Nails are fundamental parts of the human body. They contribute both to the physiology and the outlook of the body. Nails, just like any other parts of the body, require attention and care to be in the best shape. This, we often ignore. Those who have an idea are not properly informed regarding how to care for nails. Nail care is not just about getting a manicure and you don’t need to see a professional.
Nail care involves daily routines that can be easily done at home to ensure nail stay and strong. We will be highlighting some of the nail care tips and tricks you can easily do at home. These tips and tricks are important for you to stay clear of several nail problems such as nail fungus, curved nails, etc.
Easy nail care tips and tricks
- Keep your nails dry and clean
This is the very first nail care we must all pay attention to. It is as fundamental as nail care could get. It is just like having your bath or brushing your teeth daily. A number of nail problems are down to wet or sweaty feet or hands e.g. fungus thrives in moist environments hence wet nails are prone to fungal infections and a lot more. Therefore, make sure your nails are always as dry as possible. If you do a lot of washing, protect your fingers with rubber gloves.
Secondly, dirty nails are breeding grounds for germs and bacteria, which is the beginning of several nail problems, hence nails must always be clean. This includes keeping nails well-trimmed and without dirt.
- Trim nails regularly; cutting it straight across
We are treating this as the second tip for nail care because it is a part of keeping nails clean. When trimming nails, we often make the mistake of following the curve of the nail. This could cause issues such as curved nails or ingrown nails. To avoid this, cut your nails straight across and be careful not to cut it too short to ensure the nail does not grow awkwardly e.g. curving into the nail bed.
- Stop biting your nails
There are hardly any of us who have never been guilty of this. It is one of those things we do without even considering it at all; more like a reflex action. Biting at nails makes them weak and brittle, among many other problems. It does not just affect your nails; it can also transmit germs into the mouth. Hence, consciously desist from this act. Train yourself to keep your fingers away from your mouth except when eating.
- Let your cuticles be
Often, people try to cut cuticles from the nail base. This is a wrong move because the cuticle is there to seal the nail base hence offering protection against germs and bacteria. Cutting it exposes you to diverse infections. To avoid or minimize hangnails, take care of your cuticle. When hangnails occur, do not tear them as this may open your nails to infections.
- Stop using your nails as tools
This is one of the major downsides of keeping long nails. More often than not, we turn nails to tools for removing things such as from the teeth. We also use them for scratching several surfaces. All this weakens the nail and could result in chipping or breakage. It is almost impossible to abstain from doing at least one of these things if we keep long nails hence the best thing is to keep nails well-trimmed.
- Don’t scrape off your nail polish
Often, we see people attempting to remove nail polish by scraping it off the nail. This does more harm than good to the nail. It could result in excessive thinning of nails among many other problems. Therefore, buy natural nail remover products to gently remove nail polish from your nail. All you will need to do is to use a cotton ball soaked in the solvent to wipe nail polish off.
- File your nails in one direction
Another common mistake made by people is the filing of nails in multiple directions. This makes the nail weak and vulnerable to breakage. To keep your nails healthy and strong, ensure you file your nails in one direction only. File from one edge to the center and the other edge.
- Avoid harsh or toxic polishes
Most of the nail polish available in the market contain harsh or toxic chemicals that make them unsafe for nails. Some of them will dry out the nail and could also cause damages to the surrounding skin. Therefore, use nail polishes that do not contain chemicals like sulfate, paraben, etc. We suggest that you use only antifungal nail polish. Always make it a point of duty to read the label of nail polishes before buying them. You should also ask questions as some things may not be categorically stated on the label.
- Pay attention to your diet
A large percentage of nail problems are diet-related. For example, a deficiency of calcium in your diets will result in weak and brittle nails. Other nutrients that are key to having healthy and strong nails include protein, vitamin E, magnesium, vitamin D, zinc, iron, etc. make sure your diets contain these necessary elements in sufficient proportion. This solves the majority of nail problems.
- Give your nails a break
Professionals advise that nails should be without polish at least as long they are with polish. This means if you wear nail polish for two weeks, then you should try to be without nail polish for the next two weeks. This is because nails need to breathe to stay healthy and strong.
Often, especially after washing or having our baths, nails get dehydrated. Hence, use a moisturizer to ensure nails are properly hydrated. Common household items such as coconut oil are very great moisturizing options for nails.
- Apply a base coat for protection
Before applying nail polish to your nails, ensure that you apply a base coat. This serves the purpose of protecting nails and keeping them from stains. Also, it gives nail polish the perfect look on nails – smooth and shining.
- Use a top coat
Topcoats give nail polish a shining outlook as well as make it last longer on nails because it prevents chipping. There are diverse kinds of topcoat; just pick the one that suits you.
Trick: to wear your manicure longer, apply a top coat every few days.
- Take care of your nail tools
Nail tools are potential breeding grounds for germs and infections hence must be disinfected between uses. Rub them with alcohol after washing them with soap and water. Also, you must avoid sharing your nail tools with others or using others’ nail tools as this could cause an easy transfer of infections.
- Avoid gel and acrylics
Gels and acrylics are indeed beautiful; who doesn’t like them? Unfortunately, they have adverse effects on nails. For example, chemicals in acrylic powders cause dents in nails, and gel’s drying mechanism harms the surrounding skin. Therefore, gels and acrylics should be avoided as much as possible; we are aware it may be impossible not to indulge in them every now and then.
Having learned 15 easy tips and tricks to care for your nails, it is important to know the signs given by your nails. That is, you must be able to differentiate between healthy nails and unhealthy nails in order to be able to take proper steps promptly.
Signs of healthy nails
- Pinkish-white coloration of the nail plate
- Existence of cuticle
- Even lengths of nails and the white tips
- Presence of lunula (also called half-moon) at the base of the nail
Signs of unhealthy nails
- Appearance of tiny spots on the nail: this could mean several things including too frequent painting of the nail or the biting of nails.
- Peeling or splitting: if your nails are splitting or peeling, it could be a sign of vitamin deficiency or dryness.
- Red, swollen skin around nails: this could be a result of removing cuticles or infections such as nail fungus which also has symptoms such as nail discoloration, thickening, and crumbling.
- Grooves: horizontal or vertical grooves may appear on the nails. Horizontal grooves are often due to stress, jamming fingers, or high fevers while vertical ridges could be a result of old age or underlying health issues.
- Spoon-shaped nails: when your nails are spoon-shaped, you may be lacking iron or have anemia.
There are many more signs but the ones mentioned above are the most prominent ones. If you pay proper attention to your nails, you can easily notice them.
Nail care is a very important part of general body care. A problem with nails can cause bigger problems or be an indication of bigger problems. Therefore, paying attention to the health of nails is very vital to our overall well being. All tips and tricks of nail care highlighted in this content are very simple and can be easily done at home. Commit yourself to these things and your nails will be as healthy and strong as they could be.