Autumn is my favorite time of year…changing leaves, cool fresh mornings, and dry, brittle fingernails. Wait, what?
Yes, Autumn in Wisconsin is the transitional season between Summer and Winter extremes. We go from so hot and humid that it’s unbearable; to so cold and dry that it’s unbearable.
Aside from all that, I really love my Wisconsin.
So yes, unfortunately, the cold, dry climate in Wisconsin can really wreak havoc on your fingernails. If you have problem fingernails to begin with, they will become more problematic in the dry air. If your nails are brittle and you have nail ridges, then you can really have a mess with nails cracking and splitting.
That would be me.
Some of the maladies we have with our fingernails are due to age, genetics, or possibly even health issues. Those issues will be mentioned here, but obviously treatment is better left to the professionals.
We may not be able to stop some of the other issues, but we can certainly find workarounds.
Common Nail Problems You May Encounter
As I alluded to above, some nail problems may be indicative of an underlying health issue. Conditions you should have checked out by your doctor include:
- Vertical ridges on your fingernails; ridges that run from side to side across your nails
- A dark, vertical stripe under your nail
- Discoloration of your nails not attributable to smoking or other activity
- Obsessive nail biting
- Extreme thickening of the nails
- Inflamed skin around your nails
Other problems with your fingernails are often attributable to aging or genetics. For example, I have had horizontal ridges, running from my cuticle to the nail tips, forever. The ridges become a big problem in the dryer months, because my nails tend to split up some of the deeper ridges. Another problem, dry and cracking cuticles. Lastly, we can’t fail to mention brittle nails.
However, we are not going to dwell on the problems. We are going straight to solutions!
How to Get from Brittle to Beautiful Fingernails
There are several easy things you can do to improve the appearance and health of your nails.
First and Foremost – Moisturize
There are so many ways you should be moisturizing your hands, cuticles and nails.
- Before bed, apply a light layer of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly to your feet and your hands. Wear cotton socks on both your feet and hands. Yes, it will look silly. There are moisturizing gloves you can buy for this purpose, but they are not without problems, so just go the safer, cheaper route. Make certain to wash the socks after every use to avoid build-up of nasty stuff.
- During the day, every time you think about it, apply hand creme to your hands, cuticles and nails.
- Purchase a good cuticle oil or use olive oil or other products you may have in your kitchen and massage the oil into your cuticles. Gently push your cuticles back with your finger as you massage in the oil.
- Keep your fingernails short – especially if you have a lot of ridges. When your nails are dry and brittle, they can split up the ridges or catch on things.
- When filing your nails, file in one direction only. Do not use a back and forth motion to take down the length. This weakens the nail.
- If you plan to apply nail polish, use a good base coat and ridge filler. Allow both products to dry thoroughly. This will give you a nice base to work with when applying your polish.
Other Miscellaneous Solutions
- East a well-balanced diet that includes the recommended daily allowances for vitamins and minerals.
- Drink plenty of fluids – water is the best. The amount of fluids we should be drinking seems to change daily but a good rule of thumb is dividing your weight in pounds by two to figure out how many ounces you need. For example, someone who weighs 150 pounds should consume a minimum of 75 ounces of fluids.
- To keep your cuticles looking their very best and healthy, maintain them in the shower. Your cuticles will naturally soften in the warm water of the shower. Cover your thumb, or finger, with the wash cloth and gentle push-back the cuticle to its natural position. Do this every other day and you’ll be amazed with your beautiful cuticles.
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