To create long, strong, healthy nails, you need to look after your hands. Nails grow from an area called the matrix at the root of the nail. It constantly regenerates cells, packing the old cells together to form the nail. The cuticle protects the nail bed, keeping out germs and infection, so it’s important to look after your cuticles.
In New Zealand, we don’t have as much naturally occurring zinc in our soil. This means you might not get enough zinc from diet alone and may need a supplement. Zinc is important for many functions in the body, including preventing acne and for strong immunity, but also for nail health. Symptoms of low zinc may include white spots on the nails or nail splitting.
Avoid harsh chemicals
This is the excuse you need to get out of cleaning! The harsh solvents and chemicals in a number of detergents and cleaners will weaken the nail. Wear rubber gloves when cleaning and washing dishes to unnecessary nail damage.
Moisturize your cuticles (and hands)
Your cuticles keep the matrix healthy, so it’s important to look after them. A variety of products are available, but there some contain parabens and diethyl phthalate, which can have worrying side effects. Try using a natural moisturizer that’s based on beeswax or shea butter.
Beeswax is anti-viral and anti-bacterial. It also forms a protective wall, sealing moisture in your skin without clogging your pores. And beeswax contains vitamin A, which helps with hydrating and reconstructing damaged skin cells.
A skin superfood, shea butter is rich in vitamins A, E, and F. It supplies essential fatty acids that the skin needs for collagen production. Its incredible moisturising and nourishing abilities make shea butter perfect for your hands.
Treat cuticle infections promptly
If your cuticles become damaged or get a fungal infection, they will become red and inflamed. This will affect nail growth, so it’s important to treat any infections quickly. An antibiotic cream is suitable for this or, if you want a natural solution, turmeric or Manuka oil will also help.