Nail Health Care Tips- Full Guide

What Are Nails?

Finger and toe nails are part of the body which is made up of multiple pieces like the nail plate, nail bed, cuticle, nail fold/wall, lunula and the matrix.

  • Nails plate- actual obvious visible part of the nail
  • Nail bed- skin under the nail plate
  • Cuticle- dead skin that covers bottom of the nail plate
  • Nail fold/wall- skin that supports the nail plate from all 3 sides
  • Lunula- Round white shape at the bottom of the nail
  • Nail matrix- tissue under base of the nail which allows everything to rest

nail anatomy drawing

Finger nails are made from keratin which is simply a hardened form of protein. Keratin is also part of the hair and can be found in other parts of the body.

The rate that nails grow can vary, finger nails grow much faster than toe nails. Things such as sex and age also matter, males grow nails faster than females and a young person’s nails grows faster than an older person’s nails.


How Do We Look After Our Finger Nails?

Well here are the best nail health care tips available:

Moisturize

Think of your nails as an extension of your skin, you wouldn’t let your face go unmoisturized because it can become dehydrated and crackled, the same applies for your nails. Make sure you moisturize your nails to get that smooth, bright and healthy look.

Moisturize Nails

Diet

You can improve your hair, skin and over health with protein and the same goes for your nails. Our nails are made up of protein and to rebuild and look after our nail you need to consume protein. So every time we damage our nails protein synthesis will occur and heal the damaged area efficiently.

protein for healthy nails

Read Labels

Just like skin care products, we like to look at the ingredients to make sure we’re not using any toxic ingredients and it’s the same for your nails. Watch out for things like dibutyl phthalate and toluene, these are toxic chemicals and something you don’t want on your nails.

reading-product_label

Disinfect Tools

Disinfecting your tools is a must, overtime the tool which you utilize can accumulate in bacteria and can really harm you, it can even make you ill. Just wash your tools with some soap and water and your good to go.

disinfect nail tools

Give Your Nails A Break

I’m sure you could save that cute nail art and beautiful nail polish for the weekend, for the rest of the week give your nails a rest and let them repair themselves. Our nails get enough slack from all of our other chores.

give nails a break

Tap Your Nails On A Hard Surface

By tapping your nails on a hard surface your actually strengthening them. Think about it, our nails are made up of keratin (hardened protein). By breaking down the keratin it encourages our body to strengthen the nails by making the keratin harder and more condense.

hardened nail training

Maybe not to this extreme but you get the point

Use As Little Nail Polish Remover As Possible

Nail polish removers include acetone which is a harsh solvent and dissolves the nail polish which will in-turn damage surface of the nail. Too much acetone can really dry out your nail and remove the natural oils that your nails feed on. I know it’s tempting to constantly use nail polish so you can have that shiny, new base and start a whole new nail polish coat all over again.

But it’s not worth the damage your doing to your nails, let them BREATHE!

nail polish removers contain acetone

Biting Nails

Have you ever been told “Biting your nails is a bad habit”?

Well it is! Do you know how much bacteria your fingers collect? And now your putting them in your mouth….

…that’s pretty gross. Biting the nails can result in red swollen nails, pain and overall discomfort which is a sign of infection.

biting nails is bad for your nails

Trim Your Nails Regularly

By trimming the nails there’s less chance and space for bacteria and dirt to gather. Trimming nails makes them stronger and much more resistant than long nails, it’s recommended that you trim your nails after a warm bath or shower.

nail clipper tweezman

Care For Your Cuticles

Cutting the cuticles is one of the worst things you could possibly do for your nails. It can result in infection and swelling, if you do end up cutting your cuticles make sure to put a plaster on. The cuticle are prominent to infection if cut, so remember to look after them and don’t be reckless with your tools.

healthy cuticle

Use Rubber Gloves

Our nails go through so much during the day and we tend to not notice. Gloves act as a barrier for the skin. The skin is supposed to be soft and luscious not tough and hard, exposing your nails to harsh condition will surely result in ruined and tough nails.

