Just looking at your fingernails will tell a lot of things. Are they healthy, white and strong? These are some of the questions you might ask if you care about your nails. Apart from that, there might be instances which at times can get worrisome. Commonly, people will face the problem of visible ridges or discolouration. Seeking proper medical treatment is important in that regard. As the symptoms might indicate the presence of a severe illness.
This article is all you need to get a detailed insight into
maintaining healthy nails. It will discuss some of the Do’s and Don’ts. At the same time, guiding on some of the natural remedies which one can easily undertake.
What are fingernails?
It is important to thoroughly understand the composition of the fingernails. A healthy person will have nails being composed of layers of a protein known as keratin. Keratin starts growing from the cuticle base.
Dermatologists have been able to classify healthy fingernails through some distinct features. In normal circumstances, they will appear to be of smooth texture without the presence of grooves. The colour would be even throughout the surface leaving no visible discoloured patches.
A situation which most people will come across in their lifetime would be the problem of ridges. Vertical ridges are harmless but give an unusual appearance to the nails. They are white partially-transparent lines starting from the cubicle to the tip of the nail. The visibility of these lines tends to intensify with age. It is important to not confuse them with the ridges caused due to injury. As in that case, the condition the lines tend to wither off with time.
When to consult a dermatologist?
In most scenarios consulting a dermatologist might not be required. As for some nail related conditions, the problem tends to get better with time. You may amend some changes in your diet or execute some other remedies as a suitable cure. However, in other cases, the problem may be an indicator of an underlying medical illness.
The following table highlights the changes to the fingernails and what that might signify.
|Pale Nails||Anemia, Liver disease, Heart Failure|
|Yellow Nails||Thyroid Disease, Diabetes. One other common cause for yellow nails could be a fungal infection. If no treatment is sought, the nail may weaken and crumble|
|Blue Nails||Any part of your body turning blue can be serious. As it will indicate the lack of oxygen to that certain area. People with emphysema will often face the problem of nail discolouration.|
|Cracks in the Nails||Most likely to be caused by a prevailing fungal infection|
|Visible Dark Lines||If you happen to see visible dark coloured lines, then medical treatment needs to be considered. In most cases, such a situation is often linked with a dangerous form of skin cancer.|
|Gnawed Nails||Gnawed nails may themselves not be the symptom of some underlying dangerous disease. Rather, having gnawed nails is a habit associated with people suffering from anxiety. Anxiety is what propels people to bite their nails when faced with some nervous situation.|
Changes to look for
As have been emphasized earlier, changes in fingernail may at times be the indicator of a serious situation. Which makes it an important responsibility for people to seek a medical solution as quickly as possible. Some of the changes to look out for are mentioned in the following list.
- Particularly the visible dark lines beneath the skin.
- Changes in the texture or shape. Gnawed nails may be the consequence of impulsive nail-biting caused by anxiety. In that case, it is pertinent to consult a psychiatrist. Medical professionals have also linked gnawed nails with a compulsive eating disorder.
- Impeded Growth. That can indicate malnutrition. As a result, certain amendments need to be implemented for a healthier growth.
Remedies for Healthy Nails
You may come across a long list of measures which one can follow for stronger, white nails. They may range from natural remedies to ingestion of certain synthetic medications. Regardless, it is important to look out for certain changes (mentioned above) occurring, which can be a later cause of concern.
The following techniques can be executed as viable alternatives to manicure. They are cheap, easy to carry out and effective. Interestingly, some dermatologists would recommend against aggressive and rigorous cleaning. Doing so may put the nails at a higher risk of bacterial infections.
Including Vitamin B in the Diet
Following a routine of physical exercise backed with a healthy diet can ensure stronger nails. Medical scientists in their recent findings have found a positive relationship between healthier nails and vitamin B. According to some dermatologists, Biotin, a vitamin B supplement can provide with the needed advantage. It provides the nail with extra strength and helps them to grow properly.
The cubicle is the base from where your fingernail initiates its growth. It is important to keep this area moisturized for a healthy, smoother growth of the nail. Having dry cubicles will make them prone to serious infections. These infections may cause redness and swelling. Moisturizing, as a result, may be able to overcome the problem.
Trimming the nails
A lot of research studies have found out the advantages that trimming can effectively yield. If one trims his/her nail regularly, giving a natural appearance then that can maintain a healthy growth. In case, when the nail snags and breaks, the surface opens itself to a number of microbe invasions. This situation commonly occurring for people with longer nails. Thereby, to avoid ridges and sustain a healthy growth, trim your nails on every alternate day. The break between the first and second trim depends upon how quickly the nail is able to grow.
Using a nail brush
One of the common mistakes, dermatologists have identified is the use of pointy tools to clean nail beds. By using such instruments, one tends to keep a large gap between the nail and the nail bed. This exposed area allows the entry of bacterial microbes causing further damage. As a suitable alternate, nail brush should be used. Brushing in such a way that there remains no space between the nail and the nail bed.
Wearing Dish Gloves
For women who spend considerable time in the kitchen washing dishes, this remedy is advised. Usually, when the utensils are washed with hot water, the steam leaves the cubicle region dry. This drying out process makes the nail vulnerable to bacterial/fungus infection. At the same time stunting the growth and making the nail further weak. Wearing dish gloves when washing can hence effectively overcome the problem.
Use of nail polish
Medical scientists have debunked the myth that all nail polishes cause problems for the nail. Yet certain things need to be kept in mind. Firstly, the use of polish should be carried out periodically in intervals as opposed to regular usage. Secondly, acetone- free nail polish is recommended over normal ones.