Awww fingernails. We may love ‘em or hate ‘em, whether long, short, stubby, split, oval, square, pitted, spooned, flawed or perfect. But no matter our relationship with our nails, they are necessary appendages and they do tell us something. Adding the toenails, we have 20 digits to care for.
Have you ever lost a big toe nail by severely stubbing it, dropping something on it or even running a marathon? Running this long distance might be compared to stubbing a toe, where the nail is temporarily deprived of the blood flow, oxygen and the nutrition it needs to be healthy. Thankfully, it grows back.
A healthy goal to aim for are nails that are smooth, consistent in colour, with no grooves or ridges. Consider a whitish moon shape base a good sign. Nails possibly can tell us if we may be anemic, malnourished, have liver issues, hepatitis, heart problems, diabetes, psoriasis, lung disease, arthritis, fungal infection, anxiety, or even melanoma. But if the nail in its natural state is other than healthy, it may be a warning of something more serious. No one wishes to have yellow nails, blue tinted nails, ridged nails, white nails or spotted. Of course, nail art is another story and you create whatever look you want.
We wash, scrub, scour, sort, scrape, clean, dust, garden, paint and more and all too often without proper protection. Fingernails protect us but we are wise to protect them too. Wearing gloves for the more intense activity certainly helps.
Care about your nails
Feeding them well goes without saying. One’s diet affects the nails.That aside, here is some good advice that helps your nails to avoid ‘The Finicky’ and flourish toward ‘The Finesse’.
Keep them clean and dry: Use natural soaps, not harsh chemical based ones. Remember your hands are your tools and chemical laden shampoos and body washes affect your nails as much as your skin.
Clip. Cut. File: The choice may depend on length of nails and your own preferences. Avoid tearing off hangnails. It hurts and opens up the area for infection. BTW, if you couldn’t resist and the damage is done, apply a drop of emu oil.
Moisturize: Hands, feet and nails and cuticles. Use natural creams, butters and oils, NOT ones containing drying agents like formaldehyde.
Keep nails strong: Argan oil naturally helps to harden and strengthen the nails. A better choice than ‘nail hardener’ any day.
Stop biting your nails: Try, at least. Easier said than done because often we are unaware of what we are doing. One young teen I met solved his problem with our neem salve. As soon as he unknowingly put nail to teeth to chomp, the bitter taste of the neem alerted him immediately. Plus, his nails look better.
Allow nails to breathe: Nail polish is a lot of fun but beware. If you love Nail Art, opt for the 5 Free From* polishes. In between the fun artwork, clean well, apply argan or emu oil and let the nails breathe free.
No buffing: I know it feels smooth and looks shiny and may allow your nail polish to stay on longer but at what cost? Buffing wears away the nail’s surface, making the nails weaker and thinner.
Earth to Body Products that work wonders on nails
Sheamu or Shargan Butter: Massage the butter around the cuticle and nail surface.
Argan Oil: A couple of drops do all the nails
Neem Salve: If you have serious ‘nail issues’, massage all around the top of the finger or toes, in and around nail and cuticle.
*An informative article I wrote last year : Could It Be My Nail Polish?