IF SOMEONE asked you, May I have a look at your nails? how would you react? Would you gladly show your well-kept nails, or would you immediately hide your hands behind your back? You might have good reason to hide your nails. Maybe they just do not look nice, or perhaps you are a nail biter. Knowing more about the marvelous anatomy of our nails will help us to appreciate them better and can motivate us to take good care of them.
Right Care Makes Them Stronger
As part of our wonderful body, our nails should be properly cared for. If you have a serious nail disorder, you should see your doctor. As a matter of fact, at the tip of your fingers, you may have signs of some physical problem. Yes, it is claimed that some physical ailments can be determined by looking at your nails.
Would an extra intake of calcium or vitamins make nails stronger? In answering this question, Professor Bo Forslind, a researcher on the subject of nails at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, said: There is no evidence available to support that view. Analyses of the calcium content in normal nails show only traces of this element.
What definitely helps to keep your nails strong and
flexible, though, is water. As mentioned before, nails contain keratin. These
keratin strands need water to be flexible. Professor Forslind gives an example: Although a piece of your nail may be flexible when you first cut it, the same
nail clipping will be very brittle when it has dried overnight. Moisture will
keep your nails flexible and strong.
But where does this moisture come from?
The nail plate appears solid, but it is permeable. Moisture from the nail bed
moves upward through the nail plate to its surface, where it evaporates. What
can be done to prevent the nails from drying out and to keep your nails strong?
Professor Forslind says: Daily treatment with oil will be beneficial.
Caring for Their Growth and Beauty
Since the nail grows from the matrix, proper care
of this part of the nail is essential. Stimulating the matrix by regular
massaging with cream or oil can benefit the nail plate. In addition, putting a
drop of oil under the free edge of the nails can also be helpful, as it keeps
the nail from drying out.
The way you file or cut your nails can make them
strong or weak. It is recommended that you file your nails from the side toward
the middle. Keep in mind that filing the corners away will weaken the nail.
This will create a pointed nail, which is the weakest shape of all, since it
has no support on the sides. For strong short nails, it is recommended that you
let your nails grow straight out to about 1/16 inch at the sides and file a round shape that follows the contour of the fingertip.
|Never, say the experts, pick your nails with a sharp tool. This can cause damage to the hyponychium, the tissue underneath the free edge of the nail. This tissue forms a tight seal protecting the nail underneath. If this area is damaged, the nail might even separate from the nail bed and become infected. To clean under the nails, use a very soft brush.|
Found underneath the free edge of the nail, this tissue forms a watertight seal
that protects the nail bed from infection.