By Joyce Chua from THREAD SG
With nails, just about anything goes. Nail art has become as big a fixture at fashion shows as hair and makeup. But before we set all the latest designs on our nails, how can we ensure our nails are in the right condition to take on the trends?
Yes, I’m talking about nail health. Your nails can reveal a lot about your overall health, and how much care you put into them. Too much exposure to chemicals, glue, or lack of moisture and nutrients essential for nail growth can lead to weak, brittle nails.
So before you prettify your nails with this season’s nail polish shade, take note of these tips to ensure strong, healthy nails:
1. Keep Nails Moisturised
Your nail become brittle when they are too dry, but also when nails are too soft. Therefore, it’s best to apply light moisturiser to your nails and cuticles daily to lock in water, and avoid harsh chemicals that can strip nails of moisture.
These chemicals, including cleaning products and acidic foods such as lemons and oranges. When working or cleaning, wear vinyl gloves for wet work and cotton gloves for dry work to protect your skin and nails from damage.
2. Eat Right
Fragile nails can be caused by iron deficiency. Foods abundant in iron include trim red meats, fish, whole grains, soy products, beans, lentils, green spinach, asparagus, poultry, nuts, egg yolks, and dried fruits like raisins, apricots and dates.
The vitamin biotin may also help to build nail thickness and hardness while reducing the chances of splitting. Boost your biotin intake by eating foods rich in vitamin B, such as salmon, carrots, and bananas.
Calcium also helps to build stronger nails, so apart from incorporating dairy products in your diet, go for beetroots — which contain calcium and vitamin D — to support healthy nail growth.
3. Out, Damn Spot
Stained nails? Trying squeezing a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice into a cup of tap water, then dip all your fingernails or toenails in it for a few minutes. Then clean them thoroughly with hot water and apply moisturiser to get clean, spotless nails.
4. Oil Your Digits
Mustard oil can help to boost blood circulation to your fingers and nails. Dip all your fingernails and toenails into lukewarm mustard oil for eight to ten minutes, then rub each of them slowly and evenly to ensure regular blood circulation. Try this routine every day to strength your nails.
To strengthen weak, brittle nails, try dipping them in warm olive oil for 15 to 20 minutes every other day. It also helps to immerse your nails in warm water for two to four minutes before rubbing a slice of lemon on them.
Alternatively, you can squeeze a whole lemon into a bowl and then dip your nails in it for 20 minutes to them to absorb the vitamin C required for stronger nails. To finish, rinse with warm water and apply moisturiser.
5. Listen to What Your Nails Are Telling You
The state of your nails can often reflect a underlying problem in your overall health. Here are a few common signs to look out for:
White nails: liver condition
Half pink/half white nails: kidney disease
Yellowing and thickening of nails, and/or slowed growth rate: lung disease
Pale nail beds: anemia
Yellowish nails with a slight blush at the base: diabetes
Strong, healthy nails aren’t difficult to attain. Pay more attention to your digits, and your nails will thank you for it. And when you’ve got clean, fresh canvas for nail art, go nuts!