If you earn your living through washing dishes or simply wash a-lot, make sure to wear rubber gloves. This will protect against infection, cuts, chemicals, keeping your nails and skin safe and delicate.

rubber gloves for nail protection

Use A Good Base Coat

Using a good base coat can prevent stained nails, ever used that delicious green only to be left with a sickly yellow?

Well…

It was either not using enough base coat or none at all, remember nails are dyes and mixing all these chemicals together will undoubtedly leave stains. Just put a little extra time into your nails and apply a base coat because it’s going to save you time and grief when removing the polish.

base coat to look after nails

Don’t Ignore The Problem!

Definitely one of the worst things you can do. If you see abnormalities in your nails and they’ve been there for a while, it’s a good option to talk to a doctor about it. Maybe  it’s an infection or fungus growing and your just letting it happen.

It’s better to be safe than sorry.

unhealty nails

Signs Of Unhealthy Nails:

Discolored

Pale nails, yellow nails, bluish nails and dark nails are all negative signs of nail health. Pale finger nails can be a sign of poor diet, liver cancer, anemia or heart failure. Yellow nails can be associated with lung disease due to smoking, diabetes and fungal infection. Bluish finger nails can be associated with very low oxygen at a life threatening level. Dark finger nails can be a sign of fungal infection, bruising, skin cancer and chronic infection.

pale nails

pale nails

yellow nails

yellow nails

Bluish Fingernails

Bluish Fingernails

dark fingernails

dark fingernails

Changes In Nail Shape

Changes in nail shape can indicate to many things like tube shaped nails, which can mean the shoes your wearing are too tight. This can cause pain and distress to the nails.

Iron deficiency anemia can be seen through spoon shaped nails and is a horrible disease to have. The nail will return back to it’s normal form if the iron deficiency disease is eradicated. Spoon shaped nails can also appear in children, but it’s temporary and is seen as just a phase. When the nails appear to have a ridged affect it’s normally due to old age but can also be seen as injury or infection.

spoon shaped nails

spoon shaped nails

Clubbing nails is a swelling of the toe or finger (commonly toe) and can really bulge outwards, it looks curved and rounded. Clubbing of the fingers can be caused by lung, heart, thyroid or liver disease

Swelling And Pain Around Nail

Acute paronychia is a sudden and painful swelling around the nail, it can feel worn and has a red tint around the fingernail or toenail. This can be due to injury which just took place, infection or tearing of the cuticle.

Acute paronychia

Chronic paronychia is a yeast fungus which swells the finger or toenail. A slow but gradual swelling occurs and red in color. There are certain people who are more likely to develop this fungus such as hairdressers, dishwashers, dentists, cleaners and bartenders.

Chronic paronychia

White spots

The most common reason white spots occur is because of calcium deficiency, commonly referred as leukonychia. Another reason white spots occur is because of an injury, which is common in sports such as hockey, too much damage has been done to the base of the nail. If a white spot occurs on your finger or toenail, it will usually pass after a-few weeks.

White-spots-on-nails

Blood

Blood under the nail is known as subungal hematoma and can be caused by things such as a paper cuts, crushed toe/finger or anything that can cause blood under the nail. This is nothing to worry about and blood under the nail is very common and caused by an accident like slamming your finger between the door “OUCH!” it will heal overtime.

subungal hematoma

10 Things You didn’t know about your nails

  1. Nails absorb more water than skin
  2. Can sharpen and used as a deadly weapon
  3. Average nail grows 3.5 mm every month
  4. White nails don’t always mean you need more milk
  5. An expert can see what your health is like by just looking at your nails
  6. Stress is bad for the nails
  7. They need water to survive and look healthy
  8. Under the nails are one of the dirtiest places on the body
  9. Mens’ nails grow faster than a womens’
  10. Nails grow faster in the summer than winter

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