Taking care of nails is deemed the easiest form of self care since they cover a very small percentage of our bodies. However, to some people it may seem like a daunting task especially when it comes to toe nails. Many people tend to neglect their feet and toe nails and that is really unacceptable. Nails are made out of hardened, fibrous form of scleroprotein called alpha keratin. On the fingertips, there exists an intricate network of nerves and a very thin, sensitive layer that is easily susceptible to injury. Therefore, nails provide protection to the thin layer. It is very important to keep our nails clean and healthy at all times. As mentioned earlier, nails are made up of keratin and underneath it we have keratin debris that attracts a lot of dirt and microbes. Your nails divulge more than you might think. When you have a nail disorder, people tend to notice very fast. Consequently, nails are key in maintaining hand hygiene more so during these critical times of the pandemic. There are so many ways to ensure nails and hands hygiene and below are a few.
Moisturize your nails
Nails grow from its matrix where it is connected to its cuticle and like any part of the skin, this matrix should be well moisturized. Forgetting to moisturize your nails dehydrates them making them defenseless against dryness and brittleness. As the nail grows, the old nail is pushed forward, hardened, and flattened to resemble the original curvature of the nail. Nail tips are in many cases dehydrated since they do not have pores to hold in moisture. Moisturizing using a good moisturizer and a cuticle oil may add on to the nail’s quality. It is therefore recommended that you wash your hands with lukewarm water and moisturize the nails, and hands in general. Well, If I may be asked, Vaseline and a good affordable cuticle oil serves this purpose very well.
Avoid biting your nails
For some people, biting of nails may indicate that they are nervous, stressed or just generally thinking. However, this causes a damage to the skin under the nails which is quite sensitive. Overly biting nails exposes the delicate skin underneath, that has a network of nerve endings, to microbes which cause infections. Worst case being that biting of nails that might have come into contact with harmful viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 that caused COVID 19.This also leaves the the nails looking very shoddy and unhygienic.
Use the right nail polish
I am not out here trying to bash out wearing of nail polish, I am simply stating that some of your favorite nail lacquer may contain some chemicals that may really dehydrate, thin and weaken your nails. Covering your nails is a protective measure that many should start employing since it saves the nail lots of damage. However, some of these nail polishes and gels are enriched with chemicals such as parabens, formaldehyde, sulfates and other toxins that have side effects on the nails once excessively exposed. Some people may argue out the these chemicals serve as preservatives but the presence of these chemicals in the polish even just to preserve does not prevent its carcinogenic effects. Therefore when choosing a nail lacquer, it is advised that you choose one that is paraben-free, formaldehyde-free, sulfate-free and, basically, toxin-free.
Be gentle on your nails
The dead cuticles around the nails may not be that appealing to look at but you should be really careful when trying to take them off. Cuticles should be taken off very gently since the active skin around them is normally very thin and sensitive. Minor scratches and pricks may cause injury which can turn into infections if not well taken care of.
Hygienic nails and hands have now become an essential part of our everyday life. We have come to know the importance of having clean hands and nails which was something that had been heavily neglected over the years. I hope this becomes a trend that forever stays with us as it is not only SARS-CoV-2 virus that is spread like that but also other treatable microbes.