As we slather our skin with moisturiser and oil-based serums, many of us neglect our nails. And as we edge into the depths of the winter season, it becomes ever more important to nourish them and prevent nail damage.
Our spa therapist, Sydney, offers her professional advice for taking care of your nails – from cuticle tips to dietary changes.
So, how can you prevent nail damage this year?
Don’t forget about your cuticles
The cuticle is a sensitive part of the nail bed. It’s simply a protective layer of skin, preserving nail health – so making sure we look after them is important.
Always make sure you’re taking care of your cuticles with nourishing cuticle oil. Ideally, you should look to get your nails professionally tidied on a regular basis (roughly every 4-6 weeks), to ensure that they continue to stay in good condition and grow evenly.
Protect your hands and nails from harsh chemicals
When you’re doing your housework, cleaning, and gardening, make sure you protect your hands and nails from harsh chemicals, dirt, and germs.
It’s best to keep your nails short, too, to stop them chipping, harbouring bacteria and becoming infected. It’s the key to keeping them thick and strong. This becomes particularly important as the colder weather threatens to take its toll on their condition.
If you’re thinking of finishing your manicure with a pop of colour, make sure you use a base coat first. This protects your nails from the chemicals of the nail varnish, preventing discolouration.
Be gentle to prevent nail damage
Filing your nails keeps them looking neat and manicured, and it’s best to try and do this once per week. Try only filing in one direction, as this prevents unnecessary chipping.
If you like to treat yourself to regular gel polish treatments, be sure to have them professionally removed. It’s also a good idea to leave 1-2 weeks between each reapplication to maintain optimal nail strength.
If you prefer to paint your own nails, be careful to avoid shaking your nail polish bottle to mix it up. When your polish sits too long without being used, it settles and the ingredients separate. To mix the polish together again, we recommend rolling the bottle between your hands to avoid air bubbles forming.
We’d also recommend regular hand massages – particularly if you suffer from swelling in the hands and feet. At Tewkesbury Park, our manicures and pedicures are always accompanied by a nourishing massage and is something we consider essential to aiding blood circulation and lymph drainage.
Whilst you’re paying good attention to your nails, make sure you don’t forget about your hands. They take on almost 100% of our daily tasks and are used almost all of the time.
To give your hands a little TLC, try exfoliating them 1-2 times per week, and moisturise them daily with gentle hand cream. We love using Natural Spa Factory’s Fig and Vanilla hand wash and hand lotion, featuring natural ingredients for a completely honest and nourishing treatment.
We’d also recommend using Natural Spa Factory’s Wild Rose Salt Scrub, which, in addition to smelling amazing, features cold compressed rose petals for the ultimate exfoliation.
Give your toes some TLC
Our toes take the weight of our whole body every day. They’re extremely hard-working, but it can be easy to neglect them when it comes to self-care. They’re equally deserving of some TLC, though, so try to remember to give them a little time each week – particularly at this time of year.
When trimming your toenails, make sure you trim them straight across; this helps to avoid ingrown toenails. It’s best to trim them after you’ve had a shower or bath, as your nails will be softer and easier to cut. Nail files/emery boards come in handy here, too, if you’d like to soften the corners or edges of your nails.
Up your protein intake
It’s true what they say: you really are what you eat. Much of our nail condition can be attributed to the food we eat, and for optimal nail conditions, we recommend a high intake of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
Keratin, the protein that’s found in our nails, can be better produced by your body if you eat plenty of fish, nuts, and beans. Our nails also thrive from plenty of vitamin B (this can be found in whole grains, meat, and eggs), which works to strengthen them. Try eating foods rich in zinc (e.g. meat, seeds, nuts) to eliminate white spots, as well as those rich in iron (e.g. spinach, lentils, and grains), which can stop the formation of nail ridges.
Surprisingly, some types of medication can affect the growth and condition of your nails. To combat this, regular manicures can help to maintain optimum nail health.
Don’t forget to try these top tips to make sure you avoid nail damage this year. We’d love to see you here at Tewkesbury Park – whether that’s for a well-deserved manicure, or simply a cup of tea. To find out more about us, please click here.