Written and image by Christina Pinnock
We’ve all been there… Even the strongest and healthiest of nails are susceptible to periods of damage. Causes of poor nail conditions vary from external trauma, accidental damage to ill health. The question is which of the 3 R’s applies to you?
RESTORE | REVIVE | RECOVER
Sounds dramatic right? But trauma can be anything from picking off your gel nails to an over filed or over buffed manicure at the nail salon. Either way, you may experience a thinning of the natural nail plate which in most cases will need to be repeatedly cut down to allow a new healthy nail to grow up.
Our nails are made up of around 50 layers of keratin cells but it only takes a few missing layers for weakness to become evident. These layers cannot be repaired but the weakened nail plate can be fortified whilst the new nail comes through.
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Aside from the obvious pain, if you’ve ever badly knocked or got your finger caught in a door you might notice the nail has become misshapen or at worst detached from the nail bed. Both are possible indicators that the nail matrix (cells) that produce healthy, A new nail has been compromised.
In worst cases this damage could be permanent, however, you will need to allow a full nail growth cycle of up to 6 months to determine lasting damage. The safest course of action is to revive with treatments that keep the nail hydrated with an emulsifying hand cream and regular cuticle oiling.
There are many health conditions that can result in poor nail health. If you have noticed a sudden or abnormal change in the appearance or shape of your nails it is important to consult your GP as this could indicate an underlying health issue. Similarly, some medications can also be responsible for deterioration when treating an unrelated condition. In severe cases, nail enhancements of any kind such as gels or acrylics should not be avoided as this may trigger a product sensitivity or allergy.
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With all that said, some of us are just not blessed with naturally strong, robust nails. If your nails do have a tendency to be problematic – low breaks, ridges, delaminating (flaking) then your approach should be geared towards promoting health whilst supporting weaknesses.
1. Know your length limits. If your nails break and split before they reach a certain length keep them short, groomed, and regularly manicured.
2. Nail care is the new ‘skin care’. Cleanse, exfoliate and nourish with hand washes, scrubs, and rich creams that brighten and lock in moisture.
3. If you do choose to wear a gel or acrylic enhancement onto your natural nails both work well as a 2-3 week coat of armor against knocks and bumps but should only be applied and removed by a professional.