We all want to have pretty nails, right? Some indulge themselves with manicures and pedicures, while others try their hand at nail art with trendy polish colours. We’ve all spent time maintaining them, whether it be with a nail file, clippers, acrylics, or scissors.
So what exactly are our nails, these things on our hands and feet we decorate? We know that if maintained well, they can be a style statement. We know they grow at a consistent pace throughout our lives. What you probably didn’t know is that our nails are actually mostly made from the protein keratin.
Medical issues such as blood supply, medication, illness or infection can affect our nails, subjecting them to flaking, splitting, ridged lines, in-growth, discolouration or infection. There are many natural therapies, lifestyle habits and products suggested to us by the team at Blackmores to keep nails strong and healthy.
Flaking or splitting nails can be caused by a number of reasons, notably nail polish remover, frequent washing of hands (especially with detergents) or deficiencies in vital minerals. Ridged nails appear as lines across the nail plate and are likely to be caused by the ageing process. However, they can also be explained by conditions such as eczema, arthritis or, you guessed it, mineral deficiencies.
Silica is a mineral that’s widely considered to play a vital role in the protein synthesis of connective tissues in the bodies. Australian all-natural skincare brand Qsilica’s award-winning range includes their Strengthening Hand & Nail cream (50mL RRP$14.95), rich in silica to improve nail structure and mend flaking or peeling. Or you can take the Qsilica One-A-Day Formula Supplements (30 tablets RRP$34.95 / 90 tablets RRP$79.95) available at a variety of stockists listed online at www.qsilica.com.au.
Another mineral to look out for is Bioton, an important B vitamin that’s also referred to as vitamin H and is part of an important process in the intestinal tract that helps to keep nails healthy and strong. Bioton is a vital ingredient in Bioglan Daily Repair Hair, Skin & Nails, combined with silica, zinc and a blend of antioxidants. The formula is available in pharmacies nationwide at $26.95 RRP for 60 tablets (Website: www.bioglan.com.au).
The Blackmores Nails Hair and Skin is a nutrient formula that may reduce brittleness and increase nail thickness. As it’s name suggests, it can also give strength to hair and skin, which are linked to the connective tissue. The tablets are available in a 60 pack for $20.95 or a 120 pack for $37.95.
Blackmores Silica Compound is available at $13.45 as essential support to connective tissues such as cartilage, tendons, bones, skin and of course, nails. These tablets are to be taken three times a day to assist with calcium absorption and support collagen formation.
Finally, Blackmores Radiance is clinically proven to nourish the skin from the inside out and prevent ageing. This antioxidant-rich supplement assists in repairing damaged cells and tissues in 56-capsules at $66.95.
Karon McKendrick-Taylor, OPI Educator, shared her Top Five Things you need to do to keep your nails in tip top shape from the outside:
- Use a Good Hand Cream; use a hand cream that soaks into the skin as this will actually add moisture rather than lotions that just sit on the skin and are designed to prevent moisture loss. Try OPI’s Avoplex High Intensity Hand & Cuticle Lotion. We tend to use moisturise our hands more regularly in winter months, as hands and nails tend to dehydrate, not unlike our skin.
- A Good Cuticle Oil, this is important to ensure your nails are growing and to avoid cuticles becoming dry and ultimately splitting, we recommend Avoplex Replenish Cuticle Oil.
- Wear Gloves; if you are regularly at the sink washing up, it is a must that you wear the rubber gloves, this stops the nails from absorbing too much water and detergent which is drying on both the skin and nails, causing cracking and curling to the nail and ultimately brittle nails that have a tendency to spilt. If you like to indulge in a hot bath or spa, try to keep your out of the water.
- Wear Sunscreen; where sunscreen on your hands as well as your face and body. Even when you are in the car driving as this will prevent your hands from aging.
- Take Your Time; once a week perform a simple manicure or visit your local salon. Set aside some time to ensure that follow each process when performing your home manicure.
If your nails are in really bad shape, Karon suggests using a nail strengther to rejuvenate your nails but avoid using nail strengthener that contain formaldehyde on a daily basis as this will have the reverse effect on your nails, leaving them weaker and spilting. A great product from OPI is their Nail Envy Orignal Strengthener. It’s designed to be used as a treatment, the active ingredients increases keratin, whilst the hydrolysed wheat protein to prevent peeling, cracking and splitting. Nail Envy also contains Vitamin E which aids in strengthening and supporting the nail.
So there you have it, using these tips your nails will be in tip top shape in no-time.