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Don't Neglect Your Nails

We tend to often overlook our nails because it’s not something that we consciously use. If something was wrong with the nails, it usually displays no symptoms which is why every now and then, we should take a good look at our nails and watch out for unusual signs that may be an indication of something more serious.

Our nails are made of layers of coated protein called keratin. As the cells multiply, the nail is pushed out and forms the covering at the tips of our fingers. Normal, healthy nails are supposed to be semi-transparent and smooth, free of any bumps, cracks, ridges, grooves and spots. Sometimes, a harmless vertical line will appear on the nail, as well as some white spots that could be the result of injury. These usually go away on its own.

But there are some conditions that are not considered normal. These include the yellowing of the nails, separation of the nail from the skin bed, a raised bump that runs horizontally across the nail, nail that has become generally opaque or nails that are curling abnormally inward. Consult with your doctor if you see any of these signs.

To keep your nails healthy, consider some of these nail care tips:

Keep your fingernails cut short, near to the base of the finger. The nearer the nail is to the cuticle, the stronger it is. Keeping fingernails short keeps it from snagging at objects, risking breakage. It is also easier to keep the underside of the fingernails clean if the nails are shorter.

Don’t bite your nails. Nail biting creates uneven edges that can damage the nails. The underside of the fingers is also full of bacteria when it’s not cleaned properly, and this can be ingested during nail biting. Sometimes, nail biting is a manifestation of a psychological problem, so consult your doctor if you feel that you can’t stop.

Don’t cut your cuticles. Some manicurists have the habit of cutting the cuticle, but this is highly discouraged. Cutting your cuticles can cause bacteria to get underneath, causing infections. It would also be good to keep the cuticles moisturized to keep it from cracking.

Don’t pull out hangnails. Hangnails should be cut by a nail cutter, instead of being pulled out which can cause tissue or skin to be pulled out along with it.

Wear comfortable shoes that fit right. Do not wear shoes that are too tight because this might cause nails to grow abnormally. In many cases, people who regularly wear shoes that are too tight cause the nails to curl inward, digging into the skin.

Talk to your manicurist. It is hard to gauge how much pressure we are exerting on someone else’s nails, and whether it is already hurting the person we’re doing it to. The same applies to your manicurist, so feel free to give her feedback on how her style is affecting you, and what she could do to improve her methods.