Nails can be a useful tool in confirming the diagnosis of a disease, especially if it is a nutritional deficiency. For example, the presence of white spots on the nails (micro-tears) can be a sign of a deficiency of zinc, iron and vitamins A and B6.
From something as anecdotal as a poor nutritional intake to congenital heart disease (such as clubbing or clubbing), nails can largely speak of our general health and neatness when it comes to sanitizing our hands and body.
Therefore, nails are a mirror of routine and personal care . Here we show you 8 tips to take care of the health of the nails, because in addition to keeping their aesthetics intact, you will avoid the proliferation of infections in the area. Do not miss them.
What are nails?
Nails can be defined as convex structures in the skin located in the distal regions of the fingers, which are composed of dead cells with a high content of keratin. Despite its apparently simple appearance, a nail contains a very complex anatomical structure: nail plate, matrix, lunule, nail bed and paronychium are some of its parts, although we will not stop at each one of them.
The nail is part of the functional unit of touch and also acts as an excellent permeable layer (although it may not seem like it, the rate of evaporation of water on the nails is the same as in the palm of the hand). In addition to their physiological characteristics, human beings have made nails an aesthetic complement, since the paintings and ornaments on them are less and less characteristic of the gender and are spread in groups regardless of age, sex, ethnicity or condition.
What are the best nail care?
For all the reasons previously described, we can affirm that the state of the nails is an indication of health, well-being, identity and personal neatness. Next, we present the 8 most important tips to take care of the health of your nails.
1. Keep nails dry and clean
Without a doubt, this is the most important tip that you will find on the list. Onychomycosis is a fairly common presenting disease, which is caused mostly by dermatophytic fungi (which feed on keratin). High temperatures and humidity are a perfect breeding ground for these pathogens and, therefore, it is very common to contract them in summer in environments such as swimming pools and spas.
Normally, onychomycosis are resolved quickly with the appropriate treatment, but they can cause considerable discomfort and aesthetic imbalances. To avoid its appearance, always make sure that your fingernails (and especially those of the feet) are clean and dry . In summer, avoid wearing footwear that requires socks, as sweating greatly favors the growth of fungal agents.
2. Use moisturizer
As we have said in previous lines, the nails perspire the same rate of water as the palms of the hands. If you have dry hands, your nails will have dry, even if you don’t realize it. Nail creams are made up of healing and moisturizing substances such as allantoin, aloe extracts, hyaluronic acid and panthenol and many other protective agents. These ointments will give your nails a plump and shiny appearance.
3. Apply revitalizers and nail hardeners
We all are bothered by white spots that appear on the nails, right? You will be surprised to know that they are not stains in themselves, but micro-tears due to injuries that, surely, you have not even known about. When a nail is weak, it is more likely to suffer micro-injuries even though the mechanical stimulus is not relevant.
To avoid this annoying sign, there are revitalizing creams and oils and nail hardeners. Typical nail hardeners consist of water-soluble astringent salts (aluminum and zinc, among others). The treatment is simple: place the nails in a bowl of warm water with the dissolved salts (1-5%) for about 5-10 minutes. This will favor the hardening of the body or nail plate, what we normally know as a “nail”.
4. Take biotin supplements
Biotin, also known as vitamin H or B7, is a heat-stable vitaminic acid, soluble in alcohol and water, and highly oxidizable, which plays a decisive role in the metabolism of sugars, fats, amino acids and purines. It falls into the category of essential nutrients, since we cannot synthesize them ourselves at the metabolic level.
Biotin supplements are involved in the controversy, because, although biotin contributes to the regeneration of fast-growing tissues (such as nails and hair), it has not yet been proven that its consumption can fully combat alopecia and hair loss. brittle nails. The reality is that having a deficiency of this vitamin is extremely complex, as it is present in many foods. Consult with your trusted doctor if you want to try this treatment.
5. Don’t bite your nails
Onychophagia is defined as the habit of biting the nails. As a consequence, small loose skin forms on them, accompanied by redness and inflammation. Up to 45% of the world’s adolescents practice this habit, as it is completely linked to stress, anxiety, insecurity and fear of an uncertain future.
Stopping the onychophagia is essential to take care of the health of the nails. By biting them, you are causing damage to the tissue and at the same time moistening it: this becomes an ideal entry point for bacteria and fungi. In addition, you can be putting many pathogens in your mouth with this simple act.
To further complicate matters, various studies are exploring the idea that severe onychophagia may be correlated with temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Surprisingly enough, biting your nails too much could lead to damage to the structures of the jaw.
6. Treat your cuticles
Cuticles form at the base of the nail, where the skin becomes cornified by accumulating dead cells. There are certain liquid preparations (and emulsions or creams with alkaline hydroxides) that eliminate dry skin that can accumulate on the cuticles. In addition, there are other solutions that allow you to obtain your desired consistency.
Keeping the nail cuticle in good condition is essential, as it protects it from possible external infections. Ask at your trusted pharmacy or parapharmacy, as there they will give you solutions to hydrate, tone and remove excess dead skin from the cuticle, without having to resort to homemade methods (which will surely go wrong).
7. Don’t take off your hangnails
How many times have we pulled the skins of the nail until the edges were raw! He who is free from sin, let him cast the first stone. This is a big mistake because, by ripping off a hangnail (in addition to hurting you), you expose vulnerable living tissue. The proper thing to do is always cut hangnails delicately with a nail clipper, never pulling them.
8. Control how often you paint your nails
Nail painting is an established aesthetic value, but if it is done every day, it can weaken its structure. Enamel is a non-biological compound, so putting it on top of the nail prevents the nail from perspiring properly with the medium. We are not saying that this is going to be catastrophic for the structure itself, but it never hurts to emphasize that it is better to intersperse the days of painting.
On the other hand, nail polish removers contain highly drying compounds, such as acetone, ethyl acetate or amyl acetate. To counteract this “dry” effect, fatty oils can be added to the nail after applying the nail polish remover to hydrate it again. It is best to always use nail polish removers that do not contain acetone in their composition, as it is a too aggressive compound.
As you may have seen, maintaining healthy nails is easy and simple, as long as you are clear about what you are trying to achieve. Keep your hands and feet dry, prevent moisture from accumulating in your socks / gloves (especially in hot weather), sanitize your nails daily and avoid having any type of oral contact with them. This should be enough to prevent infection.
If you are looking for your nails to look lustrous, moisturizing creams, saline revitalizers and oral vitamin tablets such as Biotin can help you.