How Can We Help Our Nails to Grow Healthier?

Bad habits, stress and diet low in important nutrients, vitamins and minerals are among the major factors bringing down the condition of our nails. Issues such as discoloration, pits, grooves, spots, horizontal lines and brittleness are extremely common nowadays. They not only make the nails look imperfect, but affect their health. The good news is that there are many things which you can do to improve the health and looks of your nails. Here are the most effective measures.
Put an end to bad habits.
The list includes biting your fingernails, pulling off hangnails and picking at your cuticles. These affect not only the looks of the nails, but also increase the risk of bacterial infections. If you bite your fingernails when you are anxious, you should start using an alternative method for calming down. You can do something else with your hands such as rotating a pair of relaxation balls. It is true that hangnails are extremely annoying, but it is easier and much more effective to clip them.
Cut your nails, but not your cuticles.
You must use sharp stainless steel scissors especially designed for the purpose. Cut your fingernails only after a shower or after soaking them in water for about ten minutes. They will be soft and this will make things easier. Cut the middle section of the nail straight and then round the edges. Use a hygienic nail file with your preferred firmness to achieve the desired shape. File the nails in one direction from the edge to the center rather than going back and forth.
After softening the cuticles with warm water, you can massage them with a little bit of olive oil for nourishment. Then you need to push them back gently with the help of a cuticle pusher or orange stick. Cutting the cuticles increases the risk of infection so it should be avoided. Remember that you must never share any tools that you use for nail care.
Protect your nails from harsh environments.
Water is an enemy to nails when they are in it for too long. That is why it makes sense to put rubber gloves on when you wash the dishes. This will also give you protection from the nail-damaging chemicals found in washing liquids. Needless to say, such chemicals are present in all sorts of cleaners as well. For this, you should also put rubber gloves on when you clean various objects and surfaces from stoves to wood counter tops and cars. You should definitely protect your nails from the harsh environment during the winter months. Choose gloves which keep your hands warm while being breathable at the same time.
Rely on moisturizing.
The nails will benefit little from moisturizing, but the cuticles and the skin around them will be healthier and stronger. This will result in better nail health as well. It is best to apply moisturizer after a shower or a bath when the pores are open. You can use a specially designed product which contains various vitamins and minerals or a more basic product such as olive oil or almond oil. You can also apply hand moisturizer to these parts of the finger especially if you already use one. When the skin around the fingernails is rough and you experience nail problems such as discoloration and brittleness, you should use moisturizer daily. Otherwise, weekly treatments will be more than sufficient.
Use the right nail products.
You can add a layer of nail hardener before you apply nail polish if you have brittle and thin fingernails. Reinforcing hardeners are typically safer, but you should get well familiar with the specific ingredients just to be on the safe side. When it comes to nail polish, you would want to get a product which is free from toxic chemicals. Make sure that dibutyl phthalate also known as DBP, formaldehyde and toluene are not present in the bottle.
There are two types of nail polish removers to select from. The acetone-based products are more potent, but cause skin and nail dryness and sometimes irritation. The non-acetone products are much less harsh, but less powerful too. They are recommended to those with sensitive and dry skin. In general, it is a good idea to moisturize the fingernails and the skin around them after using the remover.
Get all the right vitamins and minerals for nail health.
Vitamins A, C and E are essential for having strong and beautiful nails. They are found in leafy greens and raw nuts among other foods. Biotin is perhaps the most important vitamin for nails as it is known for strengthening them naturally. Foods which are rich in biotin include almonds, legumes, eggs and whole grains. Zinc, calcium and iron are also important for nail health. While zinc and iron are most abundant in meats like veal, the low-fat dairy products are the ideal sources of calcium.
In general, when you have a balanced diet, you will have a healthy body and nails. If you have been diagnosed with vitamin deficiency, you should definitely take the supplements recommended by your doctor. Otherwise, you should check with him or her first before you use any product even if it is especially designed for boosting nail health.
Watch out for bothering nail symptoms.
Any changes in the color and thickness of the nails which last for more than two weeks and are not a result of injury should be reported to a doctor. This is important since they may signal a medical condition which requires specialist treatment. Other symptoms that you need to share with your physician include changes in the nail shape such as curving, detachment of the nail, bleeding and swelling.
Choose a nail salon very carefully if you plan to go to one.
Make sure that it is licensed and that all hygienic norms are strictly followed. All tools must be thoroughly sanitized after each customer. Before the treatment begins, tell the nail technician what you want done with your nails and cuticles exactly. It is perfectly normal to ask her to be gentle.
Use all of the tips shared here for healthier and more beautiful nails.


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