August 1, 2006

Nails reveal your health

Nails are more than just a pack of dead cells. Besides making your fingers look good, they also tell you more than you know about your health. Any nutritional deficiency or illness first manifests itself on your nails, just like your skin or hair. The most impeccable manicure in the world won’t make your nails look great if they’re not in good shape or good health to start with. Here is some nail know-how to keep the world at your fingertips. 
Brittle nails: Nails that chip, split or peel are usually due to iron, vitamin or calcium deficiency, overexposure to household cleansers and acetone or due to dehydration. In the winter, nails can become even more brittle. Drink plenty of water and moisturize your nails and cuticles daily with some oil. Try eating foods rich in calcium (like milk products and dark, leafy vegetables) and iron (dried fruits, spinach) etc. Never use nails for digging and prying and keep them filed and snag free. In some cases, kidney disease, liver problems and thyroid diseases may also produce brittle nails or splitting of the nail from the nail bed.

White spots: These are often caused by calcium, iron deficiency, insufficient zinc and the problem usually disappears when you add these to your diet.

Pitting: This is the presence of small depressions on the nail surface, often accompanied by a crumbling of the nail. In some cases, the nail becomes loose and even comes off. Psoriasis may cause pitting, splitting of the nail plate from the nail bed and chronic destruction of the nail plate. It requires immediate medical attention.
Weak nails: Nails that bend easily can be hereditary or because of a mineral deficiency, faulty filing or just everyday wear and tear. Use rubber plastic gloves for household chores and keep your hands out of hot water. Cuts and cracks in the nails may indicate a need for more liquids in the diet.
Yellowing: This could come when you wear nail polish continuously or using of substandard products. Let your nails breathe by letting them go polish-free for 2 days between manicures. Nails that are extremely yellow need a rest for 2 or 3 weeks. Use product from a reputed company only. Yellow nails that are pink at the base may be a sign of diabetes.

Allergies: Nail polish can cause allergic reaction, though not in the vicinity of the nail. Reddish spots that itch may appear on delicate skin areas like the eyelids or sides of the neck and face, which you’ve touched with your nails. If this happens, change your brand of polish immediately.

Nail-biting: This habit can be stopped by your will-power alone. Keep your nails glossily polished to lessen the temptation to nibble at them. Nail biting is also a sign of insecurity and nervousness.

Hang-nails: These appear frequently in the winter when your hands are dry. Don’t bite, pick or pull at them. Remove a hangnail as soon as you se it, to minimize pain and infection. Use a clean, sharp, small pair of scissors and clip close to the base. Wash your hands, apply antibiotic ointment, protect with a bandage, and then leave it alone. If pain increases or pus forms, see a doctor.
A manicure should be a part of your weekly routine. Refer to the post Manicure at home.

See also: Hand and Nail Care/ Pamper your feet/ Pedicure at home-easy steps / Baths / Body odor/ 5 golden rules of skin care/ Lemon as a beauty aid / Milk for health & beauty

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  1. Anonymous1:56 PM

    When I have a painful hangnail, I apply Vaseline and put a band aid over it and the next day it is fine.

  2. Anonymous5:16 PM

    Like hair, nails are usually healthiest in their natural state, and while nail polishes and cosmetic nails may improve your appearance, they tend to degrade nail health.

    Nail health is best if you avoiding repeated wetting and drying of the nails. Exposure to water, drying and stresses of daily wear and tear cause nails to become more brittle, and more prone to chipping, splitting and breaking. The keratin protein in nails is hardest at a slightly acid pH and many alkaline detergents, soaps and cleaners cause a loosening of the fibers of keratin proteins that form the nail.

    In recent years, salons say that more nail damage is caused by cosmetic/beautifying procedures. However, nail protection is still equally important.

    Cosmetics such as nail polishes and artificial nails generally degrade nail health. Give your nails a break from cosmetic polishes and artificial nails for one to three months per year to allow the nails to recover their health. Treatments such as nail strengtheners and hardeners can help to protect nails from breakage, but polish removers weaken nails. When applying coating of nail strengtheners and hardeners, apply them a subsequent coats over the previous treatments rather than removing the earlier coating.

    Cotton lined rubber gloves are best for nails and should be used when during household or job-related work that involves getting the hands wet.

  3. Anonymous3:48 PM

    You can also stimulate the growth of your nails by gently tapping them on hard surfaces.

  4. Swati9:38 AM

    Buff your nails to a shine and smooth out edges and ridges. Again, use a gentle touch when buffing, and work in one direction from cuticle to nail tip. Buffing improves circulation to the nail bed thereby encouraging growth. Don't over buff your nails, or they will become thin and brittle.

  5. Champa3:11 PM

    Taking care of the nails and applying nail polish is the first step which boosts beauty. First step is washing the hands by using unique hand creams containing aloe Vera that keeps the hands soft. Manicure must be done on the hands once in a week as it makes the skin of the hands soft and provide one to have healthy, beautiful and glowing nails. Apply cream or oil on the skin of the nail frequently. This will help in soothing the nail bed and growth of the nail. After this one can keep the lengths of the nails according to wish. Make use of a vibrant lacquer to rub the nails for the steep co loured look and put bright nail colors along with an elevated luster. To remove the nail paint, one must use a tranquil nail polish remover.

  6. Mohini5:02 PM

    Nails are one of the last parts of our body to receive blood and nutrients during times of illness. Therefore, nail appearance is a signal of vitamin or mineral deficiency or body changes.

  7. Kalindi5:13 PM

    Our nails are colorless and transparent. Healthy nails appear pink because of the abundance of blood vessels under the skin.

  8. Madhumati5:10 PM

    I've noticed that since i get more of my protein from nuts and a variety of greens, my nails are stronger. also, since switching from bleach-laden cleaners to seventh generation or home-made natural cleaners, my nails don't break as much as they used to. in fact, i'm actually often proud of how my hands look.

  9. Prachi10:33 AM

    Rub Lemon halves on your nails everyday if they have changed in color.

  10. unknown8:25 AM

    Nails grow faster in warm climates than in cold ones. Men have faster growing finger nails than women.

  11. Lakshminarayan8:28 AM

    Nails on your writing hand grow quicker than those on your other hand, because writing stimulates blood flow to the nail.


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