Did you know that your nails are a good measure of your internal health? Caring for both fingers and feet and seeing a dermatologist when needed, can be a huge help when it comes to improving fingernail health, and protecting your overall health as well.
So, to care for your nails the safe way…
1. Keep your nails clean and dry and use an antifungal foot powder each day.
2. Don’t bite your nails… as this spreads infectious organisms between your mouth and fingers. This can also do damage to the skin around the nail, allowing bacteria to get inside.
3. Cut your nails (fingers and toes) straight across, slightly rounded at the center. This keeps nails stronger and avoids ingrown nails.
4. Wear shoes that fit and don’t try to self-treat an ingrown toenail.
5. Be aware of the sterilization procedures at your nail salon. Be sure that tools and surfaces are properly sterilized and technicians follow proper hand washing techniques between clients. Fungal infections are a risk; especially for younger salon patrons as nail salon parties are popular with preteen and teen girls.
6. Consider shellac rather than traditional nail polishes, as this is similar to dental sealants. You can get these products in many colors, have glitter and foil added to create a cool, durable manicure. What’s more shellac appears to help brittle nails forming by strengthening the nail, encouraging hydration. No wonder this option is quickly replacing nail polish in many salons.
7. If you have itching, burning or another allergic type reaction to any nail product, see a dermatologist at once, and discontinue using this product.
8. Take biotin supplements daily. This B vitamin supplement will help your nails get stronger.
9. Wear gloves for work in the yard, in water and doing regular household chores. Gloves protect your nails from being softened by water, or being exposed to harsh cleaners and brisk scrubbing.
10. Don’t let anyone buff or sand down the nail surface, as this thins (weakens) the nail bed. And don’t let anyone cut or push back the cuticles, as this allows organisms like fungi or bacteria an entry into the body.
How fast your nails grow depends on many things – your age, the time of year (summer is faster than winter), how active you are and your genetics. Nails grow faster on your fingers than on your toes, especially on your dominant hand. Some of the things that impact how fast your nails grow are medications, trauma to the nails, chronic illness or disease, fever, nutritional deficiencies or other diseases. Nail problems, like many things, are more common as you get older.
Here are some things to watch for in terms of keeping your nails healthy and looking their best…
– Redness, swelling and pain can signal an infection or some other serious medical problem.
– A dark mark or mole underneath a nail, often mistaken as an injury, can suggest melanoma, have a dermatologist take a look at this area as soon as you can.
– Lines, ripples and pitting on the nail could be indicative of psoriasis or another type of inflammatory condition.
– Blueness in nails can signal lung infections, diabetes or another type of circulatory problem.
– Split, yellowing and brittle nails could signal a fungal infection or possible thyroid disease.
– Nails with white nailbeds and a darker circle around the whiteness might suggest liver disease.
Experts suggest that if something doesn’t look right with your fingernail health, you should see a doctor. This will either get you the treatment you need right away, or set your mind at rest that nothing is wrong.