Proper nail care transcends professional manicures and pedicures because well-maintained transcends nails are good for your health. Healthy nails are smooth, feature no discoloration, are strong, have full moisturized cuticles, and a shape matching the cuticle line.
Moreover, your nails are like your skin as both are prominent organs, meaning poorly maintained nails are noticeable and can dent your image or self-esteem. Second, poor nail care leaves them susceptible to infections. Fortunately, proper nail care is cost-effective and requires minimal effort, although consistency is vital. Therefore, below is a simple at-home guide to help you maintain perfect nails.
5 Ways to Keep Your Nails at Perfection:
Protect Your Nails
The nails may seem tricky given their solid appearance, but they are more vulnerable than you think. Fingernails are susceptible to damage caused by prolonged water exposure, ambient temperature changes, and contact with harsh chemicals. Moreover, they are also vulnerable to bacterial infections, so protecting your nails is key to maintaining perfect nails.
First, you can use high-quality nail products like a base coat and builder gel to minimize nail exposure to a harsh environment and keep them perfect. So, what is builder gel, and how does it keep your nails perfect?
Builder gel is a thick gel nail overlay with high density and self-leveling properties used to give nails length, build shape, protect against damage and allow nails to grow. Unlike rigid overlays like acrylics, the gel is flexible, safeguarding the growing nail from breakage. Second, builder gel is non-porous and chip-proof, meaning it protects your nails from water damage during activities like swimming.
According to one literature review, keratin, the primary structural protein in nails, absorbs up to 40% of its weight in water. However, the excess water absorption affects the nail bed, hampering its capacity to produce healthy nail cells (onychocytes), causing poor nail growth.
Second, the drenched nail bed becomes more susceptible to infections like paronychia and onycholysis because bacteria thrive in moisture. Third, the harsh chemicals in cleaning detergents and minerals in saltwater can compromise the nail bed causing the nails to grow brittle.
However, wearing protective rubber or silicone gloves while doing chores that include water and chemicals helps keep your nails perfect.
Moisturize Your Nails and Cuticles With Cuticle Oil/Cream
The cuticles are crucial for maintaining perfect nails because they serve a protective function, helping to keep pathogens away from the nail bed. However, they are susceptible to dehydration leading to hangnails that can expose the nail bed to bacteria. Moreover, the nails are porous; hence, they can become dehydrated by losing water to the environment.
One literature review states that water content plays a crucial role in keratinized tissue like human hair and nails. One such function is maintaining flexibility, meaning that dehydrated nails grow rigid and become brittle. However, you can keep your nails looking perfect by applying a coat of cuticle oil to lock in moisture while preventing excess water absorption.
Besides nail rejuvenation, cuticle oils/creams also contain nutrient-packed vegetable oils that soothe and nourish the cuticles, promoting healing. Also, the vegetable oils feature sulfur compounds that, once absorbed, relax blood vessels, improving blood flow to the nail root. Ample blood flow is essential for nail growth because it stimulates cell production, facilitating healthy keratin production.
Experts recommend using cuticle oil at least twice a day; avoid exposing your hands to water for at least two hours afterward, allowing the cuticle time to absorb the oils. Gently massage the oil/cream into the cuticle and skin surrounding the nail for best results.
Maintain Proper Nail Hygiene
Keeping your hands and fingernails clean is essential to nail health because it keeps infectious pathogens away. However, be gentle with hygiene products and avoid harsh soaps and pointy cleaning tools that can separate the nail plate from the skin, leading to infections. Instead, use mild soaps and a nail brush; hand sanitizers are also helpful when you cannot access water.
Second, trim your nails to a desirable size because long nails carry germs and potentially contribute to the spread of infection. Second, they also experience more shagging or become rough and catch threads.
Experts recommend trimming the nails straight from corner to corner to prevent them from adopting an abnormal shape as they grow. Lastly, disinfect your nail grooming tools after each use.
Make Dietary Adjustments to Support Nail Growth
Although nails are accessory organs that grow from deal cells, the live cells that facilitate keratin production require nutrients. Therefore, tweaking your diet to incorporate nutrients that spur healthy nail growth is essential to having perfect nails.
One of the essential nutrients for healthy nail growth is biotin (vitamin B7). According to one study, biotin supplementation caused a 25% thickness increase among participants with brittle nails. The nutrient is essential for protein synthesis, and keratin is a protein.
Besides biotin, other nutrients supporting healthy nail growth include B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin E, complete proteins, and antioxidants like iron and magnesium. The above list is not exhaustive; therefore, you can consult a dermatologist on the same.
Do Not Ignore Abnormal Nail Changes
Abnormal changes in nail physical characteristics like discoloration and clubbing (concave nails) may signify a bacterial or fungal infection. Therefore, consult a dermatologist to arrest the situation in case of such changes. Fortunately, most nail infections and conditions are curable.
Perfect nails are achievable and easy to maintain with minimal time and costs. Simply follow the guide above to keep your nails looking rejuvenated, clean, and perfectly healthy.