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Today in Health & Wellness
MATTERS OF FACT

Nails and Aging

"How aging affects the nails"
By: Vanessa ValenzuelaNails and Aging

Your nails are also affected by aging. Normally, your fingernails and toenails grow about 3 millimeters per month, but when you start to approach the golden years, their growth rate begins to slow down. Not only that: the nail you produce can look dull, thicker, more yellowish, more “cloudy,” and more brittle compared to when you were in your 20s. Ingrown toenails may become more frequent.

Sometimes, your nail surface begins to form lengthwise ridges. Though more often than not, it is a normal side-effect of aging, other nail changes such as pitting, crosswise ridging, and change in color can be caused by underlying medical conditions like vitamin deficiency, kidney disease, trauma (due to injury), and infection. Visit your doctor and have yourself checked out if you notice any of these changes.

Meantime, here are some nail-care tips:

1.  Eat healthy. Vitamin deficiency can be easily reflected in aging nails. Vitamin B7 or Biotin is often the vitamin recommended to address brittle nails. Calcium is another important nutrient. If you think you’re not deficient in calcium, perhaps you need more vitamin D, which aids in absorption of calcium.

2.  Have your nails filed and buffed to even out ridges or uneven cuts. Do not overdo it, though, as nails can easily get very thin and more susceptible to breakage.

3.  Exposure to harsh detergents and bleaches can cause nails to lose their strength. Better wear protective gloves before doing house chores to save your already brittle nails from further damage.

4.  Moisturize aging nails with lotion or jojoba oil to keep them healthy. This is also a good time to massage them for a few minutes to improve circulation in your fingertips and allow healthier nails to be produced.

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