Dry, flaky, wrinkled hands and brittle nails, sound familiar? With the “new normal” setting in, many outdoor activities such as nail salon visits have been restricted, and as such, manicure appointments are off the table. But there’s a reason we need to be careful with our hands and nails now more than ever. It’s the germs and bacteria hosted by our nails, especially long ones, that need to be checked to keep our nails from becoming a hazard to ourselves. So how do we ensure the hygiene and beauty of our hands and nails while we sit at home, away from the experts? Here are some simple tips you can follow:
1) Wash Your Hands
At this point, we all know the importance of washing our hands regularly, throughout the day, for at least 20 seconds. Washing our hands thoroughly and sanitizing them clears any bacteria, germ and infection that might be developing and settling in under the nails or in the crevices of our skin. It is recommended to use milk or cream-based handwashes to protect your hands from dryness. After wash, make sure to pat your hands dry instead of rubbing them dry.
While washing our hands rinses the dirt away, it also strips the natural protective oils from our skin, causing the skin to crack and become ragged and dry. Moisturizing goes a long way in keeping your hands soft, supple and healthy. Lube up on nutrient-rich oils and thick hand creams that seal in moisture right after a wash. Apply and re-apply throughout the day (have one in your purse, kitchen sink, bathroom sink, bedside table). At night, slather on the cream and cover your hands with gloves.
3) Scrub Gently
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to scrub your nails. In this way, you can remove and clean any build-up of dirt that may be hidden underneath. Make it a habit to scrub your nails gently.
We always tend to focus on our face more while neglecting our hands that do all the work. Don’t forget to give your hands the same treatment! Exfoliating your hands with a sugar scrub once or twice a week goes a long way in removing dirt and dry dead skin, keeping it smooth, youthful and firm.
Masks aren’t just for your face. When it comes to aging, your hands are just as prone to fine lines, wrinkles and dryness. Masks moisturize, smoothen and protect your hands from excessive damage. You can apply a homemade mask to your hands and leave it on. Then place a hot towel over your hands to allow your skin to soak up the mask while opening the pores. Wash after the mask has dried and then moisturize.
6) Use Gloves
Now that we find ourselves more in home-related activities that involve soaking or dirtying our hands (like cleaning and gardening), it is imperative to wear gloves that will protect them from the soapy water and harsh chemicals that impact the nails and hands.
7) Time to go Short
Keep your nails short, smooth and clean. Trim them to the length and shape of your liking, then gently smoothen out the edges by filing them in one direction. Shorter nails are easier to manage, and you can focus on strengthening them.
8) Apply Cuticle Oil
Make sure to gently massage your cuticles often with a nutrient-rich oil (coconut, almond, olive, or good cuticle oil). This keeps your nails stronger and shinier. However, don’t overdo it, as it can also damage the bond between your skin and the nail. You can also add a cuticle serum to your routine to get that instant luster.
9) Let Your Nails Breath
Use this time to give your nails a break from nail paints. Excess use of nail paints and nail polish removers strip your nails of their natural shine and luster, making them yellow as well as weak. In order to strengthen, refresh and rejuvenate them, take utmost care by moisturizing, masking, exfoliating, oiling and massaging, but keep them bare and clean.
It goes without saying that what you eat reflects on your overall appearance, and nails are no exception. A protein-rich diet is essential for stronger, healthier nails. You can tweak your diet by adding supplements like biotin, vitamin E and fish oil to your routine. Additionally, you can also add unflavored collagen and keratin powders to your recipes for a wholesome meal.
Following these simple tips religiously will surely help. But always remember that beauty comes from within! So, while you scrub, exfoliate and moisturize your hands and nails, keep a strict check on the food and nutrients you intake.