Nail Problems And Treatment
Strong, well-manicured nails on the hands and feet play an important role in a woman’s appearance. Nail Problems: Brittle, damaged or weak nails can detract from this. Essential oils can be used to improve nail condition.
If your nails are particularly weak and damaged, you may prefer to apply this quick treatment every evening.
Because nail growth is a slow process, the results are not immediate – it will be a couple of months before you see any improvement, but it will be worth the wait.
Essential oil of lavender is particularly good for strengthening nails.
Each evening, put your finger onto the nozzle of a bottle of lavener oil, tip the bottle, and rub the oil into the cuticles. After two or three months you should see some improvements as the treated nail grows through.
Natural Aloe Vera Ointment For Nails:
A worthy alternative to the chemical polish product is a natural ointment made from the gel of fresh aloe-vera leaves.
Preparation: (Tips for Nail Problems)
1. Cut a fresh leaf down the center. With a spoon, scoop out the gel.
2. When you have collected a quantity of gel, place it in a dowble boiler.
3. Boil the ‘sticky stuff’ down to a thicker paste-like consistency.
4. Store in a small clean jar with lid. Label, date, and store it in a cool place.
For Infected Nails:
Try a warm compress of fresh aloe-vera gel. Squeeze the gel directly on the infected finger and cover with warm, slightly damp cotton cloth.
Caring For Your Hangnails:
Hangnails, fleshy bits of dry skin that have split away from the edges of the fingernail, are very common in nail-biters. They can be painful and become a site for secondary infections. Children often have hangnails.
How to get rid of Hangnails
Hangnails are pesky little skin tears that develop when a sliver of skin splits away from a cuticle or fingernail. Hangnails are small in size, but they can cause a great deal of pain it they get caught on your clothes or hair. Apart from that, there is also the possibility of hangnails getting infected, so it is important take care of and remove hangnails the correct way, so as to avoid deep cuts, scarring, swelling, and infections.
Soak your fingers: Soak your fingers in warm water for about 10 minutes. The warm water will help soften your skin and nails, which will make it easier to cut away the hangnail.
You can add in some drops of vitamin E oil or olive oil for extra moisture during your soak.
Clip your hangnail: Use clean and sharp cuticle nippers to cut off the hangnail.
Try cutting as close to the base of the hangnail as possible.
The closer you cut to the base of the hangnail, the less likely your hangnail will get caught on things like clothing.
• Do not pull and pluck at your hangnail. This will cause an uneven break from your skin, further irritating the area of the hangnail. Pulling at your hangnail could also cause bleeding.
• Do not cut off more skin or nail than what is necessary. This can create a deep cut that can easily get infected.
Apply an antibacterial ointment: The antibacterial ointment will help kill, and keep away bacteria from the hangnail area, while supporting healing. You only need a small amount to cover the entire affected area.
Moisturize the hangnail area: For small hangnails that aren’t that deep, lather vitamin E oil onto the hangnail area. Vitamin E is easily absorbed into skin and is extremely moisturizing. Besides vitamin E oil, applying any kind of moisturizer to your hands will prevent your cuticles from getting dry and brittle – conditions that promote the likelihood of hangnails.
Fungal infections, such as tinea, are spread from one person to another and can affect the fingernails or toenails. Without treatment, the nail bed itself can become infected. People with diabetes or with compromised immune systems are at higher risk of fungal infection.
The characteristics of a fungal nail infection depend on the cause, but may include:
• Lifting of the nail plate off the nail bed
• Thickening of the nail plate
• Crumbling of the nail plate
• Discolouration, usually in streaks
• White, yellow or green smelly discharge
• Flaking and pitting of the surface of the nail plate.
Treatment for fungal infection includes:
• Antifungal preparations applied topically (directly to the nail) or taken orally (by mouth)
• Professional trimming, shaping and care of the toenail by your podiatrist.
Ingrown toenail: (Common nail problems)
One of the most common problems treated by podiatrists is ingrown toenails. The big toe is particularly prone to this painful condition. Causes may include:
• Incorrect nail-trimming technique
• Trauma (such as stubbing your toe)
• Nails that naturally curve sharply on the sides and dig into the skin
• Wearing tight shoes.
Treatment from a podiatrist depends on the severity of the injury, but may include removing the ingrown nail section using a local anaesthetic.
Suggestions to prevent an ingrown toenail include:
• Trim your nails straight across rather than rounding off the edges.
• Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes that don’t press on your toes.
In this condition, the nail plate splits or layers as it grows off the nail bed. Common causes include:
• Having constantly wet hands, especially while using soap and washing detergents
• Frequently using and removing nail polish
• Continuous mild trauma such as habitual finger-tapping or using the nails as tools (to pick between the teeth, for example).
Diagnosis and treatment of nail problems
Any abnormal changes to your nails should be medically investigated. See your doctor for treatment or possible referral to a dermatologist. If the cause of your nail problem is not immediately apparent, your doctor may take nail clippings and scrapings from beneath the nail for laboratory analysis. Fingernail infections usually respond faster to treatment than toenail infections.
Depending on the cause, treatment may include:
• Antibiotics for bacterial infections
• Antifungal preparations, mainly oral tablets, for fungal infections in the nails
• Treatment for any contributing skin disease
• Advice on appropriate nail care.
Self-help strategies for healthy nails
Ways to reduce the risk of nail problems include:
• Practice good personal hygiene. (Greatly improves nail problems)
• Wear protective gloves for wet jobs such as washing the dishes.
• Avoid harsh chemicals such as strong soaps and detergents.
• Avoid or limit the handling of chemicals such as hair dyes.
• Take care with the use of nail polish.
• Don’t clean under your nails too often or too aggressively.
• When giving yourself a home manicure, do not push back the cuticles.
• Resist the urge to bite or tear off hangnails – use nail clippers.
• Don’t bite your nails.
• Remove artificial nails carefully and according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Don’t smoke.
• Moisturise your hands frequently, particularly after washing them.
• Remember to rub the moisturiser over your nails and cuticles too.
• Treat any sign of eczema on your hands promptly.
• To protect yourself from fungal infections, don’t share towels, always dry yourself thoroughly after bathing (particularly between the toes), and wear thongs in communal bathing areas such as the local gym or swimming pool.
• Make sure your shoes are well-fitting and have plenty of room for air movement.