As the winter progresses, your lips and hands are not the only part of your body to suffer from drying out. Most women generously apply lip balm over the winter months and probably use a little more hand cream than usual, but nails can also dry out and are often left to ‘steal’ what they can from your hand cream. Even a professional manicure may not give them enough of what they need.
Nails are mainly made of keratin, which is a hardened form of protein also found in the skin and hair. Can you imagine what would happen to your hair if you didn’t use a conditioner? And what would happen to your face without your face cream? Our nails need the same care, yet our manicure routines are often sadly lacking.
Nails are in fact a lot more permeable than the skin and so absorb what’s good for them and what’s bad for them very easily. Nails that have dried out crack and split easily and may also develop ridges. Ridges are like wrinkles, they come with age, but just as a good skin care routine can help slow down the process, so and the good manicure habits can keep your nails looking healthier and younger.
For most people a manicure means nail polish or gel. Don’t scream in horror, but they really don’t do your nails any good. Plan for a break in their use so that your nails can be exposed to the air and get the love and care they need.
If you get the OK from your G.P., You could consider taking a Biotin supplement to speed repair along if your nails are seriously in need. Or you could increase your intake of foods that are naturally rich in Biotin such as Swiss chard, carrots, almonds, walnuts and eggs.
Experts recommend using a hand cream that contains Hyaluronic Acid. HA is present in every cell in the human body and does wonders for the eyes, skin, hair and nails. Creams containing Shea butter and glycerin are also helpful. If you’re cost conscious or prefer to use natural products for your manicure, then consider using olive oil (what isn’t it good for?!), coconut oil or vitamin E instead. You can use any home- made mask that you would use for moisturizing and conditioning your hair.
The important thing is to take your time and massage the oil or cream gently into the nails and cuticles for a few minutes. After your nails have absorbed the oil or cream and the cuticles have softened, once a week use a cuticle tool to push them back. Cuticles are particularly at risk of drying out, so focus especially on them for a few minutes during each manicure. If your nails are already dry, then add these manicure tips into your daily routine. If you’re working on prevention, then spending time on your nails a couple of times a week should be enough to keep them healthy.