Like our hair, our nails reflect our overall health and lifestyle choices. To keep them strong and beautiful, a balanced diet and a few good habits are essential.
In most cases, following a few simple rules will help you keep or make your nails healthy and strong:
• Eat a varied diet, rich in vitamins, trace elements, antioxidant fruit and vegetables, protein and minerals.
• Limit manicures to once a week and avoid harsh solvents which cause unnecessary damage to nails.
• During a manicure, do not trim your nail cuticles: these small pieces of skin protect the nail base and removing them weakens your nails.
• Avoid biting your nails or pulling at the bits of skin around them.
• Systematically use a protective base coat before applying coloured nail varnish. This will prevent the pigments from being absorbed by the nail and turning it yellow.
• Avoid wearing artificial nails constantly, as they weaken your natural nails. If you like them, save them for special occasions.
• Wear gloves when doing household chores, DIY, or when gardening.
• At least once a day, apply a nourishing hand and nail cream, especially in the wintertime.
• Regularly take a course of food supplements formulated to strengthen nails.
If your nails remain damaged in spite of these precautions, or you notice signs such as a change in colour, white, yellow or black spots, or the nail lifting from its bed, see a skin specialist: a change in the appearance of nails can sometimes signal a health problem that only a doctor can diagnose with certainty.
For more information about damaged nails, please see the expert advice page devoted to the topic.