Did you know that the germs found under your nails could potentially make you sick?! When maintaining natural nails it is important to keep them feeling and looking their best. This can happen when keeping 5 important things in mind: Hygiene, hydration, disinfection, protection, and diet. With these five things in mind you can have really strong healthy nails. Healthy nails should be free of spots or discoloration, smooth without ridges, pits, or grooves, and cuticles should be hydrated and free of tears or hangnails. Mild ridging is normal, as well as an occasional white spot from an injury or two. Ridging will deepen with age and the white spots will grow out on their own. Signs of unhealthy nails can be as drastic as bleeding, swelling, and damage to the skin underneath the nail. Should you have any of these go to the doctor. The slightly unhealthy things in this article are more about splitting or tearing hangnails and damaged cuticles, thinning and flaking of the nails, as well as nails that break easily. With the 5 categories listed below you’ll have the best chance to strengthen & lengthen your natural nails. While keeping them painted and fun.
Hygiene is more than just keeping your hands washed. Absolutely, wash those hands thoroughly with anti-bacterial soap several times a day. The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends scrubbing your hands with soap for 20 seconds per wash to ensure your hands and nails are free from bacteria. When soap and water aren't readily available, hand-sanitizer can be a great option for keeping your nails sanitary. Make sure to clean dirt and residue out from underneath your nails using something flexible but sturdy with rounded edges (metal pointy tools can cause the nail to separate from the nail bed and can be painful or worse be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.) Keep nails trimmed into a shape you like that doesn’t snag easily on things you’re working with. A good nail shape is to have rounded edges as the nails are less likely to break and more likely to keep their thickness as long as possible as you grow them out. And leave your cuticles alone, they’re a part of your nail bed for a reason and the healthier and more intact they are the longer your nail can grow and the more length your nail bed can support. Keeping these simple hygiene tricks as apart of your daily practice can easily keep your nails as strong and long as you’d like them to be.
Hydration is all about the lotions and potions and oils. Having a good lightweight hand moisturizer in your purse is the best thing for this. Washing your hands can dry them out causing hangnails and dried out cuticles. Placing a small dab of lotion on your hands after every hand wash will help reduce the chances of that happening. Any lotion, potion, or oil that is Vitamin E infused will do. Then, for extra measure, 2-3 times a week you can add a concentrated hydration oil like Vitamin E oil, coconut oil, Jojoba oil, almond oil (any of the beauty oils really) to your cuticles and nail bed specifically and let it soak in for a good 30 minutes to half an hour. This will keep your nail beds healthy and strong.
Disinfection is about any of the tools that you use around your nails. This is as important as nail hygiene. Make sure any tools, powders, or nail polish you are using haven’t been infected in any way. Tools can be boiled or washed with disinfectant soaps. Reduce the amount of sharing dip powders or nail polish with strangers as well as friends. You never know what someone else has picked up on their nails that they might be immune to that you are not. It always best to take a little extra precaution when in doubt.
Protection for your nails is essential. Wear gloves when doing the dishes. Make sure to protect your nails from nail polish staining by using a good base coat before your polish. Then add a top coat to your polish to further protect from chipping and damage. Make sure to use healthier polish options with fewer damaging chemicals. Some chemicals to stay away from are Acetone, DBP, & Formaldehyde as these products have a tendency to damage and dehydrate nails. Try for products that are healthy, lightweight, and conscientious of the environment.
Last but not least your diet can affect your nails. Your nails will generally be as strong as what you were eating a couple of months ago so this is a long-term care solution for healthier stronger nails. Nails are made of a protein called Keratin. So ingesting a healthy amount of protein definitely helps. Fruits give you antioxidants which help the body repair its cells naturally for longer including your nails and hair. Leafy greens provide you with iron, folate, and calcium which can make nails thicker and stronger. So stick to healthier food options that are great sources of Iron, protein, and the vital vitamins that your body needs. The healthier every cell in your body is, the healthier and stronger your nails will be. These tips should keep your nails looking their best while still allowing you to have fun with nail polishes and nail art. Check out amazing chemical free, vegan nail polish choices at 786Cosmetics.
And be sure to share with us on Instagram. What’s your favorite go to Nail Care tip to keep your nails healthy and strong?