Beauty & Fashion
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HOW TO KEEP YOUR NAILS HEALTHY

“You never get a second chance to make a positive first impression.”

The timeless saying applies to both our personal and professional relationships. From meeting a blind date to attending a professional seminar, we do not get a second chance to shine. Then, we have job interviews when making a positive first impression often boils down to the question, “Where do you want to be in five years?”

When you think about making a positive first impression, you might think about clothes, makeup, and hairstyle. Another way to make a positive first impression that’s sometimes overlooked is to maintain strong and healthy nails.

However, as Dr. D’Anne M. Kleinsmith says, overdoing it with cleaning and maintaining nails can do more damage than good.

Let’s look at six cost and time-effective ways to keep your nails healthy.

Trimming is in, Long Talons are Out

“The fashion trend is to have neat, more natural-looking, shorter nails and not the long talons of the past,” notes Kleinsmith. The days of reaching out and scratching someone have disappeared in the rearview fashion mirror. Well-trimmed nails help you avoid snagging or worse, breaking your nails at the worst possible time. How often you should trim your nails depends on the growth rate of your nails. Simply use a fine file to smooth over the edges of your nails to keep them strong and healthy.

You are What You Eat

Eating a healthy diet of different types of certain foods can boost the health of your nails. Some of the foods that keep nails healthy and strong include eggs, nuts, healthy oils, and dark, leafy greens. You do not have to bust the food budget to grow and maintain healthy nails. You might not need to take any dietary supplements, but if you do, Dr. Kleinsmith recommends the supplement biotin, which is a B vitamin.

Balanced Cleaning with a Nail Brush

The aggressive cleaning of your nails with a long, pointy nail cleaning tool increases the risk of a nail infection, whether you clean your nails at home or have them done during a manicure. “Women themselves or the manicurist are trying so diligently to clean under the nail that they end up with a kind of a gap between the nail and the nail bed,” Kleinsmith stated

Instead of giving bacteria more room to cause an infection, scrub your nails gently by using an old-school nail brush.

Opt for a Dip Powder Manicure

Women usually get one of three types of manicures: a gel polish, a dip powder, or an acrylic manicure. If you are lucky, a gel polish can last a couple of weeks and the polish is relatively easy to remove. However, gel polishes require a UV light to cure and the process for applying gel polishes uses harsh chemicals that can leave nails exposed to fungal and bacterial infections. An acrylic manicure creates nails that rarely crack or break, but removing the foul-smelling chemicals can harm your nails.

A dip powder manicure gives you the benefits of a gel polish and an acrylic manicure, without weakening your nails or exposing them to bacterial or fungal infections. You can get up to five weeks of quality wear out of a dip powder manicure and you do not need to place your hands under harmful UV light rays. Choose a high end line of dip powders, such as SNS which is one of the original dip powders that has a focus on nail health. SNS Nails have no toxic chemicals and include nutrients and vitamins in their dip powder system that nourish the nails to ensure long-lasting health.

Keep the Cuticles Moist

As a layer of clear skin located at the bottom of a nail, a cuticle acts like caulk does when it is applied around a bathtub or kitchen sink. If you or your manicurist cuts the cuticles too much, the result can be damage to both the nails and cuticles. Dr. Kleinsmith suggests using moisturizer on the cuticles and not cutting them at all. If you cut the cuticles too short, you might start to see redness and experience the pain that is associated with an infection

Wash Dishes Using Gloves

Frequently placing your hands in hot, soapy dishwater can weaken the strongest nails. This is especially true if you wash dishes daily without wearing gloves. Consistently exposing your hands to hot, soapy water eventually dries out your nails and the rest of the skin on your hands. One of the most important protective care tips for nails involves wearing dishwashing safe plastic gloves. The key is to avoid exposing your nails to hot water because as Dr, Kleinsmith notes, swimmers that compete in cool water typically have strong and healthy nails.

When You Notice an Infection

Smoothing jagged nail edges and wrapping a broken nail in a bandage work well, but sometimes, a self-help procedure to fix damaged nails can trigger an infection. Take quick action if you see and/or feel the signs of an infection on or around a nail. Bacterial infections typically turn red, as well as swell and produce pain. Fungal infections of the nails show the sign of red, puffy irritated skin around the nail bed.

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