Don’t ignore your Nails : Guide to Nail Health

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Finger and toe nails, in our day to day lifestyle bear the brunt for being exposed to all kinds of dirt, exposure and rough handling. All kinds of chemicals are used on them in the form of nail paints and nail paint removers, without thinking about what it causes to the nails. Such a lot of chemical exposure, weather exposure, heat and dirt causes problems to the nails such as discoloration and breakage. Ridges and dents also become common and the nails do not seem healthy and strong.

Fingernails are made up of layers of protein deposits, known as Keratin. They grow from the cuticle to the tip and as new cells grow , older cells harden and are pushed towards our finger tips. Healthy fingernails are free from spots, pits and grooves and have uniform color and consistency. They are free from any kind of discolouration and do not break often.

In our day to day lifestyle we do not have time to focus on daily care and upkeep of little things and they often go ignored, but are as important as any other body part and hence should be taken care of.

Here are some important dos an don’ts regarding nail care which you can do to have healthy and strong nails.

Dos :

  • Keeping the nails dry

Our nails need to breathe too. Wet and warm conditions helps bacteria and fungi to grow. Keeping the nails moist and wet can be one of the worst things you can do to them. We need to wash our hands and bathe daily which is given, but making sure to dry them well should be taken care of too.


  • Nail filing and cutting

One should cut the hang nails by the help of nail cutters only and not by themselves to prevent damage. After cutting one should always file the nails. This is because when the nails are cut they do not have smooth edges which can scratch or harm things which come on contact, or the rough edges cause them to break easily. Filing should be done in one direction rather than filing it uneven as it causes nails to crack.


  • Maintaining healthy diet and personal hygiene

Nails are as important as any other part of the body, and hence maintaining hygiene for the nails becomes important. Washing the hands regularly and removing the dirt stuck in the nails is important for healthy nails.
Having a healthy diet too ensures that all the nutrients required are being given to your body in order to maintain healthy nails Eating healthy food like vegetables and fruits, and keeping away from fried and junk food helps in keeping the nails healthy. Increasing the calcium intake and including juices in your diet helps to maintain the nutrients and vitamins required in your body.


  • Nail creams and hardener gels

Nail creams and hardener gels can be used for the nails to prevent them from discoloration. Nail creams are easily available in the market and are less expensive too. So one can try a couple of them till the best suited is found
Also, you can opt for acrylic and gel nails if the nails are sensitive and you have a hard time growing them. People use these artificial nails to protect their own nails from breaking and also gives the look of longer nails if they can not naturally achieve them. But one should be careful as these gel hardeners and gel nails cause reactions to some people too.


  • Usage of rubber gloves for daily chores

Cleaning the house or doing the dishes should be done by wearing rubber gloves only. The chemicals which are used for cleaning are strong and causes the nails to weaken and give burns. Gloves also prevent dirt to deposit under the nails.
One should not wear gloves on moist hands, and should dry them before the next usage. Also,drying the nails properly and moisturising them is required on daily basis.


Don’ts :

  • Biting your nails.

Biting your nails is a nasty habit and brings no good to your nails. The appearance of the nails of someone who is a nail biter, does not give a good impression to the person having a look at their hands. This habit causes a lot of damage to the nail bed, as even a slightest cut on the nails helps bacteria and fungi to enter and grow, which causes infection.


  • Using nails as a handy tool!

Tools and nails are different and should not be confused between each other. One should not open cans, boxes, lids, or scratch off material by the help of your nails. It is the job of tools. Fingernails should not be abused to pick or scratch anything as it causes damage .


  • Cutting cuticles

One should remember that cuticles are not meant to be cut, but to be gently pushed back. There are special tools and products in the market available specially for this purpose and hence should be used for the job. The creams, or cuticle softener gel helps in the process of pushing the cuticle back without cutting or weakening the nail bed.


  • Regular usage of Nail paints

Every one likes colorful nails, but using too much nail paint also causes damage to the nails. Nail polish is made up of chemicals, mainly of Acetone which makes the nails softer and hence weaker. One should use only high quality nail paints and should throw away the nail polish if expired. Also using the nail paint as less as once in a week is the best option.
Also, one should be using oil based nail paint removers which are currently being used by most women across the globe rather than Acetone ones, as they cause damage.

bad nails

  • Ignore nail problems

If you notice any kind of changes in your nails, be it dents or discoloration you should consult your doctor. Sometimes fungi infections become prevalent and cause yellow and thick nails which are ignored .
Changes in nails are mostly due to vitamin or nutritional deficiencies too, hence consulting your doctor helps you to detect the problem and get the cure in no time.
Always remember to consult a doctor as soon as you find changes in your nails like:
-Changes in color of the nails, dents, black streaks.
-Curled nails, thinning and thickening of the nails.
-Redness and swelling around the nails, bleeding is also a sign of nail problems and hence one should consult the doctor as soon as one finds them