Healthy nails are pretty nails - something worth considering if your nails never seem to look good. Fortunately, nails don't need a lot to be healthy.
The most important thing is to avoid those activities and substances that damage nails. There are also a few pro-active things you can do to help foster good health. No, I don't mean costly supplements, exotic-sounding nail creams, or expensive salon treatments. What I'm talking about are easy, common sense types of things that don't take a lot of effort, thought, or money.Cuticle massageMassage has a reputation for being a frivolous, feel-good kind of thing we treat ourselves to on birthdays or Mother's days. And that's too bad, because massage can stimulate blood flow, encourage oxygen to reach body tissues, and help us relax, placing it firmly in the realm of everyday health care.If you need further convincing, massage can also help our nails. Dermatologists have long known that nails on a person's dominant hand grow faster and stronger than nails on a person's non dominant hand. The reason? The busier hand enjoys an increase in blood supply, which nourishes and prompts nails to grow faster.Massage also encourages increased blood flow to the fingers and toes. To massage your nails, reach for some heavy hand cream, massage oil, baby oil, or even olive oil. Place a drop or two of the product at the base of the nail, and rub it into the cuticle, up the nail folds, and onto the nail plate itself. Nail massage has a secondary benefit: the massage lotion or oil moisturizes the nails, cuticles, and surrounding skin so that nails stay strong and flexible enough to fend off breaks and the surrounding skin remains supple and hangnail-free.The importance of glovesNo one I know wears gloves while cleaning or gardening. I don't know why this is, although I suspect it may be a generation thing. My reasoning? My grandmother and her friends were harder on their hands than our generation is on ours: those ladies pulled weeds, harvested vegetables, picked apples, pitted cherries, peeled peaches for preserves, made minor repairs around the house, did hand laundry, washed dishes without the aid of a machine, " and scrubbed floors. Yet, unlike me and my friends, those ladies never got professional manicures. Also unlike me and many of my friends, those ladies had strong, healthy nails.So what was their secret? Many dermatologists and nail technicians point to the gloves that the older generation wore. Gloves provide a barrier that protects nail keratin from the weakening affects of water; collisions with hard surfaces; corrosive household chemicals; and more. Fortunately, glove-wearing has nothing to do with your generation and everything to do with habit. To develop the glove-wearing habit yourself, get several pairs for dishwashing and indoor cleaning, and a pair or two for gardening - then wear them!