Whether you need to scratch an itch, or peel an orange. Your fingernails come in handy all day long, but too much use - or just plain neglect - can cause problems ranging from brittle, broken nails to yellow discoloured nails.

Here is a quick guide to some of the common types of natural nail problems and how to avoid them with a little common sense and a bit of TLC!

Hands and Feet

Brittle Nails

• The B-vitamin biotin has been shown to help weak, brittle nails

• Can be caused by sun exposure, a poor diet or dehydration. 

• Avoid the use of Nail Hardeners containing Formaldehyde, not only causes numerous health problems, but has a drying effect on nails. 

• Using a nail hardener such as Revitanail and applying a small amount of Jojoba Oil daily into the nail plate will keep natural nails hydrated. 

• Consider having regular Paraffin Treatments for intense hydration.   

Hangnails 

 Picking at cuticles is a no no! The cuticle is like the grout around your bathtub. It prevents water from seeping in. 

 The cuticle is an important and amazing protective structure. you shouldn't pick and tear at your cuticles but book in to have a manicure and get a nail technician to treat your overgrown cuticles.

Ridges

• Ridges on the nail are unfortunately, mostly genetic. Though you can’t change heredity, you can smooth the ridged surface with a buffing block. 

• Ridges may also be caused by dehydration so be sure to drink at least eight glasses of water each day! 

• When grooming your nails, always be gentle with them. Applying too much pressure during filing may damage the nail, resulting in further ridges.   

Weak Nails

• Avoid overexposure to water. Constantly submerging your nails in water can, paradoxically, dry out your nails. Try to wear gloves where possible.

• Weak, bendable nails can be a sign of Silica deficiency. Best sources of Silica are peppers, cucumbers and bean sprouts.   

• File your nails gently. Sawing your nails back and forth with a nail file causes damage to the nails. When you’re shaping, only file in one direction and don’t use too much pressure. 

White Spots

• The old saying that a lack of calcium causes White Spots is just a wives tale. White spots on the nail are actually a sign of Zinc deficiency. 

The best sources of Zinc are lean red meats, soy, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, brazil nuts, pecan nuts, green peas, turnips and wheatgerm. 

• White spots can also be caused by damage to the nail or applying too much pressure during nail filing.  

Yellow Nails

• Yellowing of the nails could be caused by not using a base coat underneath your polish, or it could be a more serious nail infection that needs to be treated by your local GP. 

• Try bleaching discoloured nails with a whitening scrub containing a mild abrasive like toothpaste, or try soaking them in good old fashioned lemon juice to bleach out the yellow stains, if stains persist see your Doctor.

Extra tips: 

• Always treat your nails with care. Treat them as jewels not tools!

• Antibiotics, such as tetracycline, affect the health of the nails and should be taken into consideration as a possible source of problems.

• Even a virus or illness from a few months ago can still affect the nails as they grow out, and the effects won’t show up until months later.

• Use hand care or nail care products right after showering or washing your hands. Do it as often as possible to prevent them drying out.

• Wear gloves when gardening or exposing hands to water for extended periods of time. 

Important Information:

When purchasing nail polishes and nail hardeners please read your labels to make sure that they DO NOT contain any of these 3 toxins:

 Dibytyl phthalate (DBP):which keeps polish from becoming brittle, also can cause reproductive harm. Known to trigger asthma attacks. Linked to breast cancer, birth defects and disruptive to the Endocrine system causes changes in hormone levels.

• Formaldehyde: a nail hardener also used in a wide variety of products including air fresheners and some hair straightening products. Considered a human carcinogen by U.S. health agencies, it is an irritating chemical that causes people to have allergic reactions. Don’t be fooled if it’s listed as formalin on the label.

• Toluene: the aromatic solvent can irritate the eyes, throat and lungs. Known to cause dizziness and short term intoxication as well as damage the nervous system and potentially harm an unborn child. It is a solvent that is found in petrol. 

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