Most women, and men, like for their nails to be clean and well-manicured because it promotes a positive self-image. In fact, TheUnstitchd listed shabby nails as a top grooming mistake made by men.
Your body constantly creates new cells and the old ones are pushed out of the skin. Your fingernails are made up of a hardened protein called keratin and these old cells. Because of this, your nails can tell a story about your overall health based on their appearance. So if you’ve noticed that your nails are looking discolored, thicker, or are peeling more easily than usual, you might want to pay attention.
Luckily, there are easy at-home treatments for the majority of nail issues and there are quite a few great nail polishes on the market that help cure infections and strengthen nails. Here are 5 of the most common nails problems, what you can do about them, and which polishes you need to have in your tool kit for these situations.
#1. Discoloration Of The Nails
If you notice your nails changing color, don’t freak out, it’s most likely something harmless. Here are a few reasons your nails could be looking a little colorful.
White spots – White spots are usually temporary and go away on their own. They are small issues where you experience nail trauma like getting a nail caught in a door or slammed in a drawer. Time is the only answer here, and as long as the area isn’t painful or swollen, you can just wait it out. White spots can also be caused by biting or chewing on the nails.
Pale Yellow Tint – Pale yellowing of the nails can be stained from smoking or from leaving dark polish on for too long. To eliminate the sickly color, buff and brush the nails. You can also soak them in a mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Other natural remedies include white vinegar and lemon juice.
Darkening in color, deeper yellowing, discoloration that won’t go away – Darker discoloration or discoloration that won’t go away could be the sign of a fungal infection. While it sounds icky, a fungal infection can creep in from poor nail hygiene or from unclean nail tools at a salon. In addition to a natural remedy like tea tree oil, you can find some highly effective anti-fungal nail polishes. GiftWits.com has a helpful guide to help you choose.
According to the Mayo Clinic, you can prevent nail fungal infections by washing your hands often, avoiding or cleaning cuts, and not biting the nails. Also, keep them dry as excessive moisture can also cause bacteria to grow.
#2. Thick Nails
Thick nails, especially the toenails, can be a sign of fungal infection even if the color does not change. The thick toenails could also be discolored, start to split or crumble, and can even have a bad smell. You can treat toenail fungal infections with VapoRub, Epsom salt, or white vinegar. For polish, you can try Just For Toenails from My Foot Shop which is a special formula antifungal treatment. You wouldn’t want people looking at your yucky toes at the pool this summer instead of your glowing tan.
#3. Thinning Nails
Your nails are actually 10 times more absorbent than skin. This makes it easy for toxic chemicals to leech their way in and damage the nails. Constant exposure to chemicals, cleaning products, and even nail polish or acetone can cause thin nails.
To strengthen your nail make sure to give them a break in-between long periods of wearing acrylic nails or lots of layers of polish. You can also protect them by wearing gloves when cleaning or using chemicals of any kind. A well-known brand for a clear polish that strengthens the nails is Nail Envy and it is available at most drugstores and retail outlets.
#4. Dry, Brittle Nails That Peel or Split
Most of the time nails that split easily or peel are the result of nail trauma from everyday use. Using your nails like a tool, picking off polish, or applying acrylic nails can all damage the top layers of the nail. You can use the same polish from Nail Envy for these problems as you do for thin nails. Most of the time, peeling nails are nothing to worry about.
However, if the problem persists you might want to consult your primary care doctor to see if you have a vitamin deficiency, which according to Healthline, could also cause nails to be weak. If your diet lacks calcium, for example, this could be a reason your nails are weak.
#5. Nails With Ridges
Young, healthy nails are often smooth but there are two types of ridges that can appear on your nails. The most common nail ridges are vertical (running up and down) and come naturally with age. There isn’t much you can do because keeping your nails moisture to help fend off these ridges.
If you develop horizontal ridges (side to side) that could be an indication of a larger problem. Horizontal ridges can indicate malnutrition, psoriasis, or a thyroid condition. Check with your doctor if you notice these ridges. Some vitamin deficiencies also cause ridges such as lack of B-complex vitamins.
They do make nail polish called “ridge filler” that can help hide the ridges if you don’t like the way they look. This also creates a smooth surface if you want to put additional polish on top.
The Final Word On Nail Care
The three main factors that control nail health are hygiene, use, and nutrition, or health. A healthy diet paired with good nail care can keep your nails smooth, strong, and elegant looking. Wash and dry nails regularly, keep them trimmed, and eat a varied diet full of healthy foods. Make nail care part of your grooming routine and apply the easy tips and useful products mentioned in this article for clean, healthy-looking nails.