So, you want to look after your nails. It is not a bad plan, as you look at your hands every day, and what you see can impact your self-esteem. While you could always take yourself off to a nail technician, there are times when you will likely want to keep them healthy and groomed without having to pay.
Here we offer you a guide to some nail maintenance and beautifying that will help you keep your fingertips glowing!
What are the nails made of?
Before we dip into some details about caring for your nails, let us give some thought to what they are. They are not dead bits of shell stuck to the ends of your fingers and toes. In fact, nails have a blood supply, which is why they grow. They also have a cuticle base, and in many ways, they are like your hair. They are even made of a similar protein, known as keratin.
Knowing that your nails have a blood supply helps explain why they are such a great indicator of your general wellbeing. Unhealthy nails can be a sign of an unhealthy body, and you should be on the lookout for pitting in the nails, changes in colour, and any sign of pain, swelling or redness.
- Ridges in your nails can be a particular worry. Vertical ridges are not too bad, just an aesthetic issue and often harmless. You can usually counter these by drinking more water. However, horizontal grooves are known as Beau’s lines and can be a sign of thyroid disease, mumps, diabetes, acute kidney disease, and other illnesses. It is a good idea to seek medical advice.
- Nail discolouration may be a sign of impact bruising but also some fungal complaints.
- Yellow nails can sometimes be associated with lung disease.
This shows us that looking after our nails is more than just about making ourselves look good.
How to keep your nails healthy
To assess if your nails are healthy, check to see if they are a mauve or pink colour. Your nails should break easily, and you should have cuticles. There should be no vertical ridges.
If something is amiss with your nails, your first route to improvement is through your diet. You need to eat a healthy balanced diet rich in Omega 6, 9 fatty acids and Vitamin A. Try eating a lot of salmon, lean protein, oily fish, beans, legumes, eggs, whole grains, and nuts.
If you are struggling to keep your nails and hair healthy, you might want to try some biotin supplement, Vitamin A, silica and iron. All these can boost your general health, which will show in your nails.
To really keep those nails healthy, though, you need to stop biting them. Usually, biting nails is a nervous habit, and the way to stop is to find what triggers your anxiety. You then need to replace nail-biting with different behaviour, like squeezing a stress ball. While there are bitter-tasting nail polishes you can use, getting to the cause of your problems here is far more effective.
“What do I need for daily nail care?”
Once your nails are strong and healthy, you need to maintain them to keep them looking their best. To do this, you need the right equipment!
Tools to get for daily nail maintenance:
- a nail file;
- a nail buffer;
- nail scissors or clippers;
- a moisturizing cuticle oil;
- cuticle pushers;
- nail polish remover.
How to shape your nails
You should do this with a nail file and buffer and not with your scissors. With scissors, you will struggle to get the shape you want, and you may end up taking more off than you intended. Therefore, using your file and buffer can get the shape you want, whether this is an oval, almond, square or rounded nail shape.
If you are going to cut your nails, you need to soak them in warm water first. You are in danger of ripping the nail if cutting when not soaked. When cutting your toenails, go straight across and beware of getting too close to your cuticle, as this is how infections can occur.
How to fix a broken nail
To fix a broken nail can be annoying – and unsightly. You can do a lot with nail glue, which will stop it from snapping off entirely when coated over the top of the break. Sometimes, to prevent further damage, it is better to cut the cracked nail away and allow the nail to thrive again.
With just a few minutes of attention every day, you can give yourself shining fingertips to show off to your friends. Then, every so often, you might as well take yourself to a nail technician for a treat!
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