Nails, their care and possible diseases

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Everyone can have nice nails as long as they give them the right care

Caring for your nails

Caring for your nails is very easy, you just need to keep them clean well manacured and supple

Tips in nail care

1. When you use your hand cream rub some into your cuticles to keep them nice and supple, (you can also use cuticle oil)gently massaging the nail matrix will stimulate nail growth

2. When filing your nails only file in one direction rather than going back and forth as this can damage the free edge and cause it to split

3. When polishing nails always use a good base coat, this prevents staining from your polish and also helps the polish to adhere to the nail. Also make sure you use a top coat, this protects the polish and makes it last longer, reapply your top coat every two to three days to prevent chipping.

4. Always wear at least a top coat on your nail if you don't have time to polish them, this protects the nail and adds strenght


The Proximinal Nail Fold

This is right at the back of the nail and is formed of skin this skin fold protects the matrix against germs and dirt.

The Matrix

This is the root of the nail. It produces a protein called keratin, this is the same protien that makes your hair. As more and more keratin cells are produced the old cells get pushed forward thus producing your growing nail.

The Eponychium

Often mistaken for the cuticle, it grows along with the nail plate and is often pushed back during a manicure, it's job is to protect the matrix.

The Ptygerium or True Cuticle

This is dead skin cells that build up over time as the nail grows. These skin cells should be removed on a regular basis to prevent a build up.

The Lunula

This is the half moon that is visable at the base of the nail. They are made up of keratin cells that have not completely lost their content and have not yet been fully flattened. These tend to be more promonant on the thumb, although not everyone has visable lunulas. The shape of the lunula dictates the shape of the free edge (tip) of the nail.

Nail Diseases


This is caused by bacteria entering the proximinal nail fold, which normally acts as a barrier between the nail plate and surrounding tissue. It causes pain, redness and swelling of the nail fold and is also highly contagious. If you have your hands in water for an extended period of time you my be at risk of this disease.


This is an infection that occurs between the nail plate and nail bed, or if you wear artifical nails it can happen between the articial nail and the nail plate. Pseudomonas like to be in warm damp places. If the infection has gone deep enough it can result in the nail plate lifting from the nail bed. It is usually charactorized by a green discolouration to the nail plate.


This is a fungal or yeast infection. It normally gets into the nail via a tear in the eponychium, proximal and lateral nail folds. It appears white or yellowish in colour and can also change the shape and texture of the nail plate. The fungus or yeast digests the keratin protein that the nail plate is made up of. If left untreated it will cause the nail plate to crumble and detach from the nail bed.

Tinea Unguis

This is a type of ringworm, it causes the nail to thicken and deform it's shape, it can result in the loss of the nail plate


This causes the nail plate to waste away, making it become smaller and in some cases it will shed. It's often caused by injury or infection.


This occurs normally as a result of truma, it thickens the nail plate giving it a claw like appearance. It causes the nail plate to curve inwards pinching the nail bed, making it painful, surgery is often needed to alieveate the pain.


These are nails that often split vertacally and are brittle, it's generally the cause of using strong solvent soluctions, in cleaning products.

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