whitish, thick and discolored it means that they have some specific problem which needs the advice of a doctor. Often contact of harsh chemicals in soaps and washing detergents spoil nails. If your nails are brittle and discolored, try changing your dish washing liquid or detergent.
An important step to having attractive nails is to moisturize them regularly. Whenever you wash your hands with soap or use some detergent, you must apply a moisturizer or hand lotion and massage your hands and the nails. Massage the corners of your nails and the cuticle.
Often we may find thin layers of skin peeling off near the cuticle or at the sides of the nails. Never peel off such skin completely as that may expose the tender underlying skin. Exposed skin looks ugly and is also prone to infection. Always clip their loose ends. Regular moisturizing can take care of this problem but if it persists you can consult a skin specialist.
As a daily practice you can massage your hands at bedtime and wear a pair of cotton gloves while sleeping. That way, you will wake up to find soft hands and fingernails in the morning.
A Balanced Diet Is Essential For Healthy Nails
Some precautions should also be taken while clipping nails. Never clip dry nails. Always clip them after a bath when the nails are moist and soft or after soaking your hands in some warm water. Always trim the tips in a rounded way without clipping them too deep into the skin. Deeply cut nails can be very painful and also make the corners vulnerable to germs entering the skin. After clipping the nails use an emery board or file to smooth the edges and shape them.
Most women apply nail polish to make their nails attractive. Always use good quality nail color manufactured by a renowned cosmetics company and not cheap nail colors as they may contain harmful chemicals.
Also do not use nail polish remover more than twice a month as it makes the nails dry. Instead reapply nail polish if it peels off without removing it completely with a remover. Also every time you use nail polish remover, remember to moisturize and massage your nails to re-hydrate them and then apply nail polish.
An occasional manicure is good for the hands and nails but one must remember to take some precautions. Ensure that the equipments used for the manicure are sterilized. Unclean instruments can cause germs and viruses to enter the skin and cause fungal infections of the nail. Such infections need specific medication and take a long time to heal. Also do not allow the beautician to push back the cuticle to expose the nail or to insert any instrument to clean underneath the nail. These can make the nail vulnerable to germs.
Apart from daily nail care, a healthy diet comprising fresh green salads and fruits, proteins, vitamins and minerals like iron and calcium is also essential to have good nails.