The state of your nails can tell you a great deal about your health. They show warning signs of infection, serious disease, or malnutrition.
Thyroid diseases, heart valve infection, and congenital heart abnormalities have repercussions on your nails, causing conditions like Plummer’s nail, spoon nails, clubbing of nails, and splinter hemorrhages.
Follow the given tips to keep your nails looking healthy naturally.
1. Do not cut cuticles
The cuticle of the nail is a natural protection against bacterial and fungi. Cutting them will leave you exposed to infections of the nail bed, and possible permanent nail damage. Besides, cutting cuticles leaves them looking jagged, red, and swollen. This gives your nails a very ugly appearance.
If you’re grooming your nails yourself, use a cuticle softening cream to dissolve overgrown and dry cuticles. Next, push the cuticles back with a soft-tipped cuticle pusher.
2. Moisturize nail bed and cuticles
Use cuticle cream to moisturize the nail bed and cuticles every day in order to prevent cracking, peeling, chipping, and hangnails. Moisturizing the cuticles may not help nails grow longer, but they prevent breakage due to dryness.
When you apply body lotion or sunscreen, remember to massage in a bit on your cuticles as well. Massaging nails improves blood circulation and encourages the growth of nails. Your nails will thank you for the extra effort!
3. File nails correctly
Use a fine grit cushion file to shape your nails instead of a rough emery board. The use of emery boards tends to cause fissures and cracks that lead to nail breakage.
When using the file, do not saw back and forth to shape your nails. You should file in a single direction from the sides toward the center of the nail.
4. Do not expose nails to harsh chemicals
Repeated washing of hands with soap should be avoided to prevent nails from drying out. Use a good quality moisturizer after washing hands and massage some lotion into the cuticles as well.
When doing household work such as laundry or dish-washing, wear a pair of gloves to protect your nails. Exposure to the harsh chemicals in household cleaners damages nails.
5. Take biotin supplements
Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin and is a part of the B-vitamin family. It is said to benefit brittle nails. It is naturally found in various foods such as carrots, almonds, walnuts, chicken eggs, berries and fruits, vegetable, halibut, and milk. It is also available in a supplement form in pharmacies.
According to a report published in 2007 in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, brittle nail syndrome is reduced when 2.5 mg of biotin is taken every day in supplement form.
There are several, older studies that show an association between the intake of biotin and treatment of brittle nails. However, according to the National Institutes of Health, not enough scientific evidence is available to prove the degree of effectiveness of biotin on nail health.
The mechanism of action of biotin on brittle nails is unknown. You should consult a doctor before taking biotin supplements in order to prevent any harmful effects.