Fingernails and toenails are often overlooked when it comes to overall wellness. You may think that your grooming routine takes nail care into account, but have you actually stopped to consider the general health of your nails? It may sound silly at first, but any abnormalities in your nails could be the initial symptom to a greater health concern. Aside from monthly mani-pedis, consider the following tips and tricks to take care of your nails.
- Eat well.
Healthy nails are a sign of a healthy body, and the first step in achieving this is through ensuring proper nutrition. In fact, the way nails look and feel will say a lot about internal health more than people realize. Brittle or dry nails indicate calcium or vitamin A deficiencies. Cracks or breaks point to protein and iron deficiencies. The presence of white spots means iron or zinc deficiencies.
- Stop biting!
Curb this bad habit at all costs! Not only does nail-biting damage your teeth, but it also increases the risk of nail infections like paronychia, which causes redness, swelling, and pus around the area of the nail.
- Trim the right way.
If nails are growing too long or hangnails begin to form, sterilize a good old pair of nail clippers and trim them properly. The right way to groom nails is by trimming them straight across. Do not cut the cuticles either; just push back gently with an orange stick. These are best achieved by grooming nails after a warm shower so they’re softer.
- Avoid harsh chemicals.
This is especially useful for manicure regulars. From polishes to polish removers, try to cut back on exposing nails to very harsh chemicals. Things like gel polish and acetone can cause brittleness, peeling, and cracking. Return to traditional nail polish instead of gel to avoid these mishaps and don’t pick fading polishes with your hands or teeth. Also, make an effort to take nail polish breaks in between sessions to allow the nails to breathe and grow.
- Hydration is key.
Moisturize nails and nailbeds with petroleum jelly or emollient creams and lotions every so often. Invest in vitamin E oil drops for shiny nails or use olive or coconut oil, two easy- to-find kitchen staples.
Nails play a big role in our health, so make sure you give them the attention they deserve!