Home Fitness Skin & Beauty Face & Body Hands Feet & Nails

Hands, Feet and Nails

pretty hands

Many people end up neglecting the proper care of their hands, feet or and nails during the rush to get ready in the morning or get to bed at night. Although it is common, proper care of these portions of the body is essential to a healthy lifestyle. While hands and feet need to be washed daily, the finger and toe nails of each extremity require no more than a single session every week.

Caring For Your Hands

People often do not realize how important it is to wash their hands every day. In fact, regular hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent bacterial diseases and skin conditions.

You come into contact with millions of bacteria every day, usually by touching something with your hand. People that bite their nails may expose themselves even further to illnesses that are transmitted through physical contact.

Chewing finger nails is not the only way to contract illnesses that are picked up by the hands. Even the simple act of scratching your skin or rubbing your eyes can transmit harmful bacteria. In order to minimize the risk of exposure to such bacteria, be sure to wash your hands after sneezing, before eating and after using the bathroom.

In addition, try to make it a standing rule to wash your hands after coming into contact with anything that is dirty or even porous (as objects with many tiny holes can contract large amounts of bacteria very easily).

When washing your hands, follow these simple guidelines:

  • Use water that is hot but not too hot as it may damage or irritate skin.

  • When washing your hands, use soap or a general cleaner (preferably one low in alcohol) and lather for 15-20 seconds.

  • Do not neglect the area under the finger nails and between each finger when washing your hands. You should also wash up to the elbow to ensure that no germs on the arms later come into contact with the hands.

  • After you finish lathering your hands and arms, rinse them off with warm water and dab them dry with a soft towel or an air drying device. For the protection of your skin, avoid rubbing them to vigorously with a towel.

As mentioned before, there are many situations when hand washing is necessary. Some things that absolutely require you to wash your hands to avoid sickness include:

  • Prior to consuming or cooking food

  • After a visit to the bathroom (Males may also want to wash their hands before as well)

  • After doing any form of cleaning

  • After petting or otherwise touching a pet or other animal

  • After coughing, blowing your nose or sneezing

  • Any activity done outdoors may require a hand washing

Caring For Your Feet

pretty feet

Caring for your feet is absolutely essential. You use your feet in nearly every daily activity that you perform and conditions that can develop from improper foot care can not only be very uncomfortable but, over time, crippling as well.

There are a great deal of things to consider when maintaining foot health. Feet can get very dirty during the course of a day and this dirt can clog pores. In addition, the fact that feet are normally closed off by socks and shoes can cause them to sweat a great deal more than other portions of the body. Foot washing is actually part of some religious beliefs. In the period commonly referred to as biblical, some sects wash feet as a symbol of devotion.

The origins of this custom are actually quite clear and revolve around health. By washing feet (and sometimes applying oil) people remove dirt and unclog pores while rehydrating the skin. The skin on the feet needs to be washed just like any other portion of the body so that it can breathe.

Follow these simple tips for optimal foot health:

  1. While you shower, wash all portions of your feet. This includes the top, bottom, ankle and between the toes.

  2. Do not forget to wash the area under your toe nails. This can be a haven for dirt and bacteria.

  3. Consider using a separate bar of soap to clean your feet if you are uncomfortable using the same soap for your feet as the rest of your body.

  4. Thoroughly dry your feet after you are done washing them. Moisture that is left behind can cause bacterial infections and irritation like athlete's foot.

  5. If your feet are dirty, consider washing them with a wet cloth if there is no time for a shower.

  6. Keep your shoes in good condition. Many conditions in the foot are the result of poor or worn shoes. Some conditions may include calluses, blisters and rolled ankles.

Caring For Your Nails

pretty nails

Whenever you wash your hands and feet, you should wash their respective nails. There are even brushes specifically designed to clean finger and toe nails.

Of all the areas on your extremities, the area below and around your nails is the most receptive to bacteria as they have a warm, moist and dark place to flourish. However, proper nail care goes beyond simply washing them.

An additional consideration in support of optimal nail health is regularly clipping or trimming them. The best time to do so is immediately after a shower or bath.

If it is time to clip your nails and you have not had a shower, nails should be soaked in water for a couple of minutes. Not doing so can cause nails to split or break off unevenly when cut.

Follow these basic tips when cutting your nails:

  • Avoid cutting your cuticles. These portions of your nails are there to protect the area under the nail from an infection.

  • If you experience an overabundance of hangnails, their presence might be indicative of a lack of moisture. Use a non oil based moisturizer to alleviate the dryness that often causes hangnails.

  • After clipping your nails, give them a chance to dry before using a nail file. Filing your nails will give them a smoother texture and can prevent some cuts and scrapes that could result from sharp nail edges.

  • If you use nail polish, ensure that your nails are dry and clean. Use two coats of polish to prevent the nails from breaking throughout the day.

Nail Biting

nail biting

More than half of the United States population regularly bites their nails. While nail biting can be an extremely addictive activity and, although not as dangerous as smoking, can be very difficult to quit and can lead to several illnesses.

Nail biting is typically a nervous condition that arises in children under 10 but normally subsides by the age of 30.

Biting your nails can introduce your mouth to bacteria, cause cuts on your fingers that can get infected and reduce the physical appearance of your hands.

If you do bite your nails, consider these tips to quit:

  • Maintain well trimmed nails.

  • Try a clear nail polish that is almost invisible. The taste can be a deterrent.

  • Nail biting can be an indication of stress. Use some stress reducing exercises to possibly help with nail biting.

  • Some people have had success with gum.

  • A few people have cited negative reinforcement as a treatment. Snapping a rubber band that is around your wrist (lightly of course) can be a helpful reminder whenever you begin to bite your nails.

When many individuals typically think of living a healthy lifestyle they think of their health and fitness. While this may be true on the surface, proper care of your hands, feet, and nails are essential to living an overall well-balanced lifestyle. This being said, it is important to view a healthy lifestyle from a broader perspective that includes all aspects of good health, fitness, and mental well-being - hands, feet, and nails included.