Our nails are the protective coverings over the tips of our fingers and toes. They may seem like an afterthought to our bodies, but think of all the times you stub a toe or pinch a finger, and you’ll know just how important nails are to keep us from losing out digits altogether!
However, nails are also prone to quite a few illnesses and accidents. They can form clots and become black when they suffer an injury. They can develop fungal infections. It is not ideal to treat every nail ailment with medication, in which case natural remedies come to the rescue. Here, we list out a few nail problems and natural ways to treat them.
Natural Ways To Treat Nail Problems
1. Nail Fungus Can Be Treated With Citric Acid
A fungal nail infection is pretty easy to catch, especially from dirty swimming pools, wet areas or from sweat boots. The nail begins to turn white and may hurt as well. Fungal nail infections spread very quickly to other nails as well.1 It is very important to treat a fungal infection in the nails very quickly. Iodine solution which is commonly available over the counter is an effective treatment. You can simply dab the solution after diluting it as prescribed. Iodine stains the skin.2
Citric acid is considered to be highly anti fungal in nature. It can be used as an application on the infected toenail. You can put on a patch of citric acid every day until the fungal infection heals completely.3 Coconut oil is another excellent, easily available anti fungal agent. For mild fungal infections that are just beginning to appear, applying coconut oil is a safe natural remedy.4
2. Biotin Supplements Controls Brittle Nail Syndrome
Brittle nails are an indication of biotin vitamin deficiency in the body. In general, being made up of keratin makes nails some of the strongest protective agents we have on our bodies. In cases of severe vitamin deficiency, they become brittle and break easily.
Using a 2.5 mg supplement of biotin every day helps to relieve this symptom. Other supplementation with nutrients has not shown similar effects,5 so popping pills for nail health is virtually useless. Applying blackcurrant oil to brittle nails can help make them stronger to an extent.6 However, supplementation with biotin is the only way to treat the problem entirely.
3. Nail Ridges Can Be Treated With A Massage
Most of us have ridges on our fingernails, but did you know that there is something else involved behind their development? Longitudinal ridges on the nails are considered to be usually harmless and are a result of daily wear and tear. Horizontal ridges can occur due to nail trauma or even due to underlying acute infections. Ayurveda recommends regular nail care to spot these ridge patterns and to identify underlying causes. A simple massage of the hands and fingers is prescribed as an invigorating regimen.7
While most nail ailments and conditions are easily treatable at home, those with diabetes should never ignore an infection in the nails and immediately visit a podiatrist to guide them further.
|↑1||Nail fungus. American Academy Of Dermatology.|
|↑2||Monahan, Elmer P. “Topical solution and method for the treatment of nail fungus.” U.S. Patent 6,264,927, issued July 24, 2001.|
|↑3||Maley, Joseph C. “Treatment modality and method for fungal nail infection.” U.S. Patent 6,921,529, issued July 26, 2005.|
|↑4||Ogbolu, David Olusoga, Anthony Alaba Oni, Oluwole Adebayo Daini, and A. P. Oloko. “In vitro antimicrobial properties of coconut oil on Candida species in Ibadan, Nigeria.” Journal of medicinal food 10, no. 2 (2007): 384-387.|
|↑5||Scheinfeld, Noah, Maurice J. Dahdah, and Richard Scher. “Vitamins and minerals: their role in nail health and disease.” Journal of drugs in dermatology: JDD 6, no. 8 (2007): 782-787.|
|↑6||T. Weil, Andrew. Natural Health, Natural Medicine. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004.|
|↑7||Inglis, Kim. Ayurveda: Asian Secrets of Wellness, Beauty and Balance. Tuttle Publishing, 2012.|