Fingernails: keep them healthy and strong

Fingernails: Keep them healthy and strong
You may not realize it, but your fingernails reveal a lot about your general health. Take a look. Are your nails strong and healthy looking? Or do you see ridges or areas of unusual color or shape? Many less-than-desirable nail conditions can be avoided through proper care, but some actually indicate an illness that requires attention.
Your nails grow from the area under your cuticle. As new cells grow, older cells become hard and compacted and arre eventually pushed out toward your fingertips. Nails grow at an average of one-tenth of an inch a month. The nails grow faster on your dominant hand, and they grow more in summer than in winter. Nails are also permeable, which means they let in liquids that come in contact with them. To keep your nails healthy and looking their best, treat them gently and moisturize them regularly.

Protect your nails. Wear cotton-lined rubber gloves when using soap and water for prrolonged periods or when using harsh chemicals. Gloves help protect your nails when washing dishes, for example. Avoid abusing your nails. Don’t use them as tools to pick, poke or pry things. Don’t bite your nails or pick at your cu

uticles. These types of habits can damage the nail bed. Even a minor cut alongside your nail can allow bacteria or fungi to enter and cause an infection. Because your nails grow slowly, an injured nail retains signs of an injury for several months. Moisturize your nails frequently. When you’re moisturizing your hands, rub the lotion into your nails as well. If you rely on manicures to make your nails look good, keep a few things in mind. Don’t have your cuticle removed — it can lead to nail infection. Also, check to be sure that your nail technician properly sterilizes all tools used during your manicure. Using unsterilized tools may transmit viral infections, such as hepatitis B or warts. Weak fiingernails can be a challenge to toughen up. If you have weak fingernails, the following tips can help you protect them, making your nails less likely to split or break. Keep your nails short, square-shaped and slightly rounded on top. Apply a nail hardener, but avoid products containing toluene sulfonamide or formaldehyde. These chemicals can cause redness or irritate the skin. Don’t use nail polish remover more than twice a month. Instead, touch up the polish. When you do need a
remover, avoid those that use acetone, which dries nails.
Nail fungal infection
Fungi are microscopic parasites that don’t need sunlight to survive. Some have beneficial uses, while others cause illness and infection.
Nail fungal infections are typically caused by a fungus that belongs to a group of fungi called dermatophytes. All of these microscopic organisms live in warm, moist environments, such as swimming pools and showers. They can invade your skin through tiny invisible cuts or through a small separation between your nail and nail bed. They cause problems only if your nails are continually exposed to warmth and moisture — conditions perfect for the growth and spread of fungi. However, these factors can increase your risk of developing a nail fungal infection: Smoking , perspiring heavily ,working in a humid or moist environment ,wearing socks and shoes that hinder ventilation and don’t absorb perspiration ,walking barefoot in damp public places, such as swimming pools, gyms and shower rooms .You’re also more likely to develop a nail fungal infection if you have :a minor skin or nail injury, a damaged nail or another infection , diabetes, circulation problems or a weakened immune system. Nail fungal infections can be painful and may cause permanent damage to
o your nails. They may also lead to other serious infections that can spread beyond your feet.
In addition, they can pose a serious health risk for people with diabetes and those with weakened immune systems. If you have diabetes, your blood circulation and the nerve supply to your feet can become impaired. Therefore, any relatively minor injury to your feet — including a nail fungal infection — can lead to a more serious complication, such as an open sore (foot ulcer) that’s difficult to heal. See your doctor immediately if you suspect a nail fungal infection.

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