Clip, file, polish and paint

Your nails are windows, of sorts, to your internal health. So, you have every reason to keep them prim, proper and healthy, urges Bharti Modi.

Some parts of the body are more equal than others. Or so it seems, in the case of most people. Hair, skin, eyes, lips, are the pampered lot. We don’t think twice before indulging them with the best of beauty products and treatments.

After all, they are assets to be maintained and cherished. But what about the oft-neglected nails? Don’t they count? Just because you get a manicure / pedicure done once in a while and dress them up in bright nail polish, doesn’t mean you care.

Not many people realise that caring for one’s nails is not just an exercise in vanity, but also an important aspect of health and wellbeing. Nails are windows to one’s health; they offer cues about the body’s internal workings.

Keeping nails clean and healthy is vital not only for beauty purposes, but also because nails can reveal the many problems one may be suffering from - be it in the lungs, liver or heart.

Here are some tips and suggestions to help ensure that your nails stay strong and pretty:

* In case your nails are sensitive, you can go in for nail hardener gels as they can help prevent breaking or chipping of your nails, by making them stronger. You can also use ayurvedic creams and gels that do not have any chemical substances in them.

*Never expose your nails to harsh chemicals. Always wear rubber gloves while doing dishes or cleaning, as the chemicals used for the purpose are very strong and can weaken your nails.

*Regular hand cream is not enough. In order to take good care of your nails,
apply nail creams and oils on your nails before hitting the sack. This will keep them from dehydrating quickly due to harsh weather conditions.

* Keep your nails free from dirt by washing your hands regularly.

*Avoid cutting cuticles while trimming your nails. Instead, apply cuticle-
removing gel or cream, and gently push your cuticle with the cuticle-removing stick towards the root of the nail.

*Soak hands in warm soapy water for two minutes, then dip a nail brush in the warm water and scrub your nails.

*Trim and file your fingernails regularly. Use sharp manicure scissors and clippers. Later, use moisturiser to soften your nails and reduce the dryness.

* When you use hand lotion, remember to rub it onto your fingernails and
cuticles, too.

*File your nails, regularly, as and when you trim them down. Do this by moving the file in one direction.

* Do not polish your nails too often, as it makes them weaker and thinner.

* Always use oil-based nail polish removers. Don’t use the ones that contain acetone, as they cause a lot of damage to your nails.

*Consume foods rich in calcium, vitamin A, phosphorous, zinc, folic acid, silica and vitamin C for ensuring healthy nails.

* Just like your skin, exposure to the sun can harm the texture of your nails, too. To avoid this, always go for foot and hand creams with UV protection in them.

*Drink ample amount of water to avoid dehydration, which can result in breaking of nails.

* Store the nail polish in the refrigerator to keep it smooth.

*Apply white iodine and castor oil in equal amounts and massage them onto the cuticles, once a week, to make them smooth.

* People with sweaty feet should use anti-fungal powder while working outdoors for long hours. It will prevent nail fungus infection.

* After a tiring day, you can soak your feet in warm water with Epsom salt and a drop of peppermint oil in it. This will remove dirt from the nails, thus preventing any kind of infections.

(The writer is technical director & beauty expert, Vedic Line)

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