Healthy Nails

Looking after your hands

BOHEM adorns your hands with exquisite jewellery and explains how beautiful hands should be cared for. On this page you will discover how to look after your hands, including your skin and nails.

Looking after your nails

Although not everyone bites their nails, a shockingly large number of people do. This bad habit not only leaves you with no nails but also makes your hands look terrible – bad news for the image-conscious.

Nail biting usually takes place when you are either nervous, faced with a stressful situation, bored or hungry.

It’s about time you stopped biting your nails! Here are a few tips:

  • Understand the benefits and advantages of quitting biting your nails, especially in times of stress – biting your nails is not really providing you with a solution to the problem. Prepare yourself mentally and make yourself believe that you too can have beautiful hands in a few weeks. Set a date on your calendar and prepare yourself mentally the day before.
  • When the special day arrives, you need to remember your task. In stressful moments, you will be biting your nails again before you know it. If you do, don’t give up. Keep trying until you succeed. Colour your nails with nail varnish. You can also try a nail biting deterrent, this will leave a very bitter taste in your mouth each time you try to bite your nails. Another idea is to wear false nails. These will protect your poor nails from your teeth.
  • You will start to see a difference in your nails in just a few days. Look and start to admire with pride. Be patient and make sure you keep covered and protected. Keep reminding yourself about the first day you started to stop biting your nails and why.
  • Eat foods with plenty of magnesium and calcium to help you repair and re-grow healthy looking nails.
  • Start to move your cuticle back. This is easier done after a shower using a cotton bud. Never cut your cuticle as this can cause infection, simply push it back gently and this will also make your nails look longer.
  • Keep your nails covered until they are long enough for you to feel proud and confident enough not to bite them again.


Growing healthy, straight nails

Our natural nails are made up of the nail fold, the nail plate, the nail bed, the lanula (which is part of the nail matrix) and the cuticle.

How healthy and strong do your nails look? Do you see any unusual colouring, ridges or dents? Fingernails are made of layers of keratin. Keratin is a protein and it grows from the base under the cuticle. Healthy nails should grow smooth and should also be the same colour. Vertical ridges tend to appear with age. You should consult your doctor if you notice any abnormal appearance in colour, shape, thickening or thinning, nail separation from the skin, bleeding, redness, swelling or pain.

Always keep your fingernails clean and dry. This will prevent any bacteria or fungus from growing under your nails. Wear gloves when using household detergents or soaps containing harsh chemicals. Also try to avoid long soaks in the bath.

Trim your nails regularly and try to keep them all the same length. You can use a nail clipper or manicure scissors. It is easier to trim your nails just after you have had your bath, while they’re still soft. Trim your nails straight then round the tips gently with a nail file. When filing your nails, avoid back and forth motions. Only go in one direction. Always wait for your nails to dry properly before you start any filing.

After you finish shaping, don’t forget to use a hand lotion. Rub the lotion into your fingernails and the cuticle area.

Do not use your nails as tools, the slightest crack in one of your nails can allow bacteria or fungus to enter under your nail and cause infection.

If you notice anything abnormal in the way your nails look, please make sure you consult your doctor. A balanced diet is an important factor in growing healthy looking nails. Proteins such as collagen and keratin help strengthen the nail plate and makes it more resistant to splitting and cracking, while Vitamin B helps build thicker nails. Vitamin B is found in foods like bananas, carrots, fish and eggs.

Try to avoid products which contain any form of aldehyde or acetone. These chemicals might cause dryness and irritation. Avoid wearing false nails or nail varnish every day, this will prevent your nails from breathing.

Rub your hands and nails with baby oil and Vitamin E, massage your nails to keep them strong and healthy. Buffing your nails makes them look healthier but don’t over buff, it takes about six months for the nail to grow from the cuticle area to the tip of the nail bed so buffing once a month should be adequate. Polishing your nails will also help to protect your nails. Colouring should last more than 7 days, but should also be removed after 10 days.


Good nutritious diet

Protein: Meat, poultry, fish, soy
Iron: Oysters, lentils, Iron-fortified cereals, Biotin supplements

Moisturiser may prevent cracking or breaking
Use lotion frequently, preferably each time after washing your hands
Do not leave cuticles dry. Cuticle oils prevent hang nails.
Look for signs on your nails, sometimes these signs can be related to a bigger health issue.

Pitted nails- Psoriasis
Spoon nails- Anaemic condition
Clubbed nails- Cardio pulmonary disease or asthma


How to do the perfect manicure yourself

You don’t necessarily need to visit the salon to achieve the perfect manicure. Some great results can be had with some patience and a little know how.

Start with washing and drying your hands. Using a cotton bud and a cotton pad, remove any old traces of nail varnish with acetone-free nail polish remover.

Soak your hands in warm soapy water for 5 minutes to soften the cuticles. Push the cuticles back using a cuticle pusher or an cotton bud with a piece of cotton at the end. Never cut your cuticles as this can cause bacteria to enter under your skin and cause an infection.

Trim all your nails the same length with a nail clipper or manicure scissors. Cut straight and file the corners in the desired shape. Do not file back and forth, always file in the forward direction only. If your nails are weak, a short squared shaped is the best. This will prevent them from getting broken easily.

Buff your nails using a smooth nail buffer as this will give you a smoother finish. Do not over buff and only buff your nails once a month.

Use a base coat, this will make your manicure last longer and makes your nails stronger. It will also smooth your nails from any pits or grooves. Application of a base coat provides for a better adhesive for the nail varnish. Before applying the nail varnish, roll the bottle properly. Apply two thin coats of nail varnish rather than just one thick layer. Only use 3 strokes on each nail. The first should be one sweeping stroke in the middle of the nail, then one stroke on either side of the first stroke. Swipe the varnish across the tip and go round beneath the nail. This will help prevent chipping. Wait for the first layer to dry before applying the second layer. Once the second layer is applied wait for it to dry properly (around 30 minutes) before using your hands. You can also apply a layer of top coat to leave you with a professional, shiny look.

Finally, clean up any smudges on the outer edges of your nails using a cotton bud dipped in acetone-free nail polish remover.

Hand Care

Beautifully well-kept hands are important no matter how old you are, your hands tell a lot about you. Try to moisturise 4 times a day, especially after washing your hands. Keeping a moisturiser next to your sink will help you remember to use it each time you wash your hands. Exfoliate your hands once a week. You can also use your face exfoliator.

Always wear gloves when doing household chores or gardening. Washing up liquids and powders contain chemicals that will damage your skin so always wear protection.

Skin Care

Everything comes from the inside. Therefore an unhealthy skin is the result of an unhealthy body. Diet is an essential element when it comes to skin care in general. Drinking plenty of water with a balanced diet can have an amazing effect upon your skin. Of all drinks water is the best for you (recommended 8 glasses a day). Water also contains no calories so it will hydrate your body without gaining weight.

A balanced diet is also very important as saturated and refined sugars imply metabolic changes at liver and intestines level. These molecules produce a number of free radicals that are responsible among others of the dull aspect of the skin.

Meditation and maintaining a happy spirit without stressing, will not only have beneficial effects upon your mental state, but also upon your skin.
Pamper yourself once a week with a steam bath. Warm steam helps open up pores, eliminating toxins as well as making your skin softer. Exfoliate once a week to remove all the dead skin. This will help degenerate new skin cells and appear more soft and youthful.

Hydrate your skin after each exfoliate. You can achieve this with a hydrating cream which will help the skin regain its moisture and elasticity. Try and moisturise after each shower. This will also hydrate your skin from the dryness of winters cold air and the summers heat.