Simple nail-care practices will keep your hands looking good, prevent common problems like infections and make it easier for you to evaluate your nails for any indication of changes in health.
If you missed the previous post regarding nail health, you may wish to read that before continuing here.
Here’s a simple list:
1. Absolutely no nail-biting. Not only do the nails look awful, so do you when chewing away on your fingertips. Nail-biting is also the leading route to fungal or bacterial infection.
2. Keep nails clean and dry. Keep hands moisturized. (I think I have a natural advantage here. As a reflexologist, I am constantly washing my hands and moisturizing them when I moisturize clients’ feet and hands.)
3. Don’t cut back your cuticles. Leave them alone. They are there for a reason: they provide a barrier to irritants that can affect the growth and health of your nails.
4. Soak your hands and feet in warm salt water before trimming nails – just like the pros do. This not only cleans, but also softens the cuticles and nails.
5. Don’t attempt to “dig out” an ingrown toenail (paronychia). You could end up with a serious infection. This is definitely the time to visit a dermatologist or podiatrist.
6. Use cotton-lined rubber or vinyl gloves when exposing your hands to very hot water or chemicals for periods of time; ie. when washing dishes, cleaning.
7. Avoid acetone-based nail polish removers or ones containing formaldehyde. Also avoid alcohol-based hand sanitizers. These all weaken the nails and can lead to split nails.
8. There’s a reason nail techs apply a strengthening base coat first when giving a manicure. For one thing, base coats protect your nails from staining from the application of dark colored polishes.
9. Check that you’re getting an adequate amount of protein, biotin, iron and zinc in your diet. These four nutrients contribute to strong nails
10. Take a polish “holiday” for a month. At other times, leave a few days between removing polish and re-applying.
11. Consider giving up artificial, sculptured nails. Long-term use can contribute to the development of spoon nails and subsequent fungal infection in the nail matrix. Not fun.
12. And lastly, take a quick look-see every once in awhile. Admire the results of your care while keeping a look out for any noticeable changes in your nails that justify seeking out professional advice.