Nails are common features on the human body, but very few people are aware of the enormous health importance of nails. Nails can simply be defined as the keratinous plate covering the tip of fingers and toes.
Keratin is a type of protein that forms the cells contained in the tissues that make up the nail. Nail health is directly proportional to the overall health of the body.
This is so because the nails being the very tip of the fingers, are the most used part of the body, along with the mouth, which is the gateway into the body.
Therefore when germs are trapped within the nails and get introduced to the body, it is putting the overall health of the body at risk.
There are various tips by which we can follow to maintain healthy nails, some of the tips are enumerated below:
10 Simple Health Tips for Healthy Nails
Below are ten basic ways you can keep your nails healthy.
1. Always keep the nails short and trimmed
Sickness-causing germs hides out in long nails from where they can get introduced into the body and wreak havoc.
Therefore, it is very important to keep the nails short and trimmed to prevent anything from hiding underneath the nails.
This is also very important for toenails as well to prevent injury and the trauma that arises from kicking the toenails against a hard substance.
The injury that occurs as a result of hitting a long nail against a hard substance can be excruciatingly painful. Keeping your nails clean and trim will also help you avoid nail fungus infection.
2. Do not bite off the nails
It’s a common practice amongst people to bite their nails or chop them off with their teeth.
However, this is an unhealthy practice that will damage the nails as well as the cuticle (the soft layer of skin around the nails). To maintain a healthy nail and a healthy body, it’s imperative to keep the teeth away from the nails.
3. Do not use the nails for any mechanical process
Some people have turned their nails to a small machine with which they turn screws, open cans, loose screws, etc. These are all negative practices that jeopardize the health of the nails.
This sort of practice can damage the nails permanently. To maintain a healthy nail, a person must refrain from using it for mechanical purposes and use the appropriate machines designed for such work.
4. Wear slippers in public baths and pools
When using a public bath or pool, there is a high chance of fungus entering the toenails to cause an infection. Hence, it is advised to use slippers or flip flops when using such places, so the toenails are visible and not covered.
Fungus infection in the nails can eat up the skin under the nails, causing a charred or damaged nail.
5. Change shoes often
Using the same shoe always is unhealthy for the toenails. This is so because when using a shoe, there is a high probability of sweat secretion inside the shoe. Without enough sunlight or air entering the shoe, it quickly becomes a den for fungus infections to grow.
You should also wear comfortable shoes, not tight fitting shoes, as it might lead to ingrown toenails. Ingrown toenail can cause pain and swelling. They are caused by wearing tight shoes or socks.
6. Maintain a natural nail as much as you can
Most people, especially women, have turned their nails to art exhibitions using various paints and coatings on the nails. Although they’re usually aesthetically pleasing, they have deep-rooted risks for the health of the nails.
One study even listed out the cosmetically induced nail disorders. Maintaining a natural nail with, at best, a simple nail polish will be a great way to keep the nails healthy.
7. Keep your hands very clean
Maintaining clean hands is crucial for healthy nails. Our hands are exposed to various bacteria and germs throughout the day, and if we don’t wash them properly, these harmful microorganisms can accumulate under our nails and cause infections.
To keep your hands clean, wash them frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating, after using the bathroom, and after touching any dirty surfaces.
Use a gentle soap that doesn’t dry out your skin, and avoid using hot water, which can strip your skin of its natural oils. Furthermore, carry a hand sanitizer with you when you’re on the go, and use it when you can’t wash your hands.
8. Take a biotin supplement or eat foods rich in biotin
Biotin is a type of B vitamin that plays a crucial role in nail health. It helps to strengthen the nails and prevent them from becoming brittle and weak.
If you’re not getting enough biotin from your diet, consider taking a biotin supplement. Most supplements contain between 2,500 and 10,000 micrograms of biotin per dose, and you can take them once a day with a meal.
Alternatively, you can incorporate biotin-rich foods into your diet, such as eggs, almonds, sweet potatoes, spinach, and salmon. These foods are not only rich in biotin but also other nutrients that are essential for healthy nails, such as vitamin E, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids.
9. Keep your fingernails dry
Keeping your fingernails dry and clean is essential for preventing the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi that can cause infections. Moisture can get trapped under your nails, making them a breeding ground for germs.
To prevent this, make sure to dry your hands thoroughly after washing them, and avoid prolonged exposure to water, such as when doing dishes or soaking in the tub.
10. Use an acetone-free nail polish remover
Using an acetone-free nail polish remover is a smart choice for maintaining healthy nails. Acetone is a harsh chemical that can dry out your nails and cuticles, making them brittle and prone to breakage.
On the other hand, acetone-free removers are gentler on your nails and won’t strip away their natural oils. They are also less likely to cause skin irritation or allergic reactions.
When choosing a nail polish remover, look for one that is labeled as “acetone-free” and contains moisturizing ingredients, such as glycerin or vitamin E.
Healthy nails are not just a matter of aesthetics; they are an indicator of our overall health and well-being. By following these simple health tips, you can maintain strong, clean, and beautiful nails for years to come.