“Our nails are always on display. There is no way you can hide them so you better make sure they are well taken care of. And fortunately caring for your nails is an easy task,” says Bijay Kushwaha, manicurist at Zen Spa and Healing center in Thamel, Kathmandu. He further adds that it’s quite easy to check whether our nails are healthy or not. “All you need to do is to take a closer look at your nails,” he says.
Healthy nails lack pits and the surface is smooth to touch. They will also appear uniformly colored though sometimes you might see white lines or spots due to unknown injury. “This is completely normal and as the nails grow, it will be taken care of,” says Kushwaha adding that not all conditions are normal and if you notice discoloration or partition of the nails from the surrounding skin or frequent swelling and bleeding around the nails and cuticle, then you must consider visiting a doctor.
For now, Kushwaha suggests some easy ways in which you can keep your nails in their best possible form.
First up, make sure your nails are clean and dry
Clean nails not only look good but are also indicators of healthy habits. Keeping your nails clean prevents bacteria from growing under them. For this, pour a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice in a cup of regular water and dip your nails in the solution for a couple of minutes. Then thoroughly clean them with hot water. And, in the end, make sure you apply some cuticle cream or even regular moisturizer.
Basic care for strengthening your nails
If you are determined to take proper care of your nails, then letting them grow long shouldn’t be an issue. Just make sure you use a nailbrush to clean it every single day. “Those who have tender nails can dip them in lukewarm mustard or olive oil for around 10 to 15 minutes every alternate day. This will go a long way in strengthening it,” says Kushwaha adding that there are certain nail polishes that also help in strengthening nails. “I would also recommend you to use rubber gloves while doing household chores to prevent nail breakage,” he adds.
Along with strengthening them, you should also make sure your nails shine with health. For this, simply take a cotton ball dipped in fresh lemon and gently massage it all over your nails. “Over time, this will make your nails firm and radiant,” he says adding that you should also make it a point to use hand creams and nail buffers on a regular basis.
The right diet for healthy nails
Iron deficiency in the body can also lead to fragile nails whereas lack of vitamin C leads to the separation of skin near the cuticle area. Iron-rich food like soy products, beans, lentils, whole grain products, green spinach, nuts, and dry fruits like raisins help prevent fragile nails. On the other hand, citrus fruits such as lemon and orange will prevent the skin from separating in the cuticle region. “Include these items in your daily diet and see the difference,” says Kushwaha.
A little tip, never cut your cuticles
According to Kushwaha, cutting the cuticles is a big mistake when it comes to nail care. “Cuticles aren’t meant to be cut,” he says adding that you should instead push them back with the help of a plastic or wooden stick. If needed you can also use cuticle cutters or remover creams to get rid of it. Pulling and cutting it vigorously with fingertips or scissors will only worsen the situation, at times leading to fungal infections.
However, Kushwaha strongly recommends not leaving the nail surface as it is after shaping it with a nail cutter. Instead, use a nail file to smoothen the edges. “If you have long nails, remember it is very important to file them after trimming them,” he says.
Tools required for a basic manicure
For healthy nails, it is essential you regularly do some basic manicure at home and for that choosing, the right kit is important to avoid possible painful situations. Apart from nail cutter and nail file, a few tools that you must invest in to groom your nails are cuticle cutter and pushers, buffer, orangewood stick, and striping tapes for perfect designs of your nail polish.
And lastly, Kushwaha adds that thought your nails might look strong they are still sensitive so you must make sure you don’t use your nails to pick, wrench, or poke things. “This will damage your nails and might also cause serious infections,” he concludes.