Have you ever wondered why you have fingernails and toenails? Do they really serve a purpose besides scratching, picking, or looking glamorous? The emphatic answer is yes, they do serve a very important purpose! Nails keep viruses and bacteria from getting into your body. Simply put, if you didn't have nails, you'd be sick a heck of a lot more than you are now.
How do we keep our nails healthy?
While any suspected, serious nail problem or infection should always be diagnosed and consulted with a dermatologist or physician, most nail care, maintenance, and everyday problem resolution with fingernails and toenails can usually be handled at home, naturally. With that in mind, the team here at Zamberg has compiled some helpful hints to keep your nails healthy all year round.
Respect your nails!
• Inspect your nails often, and look for any signs of pain, redness, or pus, as these will indicate infection. A common cause could be moisture trapped under the nail. When infection is suspected, we recommend treatment by a doctor sooner than later.
• Allergic reactions can sometime occur after exposure to polish, hardener, and other nail products. Along with fingers, a rash could appear at other parts of the body that came into contact with nails. Applying some calamine lotion to the affected area(s) could stop the reaction, and if it persists we recommend seeing a professional.
• Never use your nail as a tool! We know and agree that nails seem to be strong, but in reality they are fragile. Use a screwdriver to tighten a screw, and your full finger to open a can of soda.
• If your cuticles become sore, massage a quality moisturizing dream into the cuticles and gently push them back, removing any dead cuticle skin.
• Avoid cutting your nails too short, and refrain from cutting deep in the corners. These corner cuts can result in ingrown nails, which will cause pain and infection and likely need medical treatment.
• Don't bite or chew nails. We've even heard of extreme medical issues with long-time biters. If you do, stop. If you don't, thank you. Vitamins are important for healthy nails.
• Zinc – Thin brittle nails, poor growth, peeling, and white spots could be a sign of Zinc deficiency. Adding more beans, mushrooms, and/or whole grains into your diet can help.
• Vitamin A/Iron - “Fluted” or spoon-shaped nails could mean Vitamin A or Iron deficiency. More greens, carrots, pumpkins, melons, and sprouts in your diet should help.
• Biotin – A lack of B7, or Biotin, might cause your nails to become brittle. Try eating more strawberries, bananas, grapefruit, and watermelon.
• Folic Acid/Vitamin C – Red, inflamed hangnails might indicate your body lacks Folic Acid or Vitamin C. Bran, lentil, barley and mushrooms are high in Folic Acid. Citrus, like oranges or mandarines, and green vegetables will help increase your Vitamin C levels.
• Vitamin B – Deficiency in Vitamin B may cause your nails to become fragile with horizontal or vertical ridges. Adding carrots, walnuts, spinach, melons, and brown rice to your diet might help. Use Tools and Beauty Products Wisely
• Nail enamels and polish removers should be used sparingly. Polish removers tend to dry out nails, and enamels can cause nails to yellow. If either is noticed, it's best to take a break from polishes and chemicals for a bit. Yellow nails can improve when cleaned with a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution, or twisting the nail inside a half lemon. But be warned – the lemon trick might sting!
• Easily bendable, peeling nails could mean too much buffing and filing. Buffing should be minimal, and nail polish should never be chipped off. Use a nail polish remover instead.
• Be careful of artificial nails. The nature of artificial nail application can cause damage and destroy layers of your nails. If this happens, it can take a long time to repair. We recommend having a professional remove them for you, to reduce the chances of serious nail damage.
• Use rubber gloves when cleaning around the house or using chemicals. Nails are important, and repeated exposure to hot water and chemicals should be avoided.
• If your skin and nails appear to be dry, try using moisturizing cream or lotion regularly. Also, foods like eggs, whole grains, apples, grapes, onions, cucumbers, and salmon will help keep nails strong, shiny, and pliable.