As January invites more chilly weather, taking care of your nails becomes even more important with them tending to lose moisture. Healthy nails on an average contain 18 per cent of water. But in winter, constantly moving between warm and dry indoors and cooler outdoors reduces the moisture level in your nails, leaving them dehydrated. This in turn leads to more dried-out nails that break, split, and chip easily. Even your nail polish will tend to chip more often while your cuticles are likely to develop hangnails (torn skin at the root of the fingernail). Making matters worse are things like hot showers (water draws moisture from nails as it evaporates from skin) and products like polish removers with acetone, alcohol-based hand sanitizers and dishwashing liquid.
The best way to take care of your nails is to lather them with moisturiser and of course drink lots of water. Intense hydration ensures that the moisture being lost is constantly replaced. Here are a few tips you can follow to maintain a pretty manicure.
When you apply that winter cream, be extra generous with your finger nails as well. Carrying a tube of moisturiser around helps and applying your hands with cream after a hand wash or when they appear dry will make a huge difference. At night, rub on some cuticle oil. Olive oil is a good option as well.
Once a week, soak your nails in lukewarm water for no more than 10 minutes and then apply some cuticle oil.
If you like extra hot baths, apply cuticle oil or even vaseline to your fingers before you step under the shower to reduce moisture loss. You can also massage your nails with some more while bathing as the steam will help the oil penetrate the dry layers of your skin.
Exfoliate your skin once in a while and then moisturise it with shea butter or something equally greasy.
If you have quite a few hangnails, resist the urge to bite them off or peel them. Instead cut them off using a nail cutter and then apply astringent to prevent infection. However, don’t use astringent too often as it will dry out your skin
Don’t apple nail polish too regularly during this season. It’s important to give your nails some breathing space or else they tend to develop an ugly yellow tinge.
Finally, what you eat is what your are. A protein-rich diet will ensure nails receive the necessary nutrients required to remain strong and healthy. Lentils, beans, eggs, chicken and oats are some good foods.