Hands go through hell. We subject them to daily dunking in water, expose them too acidic household cleaners, endlessly handle pieces of paper (which strip vital oils from the skin) – and forget that they’re as vulnerable to sun damage as our faces. So even if our complexions get their daily slathering of UV protection, hands are left to the mercy of the elements, leading to ‘age spots’ – which form as melanin (skin pigment) in unprotected skin reacts to sunlight. But if we treat hands regularly with lots of TLC, they will reward us well into our dotage…
1. Remove nail polish; use acetone-free polish remover, which is less drying.
2. File and shape nails, filing in one direction only, from the sides to the center. Use a padded emery board, now widely available from pharmacies and beauty supply store, which is kinder to nails than old-fashioned metal files or ‘sandpaper’ boards.
3. Soak nails in a small dish: add a few drops of jojoba or almond oil to warm water, or create an ‘oil bath’ of slightly warmed olive oil on its own.
4. Apply an exfoliant to your hands and slough away dull, dead skin. (Or use a handful of fine salt, mixed with some of the oil from your soak.)
5. Wipe hands and apply a moisturizing face mask to the entire ‘glove’ area. Rest your hands on a towel while the mask gets to work. Remove mask according to the instructions.
6. Cuticles will be softened by the mask and oil treatment, ready for pushing back. (Use a special cuticle remover, if you prefer.) Push them back with a rubber-tipped hoof stick or orange stick wrapped in cotton wool.
7. Scrub nails gently with a nail brush and clean, warm water. (Or swipe away the last traces of cream/mask with a pad soaked in facial astringent.)
8. Buff nails, using the soft side of a nail buffer from any of your favorite shop. Rub gently to polish nails naturally and never allow nails to get hot while buffing.
9. Apply rich hand cream. Wipe over nails with a cotton pad soaked in soapy water, to remove the cream before polishing.
10. Apply the base coat (to prevent staining by nail enamel), two coats of enamel and a protective topcoat. (To prolong the life of your manicure, reapply topcoat each day.)
Hand Care Tips
Invest in a manicure in the best salon available to you and watch and ask questions. If regular weekly manicures aren’t within your budget or agenda, aim for at least four times a year, for maintenance – and use them as learning experiences.
One of the biggest favors we can do hands is to keep hand cream by every set of taps in the house, on the desk and in the car.
Ideally, look for a hand cream with SPF15 for daily use; research has found that age spots will actually fade somewhat if hands are no longer exposed to UV light.
Choose a rich, nourishing formulation that’s a little stickier or greasier. It won’t sink in quite so quickly, but your hands will love it…
We suffer both fragile, flaky nails and have found that the best way to prevent breaks is to make sure that nails are never left ‘naked’, except during a manicure itself.
Before you wash the dishes or do hand washing, slather oil all over your hands – anything from olive oil to hazelnut oil or almond oil. Then put Vaseline on top of the oil to seal it in. Put on a pair of disposable plastic gloves and slip your hands inside your rubber gloves while you do the dishes. The warmth of the water turbo-charges the treatment and once you wash away the gunk, hands will be super smooth and silky.
- Nutrition has a terrific impact on nail strength; good growth depends on a healthy diet to nourish new cells developing from the base.
- Emphasize the importance of the best possible diet, our diet should include Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs).
- Evening primrose oil really does seem to have a significant effect on nails.
- Use four to six capsules of E famol Evening primrose oil per day or two capsules of mega-GLA by Biocare.
- In addition, you should be taking a good multi mineral tablet with B2, B3, and zinc in it.
- The white spots we see on nails signal a lack of zinc – not calcium, as is often thought.
- Another secret nail-booster is to buff regularly using a good quality nail buffer.
Treating Not-so Healthy Nails:-
- Exercising regularly and taking time to de-stress has a hugely positive impact on nail health. Healthy lifestyle alone can’t always fix the problems. So here are the solutions to the common challenges to not-so-healthy nails…
- Soft and peeling nails: Massage the nail bed and the cuticle daily with oil, which will give you strong but flexible nails that resist breaking. Almond or hazelnut oil is perfect; add a drop of lavender oil to make it smell pretty.
- Dry, brittle nails: Brittle nails respond to daily oil treatments.
- Dull, colorless nails: A healthy nail is a pink nail. Dull, colorless nails may be a sign of a circulation problem. If you squeeze a nail, it will go white; if it takes more than 3 seconds for pinkness to reappear, that’s another sign of poor circulation.
Critical Nail problems
- If you have the following problems then you should consider seeing a doctor
- Thickening, crumbling or opaque nails; this may indicate a fungal infection.
- Pitting, spotting and thickening – classic signs of nail psoriasis.
Darkening of the nail:
a brown or black streak that begins at the base of the nail and extends to the tip could be a sign of melanoma (skin cancer), requiring urgent attention. Some antibiotics, such as tetracycline, may turn nails dark grey; this should fade once the drug is out of your system and the nail grows out.