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Healthy Hands -- How?

It's a good bet that your hands have done a lot of work today. You've reached out and grabbed a hundred things, you've bathed yourself, possibly washed your hair, used your hands to carry out your daily skin cleansing routine, washed the dishes, driven hither and yon and, if you work in an office, you've probably tapped at a computer keyboard on and off all day. The big question, of course, is, how do your hands look? Are they smooth and attractive, seemingly unruffled by the day's activities -- or have your activities gotten the best of them, leaving you with cracked nails and reddened, even chapped skin? You can be sure that people will notice, and while it's fine for a coal miner or farm wife to have hands like that, it's looked at askance in much of the modern world.

Keeping your hands healthy and attractive is going to require some work, but doesn't everything? There's no real secret to healthy hands: all you have to do is take good care of yourself, and pay your hands a little special attention. Fortunately, it's not all that difficult, time consuming or even expensive. Let's talk about your hands in general first. In a very real sense, how healthy your hands look will be a reflection of how healthy the rest of you is. You know the drill: eat healthy foods, keep your weight down to a reasonable level, and of course drink plenty of water. Also follow your Mom's instructions and wash your hands regularly, but be careful not to overdo it. As the most-used parts of your body, your hands are likely to get dunked more often than the rest of you, and usually that'll involve the use of detergents. Too much water and detergents will help dry your skin, and if you don't dry your hands well enough before exposing them to air, they'll get red and chapped. It makes sense to use gentler soap whenever possible, and to slather them liberally with a non-oily hand lotion regularly, to rehydrate the skin. Make sure that your cuticles get extra attention.

Your fingernails contribute significantly to the appearance of your hands. Healthy nails are important, and it behooves you to institute a weekly program of nail care -- which will probably take you all of 15-20 minutes a week. You can maintain good nail care by making sure you strip off old fingernail polish once a week, reshape your nails with a nail file or emery board, soak your nails in warn, soapy water, and then clean your nails carefully. After that, you can carefully reapply your polish. Whatever colors you prefer, a clean base-coat is recommended to help strengthen and protect your nails. We recommend that you avoid doing this more than once a week, though, since nail polish remover can be harsh to both your skin and your nails, drying them out very quickly. This can result in cracked and split nails, which are hard to fix. Always make sure that you wash your hands carefully after removing your nail polish, because you don't want the polish remover to stay with you any longer than necessary. To avoid the dryness than can result from using it, massage your hands and cuticles with moisturizing cream or hand lotion.

If you start out with damaged nails, it may take a few months for this kind of nail care routine to bring your nails to a state of robust good health, so don't expect changes to occur overnight. If you follow a routine regularly and nonetheless have problems with your nails -- that is, if they seem weak, or split for no reason -- then you should consider taking a vitamin called biotin. Although the evidence remains equivocal for humans at this point, it's known that biotin does a bang-up job of strengthening the claws of animals. Since your nails are made of the same material, the protein keratin (and are basically vestigial claws anyway), it just might work for you. You can buy biotin at health food stores.

A word about your cuticles, those little bits of skin that grown down onto your nails: during your weekly self-manicure, you may be tempted to push them back or trim them down. Don't. The cuticles serve a vital function by protecting the tissues of your nail bed, that blood-rich area under your nails that nurtures their growth. Damaging the cuticles can lead to nail bed infections, which can be nasty. It's best to leave your cuticles to your professional manicurist.

Speaking of which, for the very best nails, you should visit a professional manicurist every month or so. Not only is a professional manicure a nice way to pamper yourself, nails are the manicurist's bread and butter, so they know how to handle yours with both style and care. They're well worth the $20 or so you'll pay for your visit.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------If you are a business owner get listed at Best Personal Care Site, part of Localwin Network.
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