I am a mother of daughters – daughters that will tell you I am forever preaching to them to toss the chemical-laden beauty products and look at the many alternatives. I am happy to report, my message is sinking in . . . slowly, but surely. They now tell ME about more natural ways to take care of my skin and new natural products to try. (Did I tell you how much I love having daughters? I do, I really, really do! Especially MY two daughters. They are a delight!)
This post on nail care may seem intended more for the ladies, and true, most of the five tips have to do with those that wear polish, but guys, there is a tip or two in here for you, too. I know you want healthy, nice looking hands, as well. After all, I’ve spotted a few gentlemen at the salon getting a mani/pedi over the past few months. (But, I won’t name names. The secret is safe with me, boys! I won’t tell your Thursday night poker game buddies!)
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR NAILS NATURALLY
The hands can tell a story for both men and women. They are constantly in view and exposed to the elements. They can take a beating and even indicate a health condition or two. But, here are a few simple ideas to keep them looking their best without all the scary stuff:
1. Stay five-free.
If you use nail polish, hands off and stay away from products that contain these:
- Dibutyl Phthalate
- Formaldehyde Resin
And why is that you ask? Because of this:
These ingredients have been studied and covered quite a bit. Dibutyl phthalate can be an endocrine disruptor, toxic to the reproductive system and perhaps linked to obesity. Toluene is toxic to the nervous system and can impair breathing and cause possible birth defects. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen, and formaldehyde resin is a derivative of formaldehyde. And, lastly, camphor can cause liver damage in rare cases when applied to skin.
But, you really don’t need to memorize those long chemical names. There are so many new nail polishes that are 5-free, there is no need to buy the other! Shop around but, you could try one of these! Most of them are labeled as 5-free as companies know many of us do care about avoiding them.
And, oh yes! The gel mani? Best skip that, too. Here’s why: The products used can cause more nail problems and the UV lamps that are used can potentially cause skin cancer and aging. Here are more specifics on that.
2. Watch your mouth.
It’s not just what you spread on your hands, but what goes in your mouth. If you generally have a really healthy diet, but still have brittle nails, studies show biotin can help. It is part of the B vitamin family. You may need prescription strength, though, to have a real effect.
If you use nail polish, avoid acetone nail polish removers, too, for many reasons, one of which it makes nails more brittle as well. Try an acetone-free one with natural alcohols. Here are some to try. (I have the first one on this list and it works – you just have to work at it a bit harder, but I read about this one here listed at the end of this post to try as well.)
Don’t miss tip number 5 for more information on brittle nails and how it can relate to your health.
3. Take your own tools.
Buy a manicure kit to bring with you if you get a professional manicure and ask them to use it. Sterilize the tools when you get home with boiling hot water. Also, put a kibosh on cuticle cutting. Cutting them can cause cracks and infections. Our cuticles act as a natural barrier to fungus, too.
And, while you are at it, bring your own 5-free polish, too. Most nail salons do not have them. Besides, if you get a chip, you can fix it yourself because you have the color!
4. Make your bed.
Dry cuticles are a drag. I know! I try to moisturize the nail bed and the cuticle at bedtime when it can really sink in, usually with coconut oil. The moisturizing makes cuticles look a whole lot better and helps protect nails from breaking and splitting.
5. Go naked.
Go nail polish-free, that is, to give your nails a break. Buff your nails instead! And when doing so, look closely and watch for possible health problems your nails can show. Here are a few to keep an eye out for:
- White nails could mean a liver condition.
- Half pink/half white nails could indicate kidney disease.
- Yellowing and thickening of the nail with slowed growth may indicate lung disease.
- Pale nail beds could alert you to anemia.
- Yellow-tinged nails with a bit of blue at the base are sometimes associated with diabetes.
- Nail brittleness may also be caused by Raynaud’s disease, low thyroid function or lung conditions.