Fingernails play an important role as they not only protect your fingers, they can also reveal any health problems you may have.
Many of us think our nails are healthy and strong however, ridges and dents do indicate poor condition. Healthy nails are smooth, without grooves or ridges and are free from spots or discolouration.
Fingernails are made up of laminated layers of protein called keratin. Keratin can also be found in your skin and hair.
There are several parts that make up your nail which include:
The Nail Plate – This is the part of your nail which is most visible and is the hard part you see when looking at your fingernails.
The Nail Folds – This is the skin that surrounds each of your nail plates.
The Nail Bed – This is the skin benefit your nail plate and it is the cells at the base of the nail bed that produce the nail plates.
The Cuticle – This is the tissue that overlaps your nail plate and protects the new keratin cells that grow from the nail bed.
The Lunula – This is the whitish half moon shape which is at the base of your nail, underneath your nail plate.
Fingernails grow from under your cuticles and as new cells grow, older cells become hard. These cells are pushed out towards your fingertips. Because nails only grow approximately 0.1 millimeter per day, it takes them about five to six months to regenerate fully.
Some nail conditions are harmless such as ridges and spots. These are usually a result of an injury to the nail plate or nail bed and in time, will grow out. Other nail conditions such as yellow discolouration can indicate disease. This could be respiratory conditions. If your nail detaches from the nail bed, this can indicate psoriasis or bacterial infection benefit the nail. Indentations across your nails usually appear when growth under your cuticle is interrupted from severe illness or an injury.
Following the simple techniques below can help to keep nails looking fabulous!
– Do not bite your nails or pick your cuticles as this will damage the nail bed and may cause infection.
– Protect your nails by wearing rubber gloves when using chemicals or soap and water.
– Maintain your nails by regularly trimming and cleaning under them. Use sharp manicure scissors and a good emery board to smooth the edges. If you break or tear your nail, never pull it off as this will rip the living tissue. Instead, always clip the nail off.
– Like your skin, nails need moisturizing regularly. Rub moisturizer into your nails and alwaysmoisturise after removing nail polish.
– Weak or brittle fingernails need to be kept short to toughen them. Trim brittle nails after soaking your hands in bath oil for approximately 15 minutes. Then moisturize.
– Apply a nail hardener and do not use nail polish remover more than twice a month. Instead, just touch up the polish. Avoid nail polish removers containing acetone as these can dry your nail out.
– Repair splits or tears with nail glue or clear nail polish.
It is easy to neglect your nails however, a little care can go a long way to keeping your fingernails in tip top condition.