Routine nail care is vital to your overall health and appearance. Nail health can indicate general wellness, while a weak or brittle nail can cause pain and put you at risk for infection and injury.
Nails help you look good, feel confident, and give your hands and feet a touch of sophistication. But, like your skin and hair, they also need care and attention to keep them looking their best.
The Importance of Nail Care
Your nails are made up of keratin. Your skin and hair also consist of keratin. And just like skin and hair, they can indicate your overall health if there’s a problem with your body’s ability to produce healthy cells or if you have an illness. For example, if you have a fatty liver or kidney disease, your fingernails may be discolored. This discoloration can indicate your liver isn’t functioning correctly. Or, if you have diabetes, your nails may be more brittle and thin, suggesting that you are at risk of developing a fungus infection.
Nail Care Tips
In addition, if you have poor hand or foot hygiene, you may notice your nails are getting dry and cracked. To prevent this, experts offer simple nail care tips like washing your hands and feet regularly with soap and warm water. While your nails are wet, try not to scrub them too roughly, as this can weaken the nail plate and expose it to infection, per Dr. Zehra Hyderi. Instead, gently clean the entire surface of your nails with a soft brush. Avoid using metal tools under your nails, as too much digging can cause the nail plate to separate from your skin (a condition called onycholysis), per Dr. Stephanie Gray. Don’t use nail clippers under your nails. It’s also best to avoid using emery boards that have gotten too scuffed up from repeated uses.
Your nails must also be trimmed regularly to protect them from damage and infections. For most people, this is about every two weeks, adjusting the trim frequency as needed after seeing how your nails respond. Follow these simple nail care tips to keep yourself healthy.
Nails are among the first things people notice when they see you, so take care of the essentials. If you don’t clean them regularly, it’s easy for dirt and grime to build up. Your nails may also harbor bacteria, which can cause an infection if removed incorrectly. This is especially true for longer nails, which, as more accessible, are easier to damage and are more likely to have micro-openings that allow pathogens to grow under them. To avoid this, use a hand sanitizer that contains fewer chemicals and is gentle on your nails. Then, wash your hands and feet with soap and water to remove any extra gunk.
You can also use a nail brush to remove debris from your nails, as long as you are careful not to tear or damage them. You can purchase a nail brush at any beauty supply store.
Another great way to remove grime from your nails is to soak them in a bowl of warm soapy water for about five minutes. This will help loosen the dirt and let you remove it with a brush or toothpick. Once the soil has been removed, it’s time to disinfect your nails and cuticles to kill any germs that have been lingering underneath. This can be done with a bar of antibacterial soap, vinegar, and water.
Taking the time to clean your nails and trim them regularly can help you prevent problems like hangnails, which can look unsightly and irritate the skin at the same time.
Moisturize Your Nails
When it comes to routine nail care, moisturizing your nails is essential. This is because your nails are more permeable to water than your skin, so they tend to become brittle and dry if they aren’t adequately hydrated. To prevent brittle nails, dermatologists recommend moisturizing your hands, feet, and cuticles several times daily to keep them soft. One of the best ways to moisturize your nails is to use a specific moisturizer for their needs. You can find many options, including gels, lotions, and creams. Some of these products contain vitamin B, zinc, and iron to strengthen and protect your nails from brittleness.
If you’re looking for a natural option, try Shea Butter Nail Moisturizer, a gentle formula that will help improve nail health while keeping them moisturized. This product is a must-have in any beauty enthusiast’s nail care kit.
Aside from using a good moisturizer in your nail care routine, consider adding some exfoliation. Exfoliation can be a great way to remove dead cells and help your moisturizer penetrate deeper. The trick is to choose a product with glycolic acid or urea–both humectants that help hold onto moisture.
Once you’ve applied a good moisturizer, give your nails a good buffing with a soft brush or a polishing buffer to get them shiny and smooth. This is especially helpful before a regular manicure.
Nail Care Routine
Routine nail care is a simple step but worth the time and effort. Depending on the damage, you should remove all polish for a week. It’s also essential to give your nails a rest.
Using a vitamin-based strengthener can also help protect your nails, and some manicurists even add protein to their treatment formulas. It’s also a good idea to trim your cuticles as they grow out to avoid hangnails. Finally, massage cuticle oil into your nails and cuticles to moisturize the area and promote healthy growth.
It’s also worth remembering that your nails can tell a doctor much about your health, so improving nail health with a nail care routine is essential. If you notice any changes in their appearance or have pain, swelling, or redness, visit a doctor.
Are you looking for comprehensive, routine nail care in Algonquin, IL? The Foot and Ankle Specialists of Illinois team understands the importance of a strong foundation. We provide high-quality care to get you back on your feet. Book an appointment online today to get an expert opinion.