Regular care means a routine of maintenance and not using your nails as a tool. You can either get a manicure monthly, or follow a regular routine for nail care. Even with a regular manicure, things can happen to damage your nails daily. With a few simple tips and tricks, you can keep your nails looking healthy, and even sized so you'll be proud to show them off.
What's Healthy versus What's Not Healthy Nails
Nails are mostly protein called 'keratin'. The keratin grows from under the cuticle around the base of the nail. The keratin is composed of cells that generate new ones as old ones are pushed out.
Some facts about healthy versus unhealthy nails include:
- Healthy nails are smooth and uniform in color. Don't worry about fine vertical ridges or white lines or spots that may occasionally appear. These may be due to injury and eventually grow out with the nail.
- If the shape of your nail changes or the entire nail becomes dark or separates, this could be a sign of abnormal or unhealthy nails that you should consult a doctor about.
- Dry nails can result in brittle nails. Moisturizing nails and nail cuticle daily is important for healthy nails.
- Fingernails and toenails help prevent injury to your fingers and toes. When injured, bruising and infection can result. Keeping your nails short lowers the risk of nail injury.
- Soaking nails in warm saltwater for 5 to 10 minutes, makes them easier to trim.
- Fungal infection on toenails or fingernails are hard to treat, and often return after treatment. Treatment can include prescription medication, including terbinafine (Lamisil), fluconazole (Diflucan) and itraconazole (Sporanox) taken for up to 6 months. Topical medications such as ciclopirox (Penlac) is an antifungal lacquer helps with mild to moderate nail fungus. Home remedies reported to be helpful include thymol oil applied daily, while clipping any infected nails. This may take up to a year before the infection clears up. Thymol oil can be applied by itself or through such products as Vicks VapoRub, which includes thymol as one of its ingredients. Soaking your nails in vinegar has been used as another form of fungal cure. Studies suggest soaking nails daily or two to three times per week for 15 to 20 minutes in a mixture of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts warm water. Rinse and pat dry.
- Supplements for nails containing biotin have been shown through some studies to help build nail thickness and hardness.
- Emu oil helps soften nail cuticle. Keeping your nail bed moisturized can helps prevent cracks.
- Always use non-toxic nail polish. Many contain harmful ingredients such as pthalates and formaldehyde.
- Correct any problems, such as a chip immediately, before it breaks the whole nail.
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