Strong, beautiful nails are an enhancement to any beauty and grooming regimen and can turn any look from good to great. While few people would turn down having strong, beautiful nails, it is not always easy to know how to get them and there are many nail no-nos that are an accepted part of beauty practices. In fact, health experts (Mayo Clinic and WebMD) insist that much of the information provided in general society are myths and are contrary to positive nail health. After all, nails are a part of the body and are as important to medical health as any other part of the body and the Mayo Clinic and WebMD are leading sources of reputable health information. Keep reading for truthful information about your nails and what experts agree are the best methods of getting and maintaining strong, healthy, beautiful nails.
The first step in maintaining good nail health is seeing your doctor on a regular basis and pointing out any changes you’ve noticed about your nails since your last appointment. The state of your fingernails can be an indicator of overall health and changes in nail health can be an indicator of undiscovered disease and other changes in health. A body that is healthy on the inside also tends to be more healthy on the outside and you may only need to look as far as your fingertips for indicators.
The next step to great nails is great hygiene. Keeping your nails clean, trimmed, filed, and moisturized can go a long way to helping your nails look their best. It is important to use clean, sharp nail tools such as nail clippers or manicure scissors when tending to your nails. It is also important to avoid immersing your nails in water for long periods of time or in chemicals without the use of gloves. Too much water and even small amounts of chemicals can prove disastrous for nail care.
Good habits (or the lack thereof) also play a part in the overall look of your nails. Practicing good habits like using hand lotion; eating a nutritional, well-balanced diet; and getting occasional manicures while avoiding bad habits like nail biting, picking at cuticles, pulling at hangnails, and peeling off old polish are essential to positive nail health. The better you are at practicing good habits and staying clear of negative habits, the better your nails will look.
There is an abundance of well-meaning advice that, when followed, harms the nails instead of helps them. Cutting the cuticles, using the nails as tools (to open envelopes or pry open boxes for instance), and use of nail hardeners are among them. Doing these things can actually weaken your nails or introduce harmful bacteria that can cause infection. While it can be fun to follow trends, doing so can be hazardous to your nails when mythical or misinformation is used.
Going for professional manicures can be a great way to take care of your nails, however it can lead to murder on your nails without proper knowledge of the facility, good nail practices, and proper knowledge of your manicurist. Manicures should always be performed in a licensed facility and completed by a licensed manicurist. The facility should engage in specified cleaning practices that include sterilizing equipment and frequent sanitizing of foot baths (after each customer). Also steer clear of manicurists who use acetone nail polish remover, rough Emory-style nail boards, use a back and forth motion to file nails, suggest full extensions as opposed to nail tips (extensions have been associated with an increase in nail fungus and there is less chance of infection with tips as opposed to full extensions), or use products containing MMA, a chemical that was banned due to its ability to cause serious nail damage. Having manicures more than one per week or using nail polish remover more than once per week is also ill-advised as they can cause nail damage if done more frequently. For manicures, as with all things, moderation is the key.
Healthy, lustrous, virtually unbreakable nails are possible for anyone willing to put forth the care and effort to make it happen. By following the above tips, even you can have natural nails that are enviable to the masses. Who knows… Strong nails and a coat of polish could be just the step you need for fostering a stronger, healthier you.