How to take care of your nails
Written by Paul Musset, Doctor in Pharmacy | published on | updated on 05/02/2021
As extensions of the hands and feet, neat nails are a real beauty asset. Many beauty institutes have even made nail care their specialty by offering dedicated treatments. Why is it important to take care of them? How to strengthen them? What are the tricks to make your nails look better? Here are some useful beauty gestures to enjoy perfect nails.
The protective function of hand and toe nails
What are the roles of nails?
Nails are mainly composed of keratin and cover the ends of our hands and feet. They are attached to fingers and toes by the skin of the cuticles. If we go back to prehistoric times, nails were mainly used as defensive weapons. As they are hard and insensitive, they have gradually become useful in the manufacture of tools while reducing the risk of injury.
Nowadays, nails are also considered a beauty feature. For women, having long, pretty nails can act as a sign of femininity. Sporting beautiful nails also give men a neat image of themselves.
What are the signs of weak nails?
Nails are naturally hard and solid surfaces, yet they remain vulnerable and can sometimes show signs of poor health. In this case, several symptoms can indicate fragility. For instance, nails can prove brittle, soft, or tear fast.
How to account for brittle nails?
Several factors can cause weakened nails, among which:
- Specific deficiencies (sulfur, calcium, vitamin B).
To avoid fragile nails, it is important to take care of them. However, if you focus too much on your nails, they can become even more vulnerable. Thus, too frequent manicures or excessive use of nail polish can affect their health.
Hand and toe nails: the risks of poorly adapted care
A feast for bacteria
When nails are weakened, they can no longer properly fulfill their role as protective barriers. Indeed, we use our hands daily to manipulate external elements. Healthy nails help to block bacteria and microbes that may be around. On the other hand, if your nails are cut too short or gnawed, this can lead to the penetration of foreign bodies. The risks of developing an infection are then multiplied.
The complications triggered by damaged nails
The lack of care on a weakened nail or poor hygiene can lead to complications in the event of bacteria infiltration. These can include:
- Toenail fungus or onychomycosis: infection with a fungus that feeds on keratin;
- Ingrown toenail: inflammation of the skin on the periphery of the nail following penetration of the nail. Without proper care, an infection can develop;
- Panaris: an infection linked to the presence of a staph-like germ under the nail.
Nail beauty: how to take care of them?
Nail manicure: advice and tips
It is necessary to take care of your nails if you want to keep them pretty and healthy.
First, focus on equipment. To take great care of your nails, many accessories can indeed prove useful, such as special scissors, brushes or cuticle cutters. Find the full range of nail beauty accessories on Cocooncenter.
Here are some beauty tips and tricks to enjoy perfect nails:
- Take care of their cleanliness on a daily basis by removing the impurities stuck on the edges or under the upper part of the nail. To do so, you can use a small brush covered with bicarbonate diluted in water or soap.
- Take care of the cuticles, i.e. the skin found on the circumference of the nail in its lower part. When the fingers are too dry, bits of skin peel off and can cause pain when tearing off. To avoid this phenomenon, hydrate your nails by regularly applying a cream.
- File your brittle nails in a proper way. To avoid weakening the keratin further, it is best to file the nail gently starting from the edge towards the center, always in the same direction.
- Give your nails a bath of white vinegar: a simple and effective trick to make them shine.
Nails and manicure: avoid having nail polish on all the time
May it be for toe nails or hand nails, it is essential that you respect certain precautions to avoid damaging them. This is particularly true in terms of nail polish use. The latter does bring a real aesthetic touch to your toes and hands, yet it can damage your nails in the long run. Our advice: between two applications of varnish, let your nails breathe in the open air for a week; this will help maintaining their beauty.
How to strengthen fragile nails?
When the nails are soft, brittle, or when they show signs of weakness, there are several solutions to allow them to regain good health.
Natural manicure: home remedies
To improve the appearance of brittle nails, here are two natural solutions:
- Massage with olive oil: this vegetable oil helps strengthen the nail and protect it from external aggressions.
- Friction with lemon: rubbing your nails with the pulp of this citrus fruit allows for more shininess and whiteness. Lemon is also known for its antiseptic and anti-breakage qualities.
Getting help from food supplements
Nails that are too soft, brittle and that do not grow easily can sometimes be the consequence of a deficiency in sulfur or in vitamin B, which limits the production of keratin.
Dietary supplements can make up for these shortcomings and restore the strength and beauty of your nails. The supplements contain elements that are rich in vitamins and minerals, among which:
- Brewer's yeast. This natural probiotic enhances the synthesis of keratin thanks to its high content in vitamin B;
- Sulfur amino acids, such as cysteine or even methionine.
Nails may represent a tiny part of our anatomy yet taking care of them on a daily basis is essential to ensure their health and beauty.
The three key points to remember about nail care:
- Taking care of your nails is as useful on an aesthetic level as it is on a health level. Gnawed or neglected nails are particularly appealing to bacteria.
- Too soft or brittle nails can be a sign of a vitamin B deficiency; taking food supplements can help strengthen them.
- To preserve your nails, it is preferable not to put nail polish on all the time.