Healthy, clean nails can add grace and beauty to a person’s hands and feet. Aside from this, keeping nails healthy is important as they can be prone to various medical conditions. We don’t tend to spend too much time thinking about the health of our nails, however it is important that we pay sufficient attention to them.
Healthy fingernails and toenails have a uniform colour and consistency. They have a smooth surface, are not discoloured and don’t contain spots. Your fingernails and toenails are made out of a tough protein known as keratin. They grow from the base of the nail just under the cuticle. The nails that you see are old cells that become hard and compacted and are pushed out of the cuticle when new cells form. There are times when you may see vertical ridges on the nails. These are harmless although they do become more prominent with age. An injury can also cause damage to the nails. However, this will grow out with the nails, or the entire nail may fall while new nail grows back. Nails are usually a healthy, peachy pink. Any medical problem or a deficiency that you may have within your body is often reflected in the condition of your nails.
You may need medical advice if you experience,
Nail shape changes
Thinning or thickening of the nails
Nail separation from surrounding skin
Redness, swelling or pain
As with the rest of your body, your nails require proper care. Below are some ways in which healthy fingernails and toenails can be ensured.
Moisturize and Hydrate – Moisturising creams and oils massaged onto toes and finger tips every night before bed time can keep your fingernails and toenails moisturised and hydrated. Use organic creams for the best results. Although you may think you need to pay a fortune for them, discounted top quality hand and nail creams are available online.
Dry and Clean – Your nails are a breeding ground for bacteria, fungi and various other organisms. These organisms thrive on warm, moist areas. If your nails are constantly wet and dirty, you are sure to experience a growth of these organisms that will compromise the health of your nails. Detergents and harsh chemicals, when doing housework, can damage the nails. Therefore, wear rubber gloves when washing dishes and always keep them clean.
Trim and File Regularly – Trim and file your nails as often as possible. This can be done after a bath when your nails are soft. Hard nails should be soaked in warm water (without soap). Always trim your nails straight across and gently around the tips.
Avoid Closed Shoes – This may be difficult for most men and women. However, keeping your feet open to air as much as possible prevents the growth of fungi and bacteria.
Avoid Biting Fingernails – Biting fingernails damage the nail bed. This enables bacteria and fungi to enter and may result in nail infections. Keep in mind, nail fungi are extremely difficult to get rid of.
Avoid Abusing the Nails – Avoid using your fingernails to pry open things.
Carefully Select Nail Paint – Cheap nail polish can harm your nails and make them look dull and pale. Consider reputed brands that offer strengthening and chip-proof nail polish. Always apply a base coat before nail polish application.
A Healthy Diet – Nails also need us to eat a proper diet. For healthy nails, consider a diet high in protein, lots of fruits and vegetables, Vitamin B and calcium and zinc.
Healthy nails ensure a healthy you. Therefore, keeping your nails healthy looking can provide you an indication of how healthy you are.