28 Jan 2019
Finger and toe nails perform an important function; they’re not just there for cosmetic purposes. Their physiological purpose is to protect the sensitive nerve endings at our finger and toe tips. Our spa therapists in Hereford explain why paying attention to the health of your nails is so important.
Finger nails also help us to perform tasks such as opening things and scratching. The tasks that our nails perform and the protection they provide, can result in damage and deformity. Poor nail health can also be an indication of underlying medical conditions.
Common nail disorders to watch out for include:
A healthy nail plate is transparent with a healthy pink nail bed visible underneath. The nail tip will appear white as it grows off the nail bed. Discolouration of the nail plate can be caused by:
A fungal infection
Nail polish – pigments in the varnish are absorbed by the nail plate
Nicotine from cigarette smoking
Home hair dyeing as the dye is absorbed by the nail plate
Injury to the nail bed
Detached nail plate
A lifting nail plate will appear white where it has detached from the nail bed. This can be caused by:
A fungal infection
Cleaning too harshly under the fingernails
Nail polishes that contain hardening chemicals such as formalin/formaldehyde
Aggressive removal of artificial nails
These are commonly called ‘milk spots’ as it was thought they were an indication of calcium deficiency.
Although a lack of calcium can make the nails weaker; white spots are in fact tiny air pockets in the layers of the nail plate, usually caused by a minor blow to the nail.
Ridges running either the length or width of the nail plate can have a number of causes:
Trauma to the nail matrix (beneath the cuticle)
Rough treatment to the cuticles
Fever or illness
Peripheral vascular disease
Lichen planus infection
This condition involves the nail plate splitting or layers lifting apart as it grows off the nail bed. Splitting can be caused by:
Having constantly wet hands especially when using soap and washing detergents
Frequently using and removing nail polish
Continuous mild trauma such as drumming fingers or using the nails as tools
Pitting and grooves (Beau's lines)
Illness, injury or cold temperatures can interrupt nail growth and cause nail grooves to form at the base of the nails.
As nails grow quite slowly, the grooves tend to only be noticed a few months later as the nail has grown forward.
Trauma to the nail
A blow to the nail or compulsive nail biting can cause a range of problems including:
Bruising of the nail bed
Lifting of the nail plate
Loss of the nail plate
Deformed growth of the nail plate if the nail matrix is injured
Most nail disorders are only temporary and will grow out with the nail. There are some steps that can be taken to prevent damage occurring and improve the condition of your nails:
Regular use of hand cream and a conditioning nail oil will replace lost moisture and strengthen the nail plate
Use a base coat to protect the nail plate from staining caused by dark nail varnish
Use a strengthener to bond the layers of the nail together
Lightly buff the nail plate to remove ridges and staining
Keep damaged nails short whilst the damage grows out
So now that you know the best ways to keep your nails in their best shape, why not treat them to a Manicure at Holmer Park?
Our Prescriptive Therapeutic Manicure is a luxurious treatment for the hands that strengthens and conditions. It is finished with a massage on your lower arms and a nail polish of your choice. This is a 45-minute treatment and costs £37.
To book a treatment, please call our spa team on 01432 370 222 or complete the form below.
Or call our reception team on 01432 370 222