Nails are a thick and clear layer of keratin. The nail plate forms a protective layer over the soft tissues of the nail bed. These cute buds also contribute to the overall outlook of the body. A healthy nail is cute, strong, clear, and attached to the skin.
Signs of a healthy nail
- Pinkish-white coloration of the nail plate
- Uniform coloration
- Presence of cuticle
- Even lengths of nails and white tips
- Lunula (called half-moon) is prominent at the base of the nail
- It is attached to the skin
Over time, nails usually develop diverse problems therefore it is important to pay attention to their healthy state. A fundamental aspect of keeping the nail healthy is keeping the nail clean.
Tips on how to clean nails and have healthy nails
- Keep the nails well-trimmed: a key aspect of keeping nails clean is to keep them well-trimmed. Nails should be cut as short as possible to avoid harboring infections or nail injuries. However, care must be taken not to cut the nail too short to avoid the occurrence of an ingrown toenail.
- Keep the nails dry: sweaty foot is one of the major causes of nail infection. Keep the nails as dry as possible all the time.
- Pay close attention: more often than not, we do not give sufficient attention to the overall health of the nail. Beyond trimming the nail, we must observe the state of the nail as often as possible so that we can quickly spot any difference as soon as it begins to emerge.
- Discard or treat old shoes: old shoes are one of the high-risk factors for nail infection, therefore it is vital to either discard them or treat them with antifungal powder.
Common nail problems
Nail fungus ranks as the most common problem facing the nails. Not less than 50 percent of nail problems are connected to fungus. It often begins subtly as a white or yellow spot beneath the tip of the nail and will progress quickly to cause several nail problems such as thickening, discoloration, crumbling, and brittle nails, leaving the nail very ugly. The inflammation of the surrounding skin is also painful. The good thing is that there are many home remedies for nail fungus you can try. A good number of these toenail or fingernail fungus home remedies are already available in your kitchen too.
Causes and prevention of nail fungus
- Sweaty foot: fungus thrives in wet, dark, and warm environments; hence a consistently wet foot has a higher tendency of developing nail fungus. To prevent nail fungus, ensure your feet are always as dry as possible. Wear shoes made with breathable materials that allow sufficient air circulation to keep your feet dry. You can also apply antifungal powder in your shoe to absorb moisture.
- Age: as we age, the nail is more prone to problems. This is caused by reduced blood flow to the extremes of the body. Weaker immunity is also another key factor. To improve blood flow, commit to exercises. For better immunity, take supplements or foods that boost immunity.
- Walking barefoot in public places like a locker room or public swimming pool: avoid walking barefoot in high-risk places such as a locker room or public swimming pool.
- Underlying health issues: health issues such as diabetes contribute to nail fungal infection. Begin the treatment of the underlying health issue immediately.
Nail signs of possible underlying health issues
- Nail discoloration: discoloration of the nail is one of the most frequent nail symptoms. It could be a sign of fungal infections, kidney problems, liver problems, anemia, and many other diseases. The discoloration could be white, yellow, blue, black, green, grey, etc. When you notice any of these, take a prompt step to see your doctor and get a proper diagnosis of the situation. However, some nail discolorations are nothing to worry about. It can be as a result of some drugs you are taking or some substances you are exposed to. Discolorations caused by drug usage will be corrected once you are through with the medication.
- Nail thickening: thickening of the nail is another problem of the nail. Often, it is a normal thing that happens as we age but could also be a sign of other health issues such as fungal infection.
- Rough nails or ridges on the nail: some diseases such as kidney problems or diabetes could cause ridges to form on the nail.
Keeping the nail clean is important to the healthy state of the nail. It is imperative to pay close attention to the proper care of the nail because any problem to the nail can compromise the quality of life we lead. Keep your nails clean, well-trimmed, and dry.