Fingernails are a bigger deal than most people let on because they will judge you based on the state of your nails. The first impression is the only impression, so taking care of your nails can be the difference between a warm and an underwhelming reception.
Second, proper nail care helps maintain nail health and prevents unsavory nail diseases and disorders that could affect your quality of life. According to one study, approximately 10% of the general population suffers from bacterial and fungal nail infections. However, you can avoid such conditions by incorporating the tips below into your nail care routine.
Get Professional Manicures
Manicures provide a fantastic way to take care of your nails and express yourself creatively through nail art and colors. The options are limitless, from classy and subtle nude nail polish colors to vibrant baby blue nails.
While professional manicures cost a pretty penny, they are worth every cent and offer value beyond beauty and convenience. On the one hand, DIY manicure kits allowing you to do manicures at home and save a few dollars are available. However, below are some reasons why professional manicures are a better option if you want to take good care of your nails.
First, professional manicures include treatments that rid your fingernails and cuticles of harmful bacteria and fungi that may invade your nail bed and cause nasty infections. Second, the cosmetologist offering the manicure has experience dealing with fingernails and can spot the onset of an infection. They facilitate timely interventions by recommending home care remedies to manage the condition, if it is manageable, or advising you to visit a dermatologist for further treatment.
Third, they offer professional hand massages that improve blood circulation to the nail bed and stimulate healthy nail growth. Non-nail-related benefits of a hand massage include strengthening hand muscles and inducing relaxation.
Fourth, cosmetologists stay updated with beauty trends, including clean nail products, and use gentle products for your nails. However, only seek professional manicure services from a licensed cosmetologist. Also, feel free to ask questions about product variations and formulations to ensure your nails get the care they deserve.
Minimize Contact With Water
Water has many benefits to the body, but too much is detrimental to your nails’ health. According to one expert review, your nails are 1000 times more porous than the skin. Therefore, they readily absorb most molecules they come into contact with, including water.
Excessive exposure to water causes the nail cells to absorb water and expand so much that the tip of the nail and the nail bed separate and leave the nail bed vulnerable. The bacteria and fungi your hands are exposed to during the day can make their way into the exposed nail bed and cause infections.
Second, clean water for showering or swimming contains minerals that, when absorbed, dry out and break down the nail bed, causing fragile, unhealthy nail growth.
Therefore, limit the amount of time your nails spend in water when possible. Also, avoid using water-based nail polishes because while they may have cleaner ingredients than some oil-based and solvent-based nail polish, they are 55% water.
Moisturize Your Nails
While excessive water exposure is bad for your nails, leaving your nails to dry out isn’t a good nail care practice either. A dried-out nail bed causes brittle nails that easily split and break to grow. Therefore, the best way to take care of your nails is to ensure that your nail bed maintains an optimum moisture content.
As earlier stated, your nails are highly porous and lose water to the environment or when exposed to moisture-stripping substances like hand wash and hand sanitizer.
However, you can restore your nail bed’s moisture content by using moisturizers like a hand balm each time you wash your hands. Moreover, make a habit of moisturizing your nails with cuticle oil or petroleum jelly every night before bed.
Keep Your Nails Clean
Unkempt nails full of dirt and grime are a haven for harmful bacteria and fungi that attack the nail bed, causing diseases. Therefore, always keep your nails clean and neat.
First, clean your nails with a nail brush each time you wash your hands to eliminate germs. Second. Second, trim your nails and keep them short to keep germs away. Third, regularly file your nails, and file them in one direction to avoid fraying. Also, keep your nail grooming tools like the nail brush and clippers clean.
Make Some Dietary Adjustments
Nutrition is an underrated nail care element, yet nutrient deficiency can cause nail dystrophy (discoloration and shape distortion). Therefore, eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals like zinc, vitamin D, vitamin B, and selenium. Also, consult a dermatologist about biotin and vitamin E supplementation for nail health.
Avoid harsh nail polish, soap, nail removers, detergents, and other chemicals because your nails’ porous nature means they absorb such chemicals. Second, avoid scraping nail polish from your nails because this causes nail cell disintegration.
Lastly, avoid exposing your nails to extreme temperatures as colt temperature limits circulation while high temperatures cause expansion, increasing porosity.
Proper nail care keeps your nails healthy and boosts confidence, especially in social and professional settings. Therefore, follow the tips above to take good care of your nails and keep them healthy.