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Health, Beauty & Fashion

Many cures

Frequent manicures may cause problems. Experts share tips on how to care for your nails
The Straits Times - July 15, 2011
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Many cures

1. PICK THE RIGHT NAIL POLISH REMOVERS

Nail polish and removers contain chemicals such as formaldehyde resin, acrylate and acetone, which can lead to irritation and contact dermatitis, a kind of allergic reaction. These result in nail discolouration, skin peeling and redness. Use formaldehyde-free nail polish and acetone-free nail polish removers. Try Bastien Gonzalez Nail Varnish ($35, from Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio at Remede Spa at St Regis Singapore), which is formaldehyde- free; and Sally Hansen Salon Formula Fast Acting Polish Remover ($6, from Watsons and Guardian), which is acetone-free.

2 APPLY A BASE COAT

Nail polish and removers can strip away the top layer of the nail plate and make the nail surface rough. The nail can also become brittle and break more easily. Apply a base coat before using nail polish as it forms a layer to protect the nail from the chemicals in nail polish. Base coats also contain moisturising ingredients such as glycerin and aloe vera to reduce nail fragility. Try Sally Hansen?s Complete Care Extra Moisturizing 4-in-1 Treatment ($26.50, from Watsons and Guardian).

3 NO EXTENSIONS FOR MORE THAN THREE MONTHS

Fungal or bacterial infections that result in discoloured nails, misshapen or thickened nails can occur when you wear nail extensions, acrylic or gel nails. This is because the gaps between the natural and artificial nails can be breeding grounds for bacteria or fungus. Do not wear nail extensions, acrylic or gel nails continuously for more than three months as these stick-ons may hamper proper and natural nail growth. It is best to wait for two to three months in between using artificial nails to allow new nails to grow, advises Dr Tan.

4 EAT THE RIGHT FOOD FOR HEALTHY NAILS

Nutrients such as silica, calcium, vitamins B complex and C, zinc, sulphur and boron are the raw materials for healthy nails. Foods that are rich in these nutrients include:

  • Vegetables such as cucumber, broccoli, lettuce, watercress, kale and any dark green leafy vegetables;
  • Nuts such as almonds, cashew and Brazil nuts;
  • Seeds including sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds;
  • Herbs such as marjoram and parsley.
  •  

    5 NO HIGH HEELS FOR MORE THAN THREE HOURS

    When you wear high heels or tight, pointy shoes, the pressure on your nail matrix, which forms new nails, can cause the shape of your toenails to grow unevenly, says Mr Bastien Gonzalez, a podiatrist who owns Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio, an international chain of pedicure studios. The toenails may also thicken and appear yellow as a result. A podiatrist may be able to help by reducing the thickness of the nail plate with a file and buffer. Limit the amount of time you are in your feet when inheels to no more than three hours at a go to reduce the pressure on your toes to prevent deformed toenails from growing.

    6 TAKE NAIL SUPPLEMENTS

    Nail supplements can benefit nail growth if you are lacking in key nutrients such as biotin, silica and zinc, which are needed by the body to produce healthy nails, says Dr Eileen Tan, a dermatologist at Eileen Tan Skin, Laser and Hair Transplant Clinic at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre. The body needs adequate supplies of protein, vitamins and minerals in order to help build keratin, which is the protein that makes up nails. Biotin is an essential B-vitamin involved in the forming of keratin and is important for both hair and nail growth and strength. Silica supports the integrity and strength of the keratin protein in both hair and nails while zinc deficiency is known to cause nail splitting and poor growth.Nail supplements such as Try Imedeen?s Hair & Nails supplement ($48 for a box of 60 pills, from Watsons), which contains silica, zinc and biotin to help nail growth.

     

    Information provided by
    Dr Eileen Tan, dermatologist at Eileen Tan Skin, Laser and Hair Transplant Clinic at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre;
    Dr Seow Chew Swee, senior consultant dermatologist at National Skin Centre;
    Ms Sheeba Majmudar, nutritionist at Verita Wellness Centre;
    Mr Bastien Gonzalez, podiatrist and founder of Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio;
    Dr Lars Lindmark, vice-president of scientific affairs at Danish pharmaceutical company Ferrosan, which manufactures Imedeen

     

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