Nails both of toes and fingers are made of Keratin which is a protein. Fingernails grow fast - about 1.2 centimeters in a month. When a person is ill for some time, noticeable changes may be seen in the nails. The most common among these are the opaque white lines that are often seen on nails due to protein deficiency. Sometimes you see discolored nails, nails with ridges on them and brittle nails. There are some ways in which we damage our nails.
Damage Caused to Nails:
- We at times bite our nails or cuticles.
- When we wash clothes or dishes with harsh detergents it causes damage to both our nails and hands.
- At times we use our nails to pry off stubborn lids from tins and peel away a layer of nail or break a nail.
- We use our nails to remove dirt or wax or gum from surfaces.
Taking care of nails:
- Use an emery board rather than a file to shape nails, file along the same direction.
- Moisturize the nails along with the hands with a good moisturizing lotion as the Vitamin E and collagen is good for nails.
- Try not to use a nail polish remover very often as the chemicals and alcohol can make the nails brittle.
- Use a pair of gloves while gardening, or handling harsh detergents and cleaning agents.
- Always trim the toe nails in a straight line as cutting them in deep curves can result in split nails in the corners and ingrown nails and at times infected toes.
- For pretty nails we can dip the nails and toes in warm olive oil for 15-20 minutes 3 -4 times a week. The nails take on a healthy hue and are less brittle.
- Dipping the nails in a cup of warm water to which a spoonful of fresh lemon juice is added, brightens the nails and removes stains. A cotton ball dipped in lemon juice can be scrubbed on the nails and then gently washed with warm water.
- For strong and pretty nails, dip them in warm mustard oil for 15-20 minutes; gently massage the nail area and fingers as this improves blood circulation.
The skin at the base of the finger from where the nail grows out is the cuticle. Cuticles can dry out and start looking ragged and flaky.
A softener needs to be applied to this area of the nail. Then using an orange stick with a little cotton wool the cuticle is lightly shaped back. The dry skin is either carefully cut or massaged away.
Another method to do this is gently rubbing the cuticles with a soft towel soaked in warm soapy water, and the loosened white membrane is removed gently.
Very often the nails and toenails turn yellowish due to a fungal infection. The nails can turn brown and green too. Fungal infections affect the toenails more than finger nails.
Soak the feet or hands in a bowl with equal parts of water and apple cider. Dry feet thoroughly and apply some olive oil on the toes and cuticles. At times it may be months before a fungus infection really clears up.