Although your nails aren’t actually living skin, taking good care of them (along with your cuticles) should be a regular part of your skincare regime, especially if you suffer from weak and brittle nails. Showing your hands and feet a little TLC can go a long way when it comes to preventing them from splitting, flaking and ripping, which can be extremely painful - not to mention unsightly.
Luckily for you, in today’s post, we’re sharing some of our top tips on nail and cuticle care to give you strong, healthy nails in no time.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet
If your nails are looking a little lacklustre lately, or they’re prone to cracking or breaking off, it could be a sign that you need to make some changes to your diet. Eating a well-balanced diet that provides your body with all the essential oils, nutrients, vitamins and minerals it needs is a great place to start on the road to improving nail condition - and your health in general.
Some symptoms, such as pale nail colouring, brittle nails or white flecks within the nail, can be indications of a deficiency in minerals such as iron, calcium or zinc - so be sure to include a healthy amount of core nutrients to boost your immune system. Nail-friendly foods like eggs, salmon and tuna are packed with protein and will stimulate nail growth, while green vegetables like broccoli, asparagus and spinach, whole grains and nuts boast high levels of minerals and vitamins to strengthen nails and help you to absorb proteins.
Even if you don’t have dry, cracked nails, keeping your nails and cuticles well hydrated is essential for maintaining strong nails. If you don’t, you may find your dry nails become brittle and plagued by ragged cuticles that can lead to painful hangnails, splits and sores. Moisturising daily, however, will help you to keep them looking and feeling soft and supple.
When it comes to choosing your nail moisturiser, protective hand creams can suffice - but for severely dry nails, it’s beneficial to deeply moisturise them with a nutritious nail and cuticle oil. Regularly moisturised nails will soon feel revitalised and healthier.
Keep them in good shape
As our nails continually grow, it’s essential that we trim them back or file them down to keep them looking tidy and, more importantly, to reduce the risk of snagging - but you’ll need to make sure you’re using the right tools and techniques to avoid causing further stress on your nails.
When it comes to trimming nails, soak them in water for a few minutes to soften, before trimming away excess growth using nail scissors or clippers - being careful not to trim them too close to the skin. Once fully dry, remove rough edges with a fine-grit nail file, always filing in a single direction to gently smooth and shape the nail.
Care for cuticles
The cuticle forms as a thin layer of dead skin at the base of the nail that, together with the eponychium, works to form a protective seal between the nail and the skin above. With dry nails, cuticles can become ragged and dry - causing the skin to tear, and leaving the surrounding area sore and open to bacteria.
To reduce the chances of this happening, simply treat cuticles with a nourishing cuticle oil twice a day to soften and restore moisture. While manicurists often push cuticles back to make the nail look longer, we’d advise leaving that task to the professionals to avoid damaging the delicate skin at the base of the nail.
Experiment with natural ingredients
While there are numerous nail care products available, many of these can contain chemicals with the potential to cause further irritation to nails and cuticles - particularly for those with nail psoriasis. In place of artificial ingredients, why not experiment with natural ingredients to find the best cuticle oil for your needs? Not only do natural remedies tend to be kinder on your nails, but they’ll also give you peace of mind that you know exactly what you’re putting on your skin.
Taking care of your nails doesn’t have to be a nightmare, and we hope our nail and cuticle care handbook helps you to achieve strong, healthy nails that you can show off with pride.