Keeping your nails in good working condition

Nails, especially fingernails are a very visible part of the body and therefore simply can’t be ignored! Some women spend a fortune making their fingernails look beautiful. However, it’s not enough to just throw a coat of nail polish on them and walk around.

Nails, especially fingernails are a very visible part of the body and therefore simply can’t be ignored! Some women spend a fortune making their fingernails look beautiful. However, it’s not enough to just throw a coat of nail polish on them and walk around.

Undesirable nails need proper care. Take a close look at your fingernails. Do you like what you see?  Do your nails look strong and healthy? Or do you see ridges, dents or areas of unusual color and shape?

Healthy fingernails are smooth, without pits or grooves. They have a consistent natural colour and are free of spots or stains. Sometimes fingernails develop harmless vertical ridges that run from the cuticle to the tip of the nail. Vertical ridges tend to become more prominent with age. Fingernails can also develop white lines or spots due to injury, but these eventually fade out with the growth of the nail.

Fingernails are composed of laminated layers of a protein called keratin. Keratin grows from the area at the base of the nail under your cuticle. As new cells grow, older cells become hard and compact - eventually pushed out toward your fingertips.

Consult a doctor or dermatologist if you notice any suspicious nail conditions.  If there are changes in nail color, such as staining of the entire nail or a dark streak under the nail, changes in nail shape, such as curled nails, thinning or thickening of the nails, separation of the nail from the surrounding skin, bleeding around the nails, redness and swelling or pain around the nails, consult a doctor.

To keep your fingernails looking their best, follow these simple guidelines.

Keep your fingernails dry and clean. This prevents bacteria, fungi and other organisms from growing under your fingernails. Wear cotton-lined rubber gloves when washing dishes, cleaning or using harsh chemicals, and avoid long soaks in the tub.

Trim and file your fingernails regularly. It might be easiest to trim and file your fingernails when they’re soft, such as after a bath.

 When using hand lotion, rub the lotion into your fingernails and cuticles too, to prevent nail damage. Don’t use your fingernails as tools to pick, poke or force open things. Do not bite your fingernails or pick at your cuticles because that will damage the nail bed.  You might rip live tissue along with the hangnail. Instead, carefully clip off hangnails.

 

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