How to Care for your Nails

Are your nails healthy and strong? Do you often see dents and ridges or noticed any discoloration or unusual shape? If you have, then this may be a strong indication that you may be experiencing an underlying condition which requires your immediate attention. However most of these undesirable nail conditions can be easily avoided with the proper care of your fingernails. I run a Carnforth nail salon in Lancashire and would always recommend you visit a professional nail technician from time to time to get any help or professional advice.

How to know what's normal and what’s not.

Your fingernails are made up of coated layers of a protein substance known as keratin which grows from the area found at the base of the nail and beneath the cuticle. As new cells are formed, the older ones become thick and hard after which they are pushed outwards to the fingertips.

Fingernails which are healthy are generally smooth without having any grooves or dents; uniform in their color without showing any unusual color or spots. Occasionally a fingernail may experience a vertical ridge extending from the cuticle towards the tip of the nail; this is generally normal and should not be considered as harmful as vertical ridges seen in the nails are known for becoming more obvious in our nails as we grow older. Sometimes your nails may additionally develop a few white lines when subject to an injury, do not be alarmed as over time will fade with the growing of the nail.

Considering that not all conditions experienced should be seen as normal, it is important that you consult your local dermatologist or doctor if you notice any of the following:

  • A change in the original shape of your nail such as unusual curling.
  • Separation of your nail from the skin.
  • Dark streaks beneath the nail or any subsequent discoloration or unusual changes in color.
  • Bleeding in areas around the nail.
  • Unusual pain, redness or swelling.
  • Increasing thickness of the nail

 Caring for your Nails

Here are a few guidelines to keep your nails healthy and looking their best.

  • Always ensure your nails are dry and kept clean. Maintaining clean and dry nails prevents the buildup of fungi and and other forms of bacteria from growing under your nails. When washing dishes, or engaging your hands in any other activity involving the use of harsh substances always wear rubber gloves lined with cotton. Additionally try to avoid soaking yourself for extended periods in the bathtub.
  • Trim your nails regularly by using a pair of manicure scissors or clippers. When trimming your nails always trim straight across and then round the edges in a slight curve. You'll find it easier to trim and file your nails after having a bath when they're most soft.
  • Get in the habit of using a moisturizer for your nails. Massaging your hands with an aloe-based hand lotion and rubbing it into your nails and cuticles works great.
  • Avoid using your fingernails to poke, pry or pick at things.
  • If you're accustomed to biting your nails whenever nervous of concentrating don't. Biting you nails damages the nail bed and subsequently the nail itself additionally increasing the possibility of bacteria and fungi to enter the nail bed which can result in an infection.
  • Clip off hangnails. Most people have been generally found to pull off hangnails rather than clipping. This is never recommended. Pulling off hangnails has been known result in the removal of live tissue along with the hangnail risking the possibility of infection.

Never ignore the signs. If you've been experiencing an unfavorable nail condition that just doesn't seem to want to go away immediately consult your dermatologist or local physician for a proper diagnosis as most likely this seemingly simple problem is associated with a much more serious condition.