Nail Care

The finger nails have a high decorative value, but are also useful in picking up objects – especially small ones. The finger nails also transmit pressure and tactile stimuli. The shape and colour, and indeed the general quality of the nails, requires regular care. Regular cutting and filing is essential. The finger nails should be cut so that they have a rounded tip. The toe nails, on the other hand, should be cut straight so that the outer corners extend to the forward edge of the skin, while in the middle the tip of the toe protrudes beyond the nail. If the outer edges of the toe nails are cut back too far, injury can occur through the pressure of shoes, resulting in painful in-growing toe nails.

Heavy dirt under the nails can best be removed using a brush, soap and lukewarm water. Loose dirt should be removed carefully with a nail file or nail scraper so as to avoid injury to the nail bed. The skin on the nail (eponychium) should be pushed back gently every 1 – 2 weeks. Small broken corners can be shortened with nail scissors. It is important to ensure that the eponychium as a whole is not injured in order not to damage the bed of the nail, which would disturb normal nail growth. Typical nail varnish remover and alkaline solutions such as potassium hydroxide or alkanolamin, or also solutions containing urea, can be used to soften the skin of the nail, which can then be pushed back easily and without injury.

Nail ointments and nail oils are O/W and W/O emulsions which are applied onto the nail and then massaged in. They primarily prevent drying of the nails. The optimum nail water content is between 7 and 12 %. Below this level, the nails become brittle and cracked. Regular oiling of the nail wall and the nail itself with commercial hand care products helps to stop the nails from becoming dry and brittle.

Splitting of the body of the nail into two or more horizontal plates at the front edge (onychoschisis) is caused by drying and heavy exposure to water and cleaning or dishwashing agents. Lipid loss can also be fostered by excessive use of nail varnish or nail varnish remover. Filing the free-standing outer edge of the nail and then sealing it with clear nail varnish will seal the nail and protect the lamella structure. Regular application of nail varnish to the front edge of the nail prevents splitting and flaking of skinpilot side tourthe upper layers of the nail. Taking biotin, gelatine and similar nail building substances, on the other hand, does not help.