GNcareers, from Gulf News

Nail care from the inside-out

Nail care from the inside-outImage Credit: Supplied

Ridges, grooves, lines, spots, pits and discoloration on the nails all tell something about our health, and the way we take care of them. While some of these indicate serious conditions, experts reveal that more often than not, it is trauma, a bad diet, or the excessive use of or exposure to harsh chemicals that is causing the problem. Simply put, blame it on the sheer lack of TLC on your part.

While lotions and potions that promise healthy, pretty nails line up the shelves of drugstores and supermarkets, the first line of defense is pampering from within, which means eating a balanced diet and always keeping yourself hydrated. Food for the nails include those rich in protein such as poultry, eggs and lean red meat; iron such as green leafy veggies, oily fish and dried fruits; zinc like nuts, seeds and seafood; biotin like liver, nuts and fish; and sulphur such as cheese, meat and eggs. There is also nothing a 20 or 30-minute of cardio exercise can't fix.

And when the ''internal nourishment'' aspect is taken care of, preening and primping do not hurt either. Although it had been drilled into us since kids, constant hand washing can actually strip away natural oils leaving the nails, and your hands in general, dry. Nourish your nails from the outside by keeping the cuticles and the nail beds moisturized. Dry nails can benefit from creams or olive oil applied around the nail beds before going to bed. You can also keep away from chemicals by wearing gloves when doing household chores. Brittle nails can be easily avoided by insisting on using acetone-free nail polish removers, and skipping the nail salon from time to time.

To take care of your tootsies, ensure that you only wear comfortable shoes. Flip flops are advised when in public showers and pools to prevent infection.

Handy Hints:

• Eat a balanced diet and keep yourself hydrated

• Diet should include food rich in protein like eggs

• Minerals like zinc, sulphur and biotin also essential

Source: Ellen Joyce Soriano, Special to Classifieds,

The writer is a freelancer