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Your nails' worst enemies

If you want beautiful hands, you need to take care of your nails. And that means being aware of factors and habits that can be damaging to them.

23 SEPTEMBER 2010

If you want beautiful hands, you need to take care of your nails. And that means being aware of factors and habits that can be damaging to them.

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  • A diet deficient in vitamin B, zinc, calcium or fatty acids will have a detrimental effect on the appearance, colour and strength of your nails. A healthy and varied diet should cover all your body's needs, but watch out for changes in your nails that may reflect other health issues.

  • Humans have invented a whole host of tools for a whole host of situations: there's simply no excuse to use your nails to prise open bottles, scrape dried-on spills etc. Using your nails as tools is the fastest way to split and break them.

  • Buffing your nails gives them a natural shine without the need to use polish; but it also tends to weaken them, so the less you buff, the better.

  • Nail polish remover can be very aggressive, so buy a reputable brand and look for products that also moisturise and strengthen the nails. Even so, try to limit the frequency with which you use them.

  • Always take care of your cuticles, which act as a seal between the finger and the nail. This is where the nail grows from, and damage to the cuticle can affect nail development and health.

  • Nails are porous and lose moisture if they are submerged in water for long periods or exposed to harsh detergents. Washing up in rubber gloves may not be glamorous, but it will protect your hands and nails and keep them looking good for more important occasions.

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