Published on June 28th, 2017 | by Jehan Raffiuddin
How To: Durable Nails
The phrase ‘tough as nails’ may not always apply to the nails at the tips of your fingers, especially if domestic drudgery is a daily inevitability in your life…
If your patience is frayed by the sight of your fraying nails, don’t despair. Understanding and remembering a few basic facts about these appendages will help you keep them long and strong, without so much as a split or crack.
- De-hydrate: Frequent contact with water is one of the chief causes of chipped nails. Excessive moisture weakens the keratin that holds your nail together, and makes them split. So if you’ve been spending hours frolicking in the pool, or if it’s been your week to do the laundry or dishes, expect trouble in the nails department. If household chores are a permanent reality in your life, buy a bunch of soft plastic gloves with cotton lining, and pull them on before you start cleaning. Enjoy long, languid soaks in the bathtub after a hard day’s work? Can’t blame you, but spare your nails. Don’t soak your hands: instead, use them to hold up a book or that glass of wine!
- High and dry: Your nails may look tough on the surface, but who doesn’t need some TLC? While frequent contact with water can soften nails, dryness can also make them split and break. So moisturise. Buy that tube of hand cream and do take some extra time to massage some into your cuticles and nails. A good time to pamper your talons is right before you hit the sack. Use a hand cream that is enriched with proteins like keratin and collagen, which bolster the nail’s strength. They should also contain occlusives like lanolin or mineral oil, which slow the rate of moisture loss. And of course, hemuctants are always welcome — look out for ingredients like glycerin, propylene glycol, urea, lactic acid, alpha hydroxy acids and phospholipids.
- File a while: Neglected nails aren’t just an eyesore: they can ‘snap’ back. Trim them regularly, preferably filing them into a neat rounded shape.
- Es-chew: We understand how hunger can affect human behaviour, but nails are not food. Nor will chomping on your nails make that scary movie any easier on the eyes: have popcorn instead.
- One ‘mani’ too many? Avoid using too much chemicals on your nails, especially if they are prone to splitting. Frequent professional manicures can actually do your nails more harm than good. Get your talons done not more than once a month. Use acetone-free nail polish, and don’t go overboard with the nail colour.
- Where’s that tool kit? We understand that you like being ‘hands on’ at home, but really, some things are best left to the tools. Use those screwdrivers and wrenches when you are fixing something, to spare your nails injury and trauma.
- Pop these pills: If your nails still keep breaking and splitting in spite of all this, your diet could be missing out on some key nutrients. Take zinc, calcium and vitamin B complex supplements.
- Tip of the iceberg? If this still doesn’t help, it might be time to fix an appointment with your general physician and get yourself screened for any underlying health problems like anaemia, thyroid disorders or rheumatoid arthritis that is causing your nails to weaken. If tests don’t show anything up, your GP may refer you to a dermatologist for some special therapy for your talons.
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