Wednesday, 29 January 2014 13:51

Tips for Healthy Nails

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Nails are more than a fashion statement – they reflect our overall health. A new video from the American Academy of Dermatology provides advice on how your clients can keep their nails looking their best.
According to board-certified dermatologist Phoebe Rich, M.D., F.A.A.D., nails should always be kept clean and dry and they should be cut straight across using sharp nail scissors or clippers.

The tips of the fingernails should be slightly rounded to provide the greatest amount of strength. Rich also advises that everybody should avoid biting their fingernails or removing their cuticles. “Not only do these actions damage the nail, they also increase the risk of infection.”

Below is a list of tips Rich shares on various ways to keep nails healthy:
  • Use an emery board to keep nails shaped and free of snags.
  • Fingernails should not be used as a tool (such in opening soda cans).
  • Trim toenails regularly. Keeping them short will minimize the risk of trauma and injury.
  • If toenails are thick and difficult to cut, soak feet in warm salt water for five to 10 minutes; mix one teaspoon of salt per pint of water.
  • Digging out ingrown toenails should be avoided, especially if they are infected and sore.
  • If a client is suffering from an ingrown toenail, they should see a doctor for treatment.
  • Wear shoes that fit properly. Also alternate which pair of shoes are worn daily.
  • Wear flip flops at the pool and in public showers.

This reduces the risk of infections caused by a fungus that can get in the toenail. If there are noticeable changes to a client’s nails or if they are experiencing swelling or pain, Rich advises that it could be a sign of a serious nail problem. She recommends that skin care professionals refer these clients to a doctor or dermatologist. Furthermore, clients with diabetes or poor circulation, who have nail problems and nail infections, need to also consult their doctor because these episodes could affect the client’s overall health. The tips listed above are demonstrated further in a video, “Tips for Healthy Nails,” on the American Academy of Dermatology’s website.

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