As a woman you may place a great deal of importance on how your nails look and spend a substantial amount of time and money on beautifying them. Beautiful finger nails are an expression of your personality that can help create a positive impression about you. But did you know that your nails are also indicators of your general health and well-being? Many conditions and nutritional deficiencies manifest themselves on the nails and may forewarn you about internal health problems that you may probably not be aware of.
Structure of nail:
Your fingernails protect and enhance sensations in your fingertips. Nails grow through out life; however their rate of growth slows down with age and poor circulation. Toenails grow slower than fingernails.
The following lines will help you understand the basic structure of your nails :
• Your nail root is beneath the skin behind the fingernail and extends into the finger.
• Your nail bed is part of the nail matrix called the sterile matrix. It contains the blood vessels, nerves, and melanin-producing Cells.
• The nail bed is important for normal nail growth and your nail may split if there is any damage to the nail bed.
• Your nail plate is the actual fingernail and the blood vessels underneath give the pink color to the nail.
• The cuticle fuses the skin of the finger and the nail plate together and provides a waterproof barrier.
• The perionychium is the skin that overlies the nail plate on its sides. This is the usual site of nail infections.
• The hyponychium is the junction between the nail plate and the fingertip and provides waterproof barrier.
What is your nail type?
Just as you have skin types and hair types, you also have nail types. Generally nails are of five types. Here are some tips to know your nail type, which will also help you to decide the type of treatment required in case you suffer from nail-related problems.
• Dry nails appear dull and lack luster. They require rehydration. In order to treat such nails apply vitamin E oil, wear a
moisturizing base coat and prevent frequent change of soaps and/or handwash.
• Brittle nails lack moisture and flexibility and tend to break easily. If your nails do not bend when you gently press the sides, you may have brittle nails. Use of almond oil may help in the treatment of brittle nails.
• Damaged nails flake and split, mainly due to severe dehydration. Consult your doctor for the right treatment.
• Soft nails easily bend even at the slightest touch and rarely grow past the fingertip. Rubbing of essential oils on the nails may help in treating them. Wear hand gloves while washing and apply hand cream every time you wash hands.
• Normal nails appear pink, shiny and grow easily. Maintain your nails by avoiding strong detergents and by regularly moisturizing them with hand cream.
Nails indicate your health
Nails not only get damaged by general nail infections but also by other disease conditions of your body. Sometimes changes in the shape, color and texture of the nails may indicate internal health problems.
Common nail conditions
• White spots are usually caused by minor trauma such as the nail being knocked.
• Pitting is when a nail starts to look a little like a sewing thimble. It can also occur as a result of certain illnesses.
• Nail thickening can be caused due to fungal nail infections and skin conditions such as Psoriasis.
• Separation of nail from the underlying tissue (nail bed)
• Vertical splitting is usually caused by old age, keeping your hands for a longer time in water and by certain other causes.
• Black nail is caused by acute trauma, usually jamming a finger or stubbing a toe.
• Subungual haematoma is caused due to bruises under the nails. Sometimes your nail may fall off because of the damage but
it usually grows back.
• Ridging usually appears in middle age and is simply a sign of ageing.
• Hang nail is usually self-inflicted. Biting or picking at your nails leaves ragged cuticle edges that catch on to clothing and may lead
• Fungal nail infection spreads from the tip or side of the nail backwards, causing it to become yellow-white in color, thickened
Diet for your nails
A good diet is a must for healthy nails. Diet should include foods such as yoghurt, milk, fish, eggs, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables and whole cereals. Good calcium, vitamin B12, minerals such as manganese, selenium and zinc intake is important for healthy nails. Drink plenty of water and fresh fruit juices. Diet rich in vitamins A, E & biotin makes nails stronger. Vitamin A can be found in green, yellow and orange vegetables, while good sources of vitamin E include nuts and leafy green vegetables. Biotin is a B vitamin found in eggs, almonds, soybeans and sweet potatoes.
Steps to beautiful nails :
– Remove old nail polish with acetone-free nail-polish remover.
– File your nails in one direction only.
– Soak your fingers in a pampering nail soak.
– Apply a cuticle cream.
– Apply a nail cream or nail oil and massage each nail and cuticle to improve circulation and growth, and relieve dryness.
– Apply a good hand cream to your hands to help prevent premature aging.
– Get rid of any excess oil by cleaning your nails with an acetone-free nail-polish remover.
– Apply a base coat.
– Apply one coat of nail polish.
– Wait until completely dry and apply a second coat.
– Apply a topcoat once the second coat is completely dry.
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Information Courtesy “http://www.indianwomenshealth.com/”