Dr. Wahida Khan Chowdhury, Associate Professor and Consultant Dermatologist at Prescription Point (Banani), emphasises that maintaining the beauty of our hands and feet is just as important as maintaining the beauty of our face.
To be protected from the summer heat, we usually like to walk barefoot or wear open-toed sandals during this season. As a consequence, our fingernails and toenails accumulate an exorbitant amount of dirt and sweat throughout the day. “This causes the nails to become drier and more brittle,” Dr. Chowdhury informed. She further added that it also leads to fungal and bacterial diseases in many cases.
In this scenario, it is absolutely necessary to take care of your nails to make sure that they look lovely and feel healthy. To do this, you can easily set a basic weekly regime of nail care that follows cleaning, filing, trimming and shaping of the nails.
Nail care at Home
“The first step is to set aside at least an hour every week to invest in nail care,” began Dr. Chowdhury. Besides buying an affordable DIY pedicure/manicure set from a local convenience store, setting up a simple ritual with the products available at home can be quite handy too.
Firstly, you can start off with nail cleaning –in an appropriate container filled with lukewarm water, add a few drops of shampoo, glycerin or olive oil and soak your hands/feet for about 15-20 minutes. If you regularly engage in painting, cooking, gardening or any other tasks that require extensive manual work, then it is advised to soak your hands/feet for a longer time for better cleaning. “You should specifically use shampoo (and not soap) for cleaning as substances with higher soap content tends to make your skin rougher,” elaborated Dr. Chowdhury.
After soaking, you should meticulously wipe your nails with a tissue paper, dabbing gently into the edges of your nails so that there is no remaining water or dirt particles.
The next step is moisturising – massage your hands and feet with a generous portion of olive oil/Vaseline/regular moisturiser. This helps to keep your skin and nails hydrated and maintain the natural glow of nails. Dr. Chowdhury advised that a smart tip after moisturising would be adding a layer of nail strengthening gel which will help to make the nails stronger, and prevent them from breaking frequently. Using a sun-screen is also a good idea to protect the nails from sun damage.
Some people sweat profusely during this season, and this may cause excess sweat to gather in the edges of the nails. “Always keep some tissue paper in your bag so that you can wipe off the sweat from your skin and nails,” suggested Dr. Chowdhury.
After your nail care ritual is completed, you should also make sure to keep your equipment cleaned and dried properly before stacking them back to the shelf again.
Nail Care at the Salon
Sometimes dropping by the salon is an easier (albeit expensive) option for a quick pedicure or manicure in our busy lives. According to Dr. Chowdhury, getting a manicure or pedicure done by a professional is definitely ideal. “However, you should make sure that your nails are not cut or cleaned too deep as it will damage the cuticle,” she explained. When the cuticle - the protective layering under the nail – is damaged, it can result in bacterial and fungal infections to develop in the nails.
Moreover, sometimes you may have to make a difficult choice between health and length. “Longer nails are prone to breaking more often and gather more dirt as well,” she furthered and advised to trim nails down to a decent length if they grow too long.
Know What Your Nails Need
Proper diet and hydration - Our fingernails are made out of a protein called keratin, so it is quite easy to improve how they look by simply eating better. “Adapting to a diet that is rich in fish oils, beans and green vegetables containing vitamins A, E and C are ideal to get healthier nails,” recommended Dr. Chowdhury. Keeping the body hydrated with a sufficient intake of water is also vital.
Regular nail polish removal – Pretty nails will tempt you to put on chic polishes or get some fancy nail art done on them. But it is a bad idea to keep the nail polish on for too many days since it leaves behind a tawny tint caused by the chemicals in it. Dr. Chowdhury advised to regularly remove nail polish with a good quality nail polish remover. In addition to this, adding some Vaseline daily for a few days after polish removal should help the stain to disappear faster.
Prevention of Diseases – There are several diseases associated with nails too. Paronychia, for instance, is a type of fungal or bacterial infection of the nail. It causes severe pain, swelling and redness around the edges of the nails. Moreover, nail denting and discolouring are some other issues you may face in this weather. If you notice any of these conditions, do make sure to get yourself checked out by a dermatologist before it gets worse.
Photo: LS Archive/Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Special thanks to Dr. Wahida Khan Chowdhury, Associate Professor and Consultant Dermatologist. She can be contacted through Prescription Point Ltd., House #105, Road #12, Block-E, Banani. #9897222, #01713333233-34