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Let’s nail it!

All Areas > Health & Beauty > Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Author: Val Starr, Posted: Wednesday, 24th October 2018, 09:00

During the summer months, especially when our toe nails are on display more often, we tend to take more care in the appearance of our nails. Once the cooler weather kicks in and the boots and gloves appear, we very often neglect attention to our nails. Why not treat both your hand and toe nails all year round with loving care – they deserve it.


Always wear gloves when washing the dishes, working in the garden or using harsh cleaning products. Gloves will help protect your nails and finger tips from wear and tear, and any harsh chemicals you may be exposed to. Gloves can be very inexpensive so there is no excuse not to wear them, and your nails will thank you for it.

Manicures and pedicures

Salons are readily available to give you manicures and pedicures, but it is up to you to check the salon you choose is clean, sterile and fully licensed. Warts can often be picked up in salons, so a sterile environment is crucial.

Tools, whether at a salon or at home, must be kept clean primarily to avoid bacteria. The simple and easy way to ensure this is to use soap and hot water, then rub with alcohol. Replace nail files regularly as they easily harbour bacteria, and never let a nail technician use a file on you that has previously been used on another customer.

Dos and don’ts

Don’t soak your nails for long periods of time, as this can weaken them by saturating them with water. Instead, as you soak in that wonderful bath, spare a thought for your nails and keep them out of the water. A good book could help with this!

It is such a temptation to pull or tear off any rough or hanging skin, but don’t. Pulling at your nails can lead to ripped tissue and, again, bacteria can creep in. Instead, trim any rough skin neatly with nail scissors or clippers.

Nails are not tools but we often use them to do jobs tools are made for and our nails pay the price.


Oils specifically formulated for the cuticles are a good investment. Look for those containing vitamin E, jojoba oil, rapeseed oil or almond oil. Oils protect the skin around the nails which help to improve growth and keep them healthy and looking good. Just like our skin, cuticles can get parched and need some TLC on a regular basis.

Should we cut our cuticles? The simple answer is no. When we cut them, we remove the seal at the base of our nails and again this can leave our nails open to infection. Less is more when it comes to cuticles, so do not cut or trim them and do not allow anyone else to do so. Push them gently back after a bath or shower.


Our nails are made of keratin, which is a form of protein. A healthy diet can significantly improve the strength of our nails, so include foods in your diet that are rich in zinc, such as lean meats, seafood, eggs, nuts and seeds. Vitamin C is also essential for collagen found in your skin and fingernails.

Nail polish

A well manicured hand is a delight to look at and the varieties of nail polish colours are endless. Even a clear coat gives a cared for appearance to our nails. Acetone is often used in nail polish removers, but it is harsh and can dry out the oils, so try to always purchase non-acetone products.

No matter how tempting it is, never peel your polish off, as at the same time you are removing a nail layer, which weakens the remaining nail. Take the time to care for your finger and toe nails – it will show.

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