The best way to care for nails is to trim them regularly. Filing is also recommended, as to keep nails from becoming too rough and to remove any small bumps that may cause the nail to get tangled up in materials such as cloth. Bluish or purple fingernail beds may be a symptom of peripheral cyanosis.
Nails can dry out, just like skin. They can also peel, break, and be infected. Toe infections, for instance, can be caused or exacerbated by dirty socks, specific types of aggressive exercise (long-distance running), tight footwear, and walking unprotected in an unclean environment. Common organisms causing nail infections include yeasts and molds (particularly dermatophytes).
Nail tools used by different people may transmit infections. Standard hygiene and sanitation procedures avoid transmission. In some cases, gel and cream cuticle removers can be used instead of cuticle scissors.Nail disease can be very subtle and should be evaluated by a dermatologist with a focus in this particular area of medicine. However, most times it is a nail technician who will note a subtle change in nail disease. Inherited accessory nail of the fifth toe occurs where the toenail of the smallest toe is separated, forming a smaller “sixth toenail” in the outer corner of the nail. Like any other nail, it can be cut using a nail clipper.
Biotin-rich foods and supplements may help strengthen brittle fingernails. A few small studies support biotin supplement use to that effect. One study in 35 people with brittle fingernails found that 2.5 mg of biotin per day for six weeks to seven months improved symptoms in 63% of participants. Vitamin A is an essential micro-nutrient for vision, reproduction, cell and tissue differentiation, and immune function. Vitamin D and calcium work together in cases of maintaining homeostasis, creating muscle contraction, transmission of nerve pulses, blood clotting, and membrane structure. A lack of vitamin A, vitamin D, or calcium can cause dryness and brittleness.
Insufficient vitamin B12 can lead to excessive dryness, darkened nails, and rounded or curved nail ends. Insufficient intake of both vitamin A and B results in fragile nails with horizontal and vertical ridges. Some over-the-counter vitamin supplements such as certain multivitamins and biotin may help in growth of strong nails, although this is quite subjective. Both vitamin B12 and folate play a role in red blood cell production and oxygen transportation to nail cells. Inadequacies can result in discoloration of your nails.
Omega-3 fatty acids can help lubricate and moisturize your nails, giving them a shiny appearance. These fatty acids may also reduce inflammation in your nail bed, which nourishes and promotes the health of cells that give rise to your nail plate. A lack of omega-3 fatty acids could contribute to dry and brittle nails. Protein is a building material for new nails; therefore, low dietary protein intake may cause anemia and the resultant reduced hemoglobin in the blood filling the capillaries of the nail.