Monday, February 27, 2012

Taking care of Hands and Feet

Today's health and beauty buzz is on steps to a simple home Manicure and Pedicure.
  Going to the salon for manicures and pedicures on a regular   basis can become quite a costly affair. The basic manicure in my area costs around  $25-00. French polish is usually an additional $5-00 to $10-00 extra. Pedicures range anywhere from $30-00 to $60-00 depending on where you go.
There are many types of manicures and pedicures offered in top quality salons. Provided you go to a clean and sanitary establishment, it is certainly a relaxing experience and a great opportunity to treat yourself, family member or friend.

The advantages of the home manicure and pedicure:-
1. Keeps the cost down.
2. Cuts down on the possibility of infection or nail fungus
3. You can always get an appointment any time of the day or night!
4. Once you purchase the tools, you have them for many usages.
5. You can ensure that everything is hygienic and only used on "You".
6. You don't need to add in the extra cost of a tip.
7. Stagnant water remains in the jets of foot spas breeding bacteria. They are difficult to keep clean. Tests on the water in"client ready" spa tubs found bacteria that cause boils, skin infections, UTI's and even pneumonia. 75% of salons do not disinfect properly.

How to do a simple at home manicure:-
Firstly assemble everything that you are going to be using. You will need cotton balls, nail polish remover, nail scissors and clippers, cuticle clippers, emery board, orange stick, bowl of hot soapy water, 2 towels, cuticle remover, cuticle oil, rich emollient hand/ foot cream, base coat, top coat, colored varnish and quick dry. Make sure that all your nail equipment is clean and sterilized. Wipe it over with rubbing alcohol and store in a clean closed container.

1. Begin by removing all old nail polish. Thoroughly soak a cotton ball with remover and hold to nail for a few seconds to loosen polish. Wipe over nail until all polish is removed.
2. Shape nails to desired shape by using an emery board. Do not use metal files. They are damaging to the the nail. File nails in one direction only. Do not saw back and forth. The trend today is to generally have the nails squared at the tips. This tends to allow for less breakage. The edges may be slightly rounded if this is more desirable.
3. Soak nails in moderately hot soapy water for 10 mins.(squirt a little liquid hand soap into water). Remove hands from water and dry with a towel.
Pictures of  Sally Hansen Cuticle Remover Gel 1oz Tube4. Apply cuticle remover to the cuticles only, of both hands. I prefer the cuticle remover available in a tube with a nozzle at the end. Gently push back the cuticles using an orange stick. Do not use metal instruments if unskilled. Each time you do this, the condition of the cuticle will improve and become easier to maintain.
5. Rinse nails and with a towel, very gently rub the cuticle backwards towards the knuckles. Take sharp, clean cuticle clippers and gently clip any visible hang nails (pieces of loose skin) from the cuticles. Do not trim away too much of the cuticle itself. Be careful when trimming not to cut yourself. If you do, apply an antiseptic ointment. Dispose of the water bowl.
6. Apply cuticle oil to the nails and massage well into the cuticles. If you don't have cuticle oil, you can substitute with almond, coconut or any oil of choice. You can skip this step and apply a rich hand lotion to cuticles instead.
7.  Apply an emollient hand lotion and take a little time massaging it into palms, fingers, cuticles and the back of the hands. You can add a little more lotion to massage into arms and elbows if you wish.
9. Smooth edges of nails with the fine side of the emery board or a nail buffer block.
8. Wipe the nails over with a cotton ball soaked in acetone/nail polish remover. The varnish will not adhere to a greasy nail.
9. Apply one coat of base coat to nails of both hands. Let dry for a minute. Apply 2 coats of color allowing a few mins. to dry between coats. Apply top coat and allow to dry for 10 mins. (there are some base/top coat combo's available which may save on costs.)
10. Spray nails with 2 light coats of quick dry spray or paint on quick dry liquid.
11. Wait for at least an hour for polish to harden.

Take care of your hands by wearing gloves whilst gardening, painting, washing dishes and working with chemicals. Apply sunblock to the back of hands. Sunspots can be faded by using pigment creams, peeling of the hands and laser treatments. Keep skin firm and supple by using hand creams containing retinol.

The basic home pedicure is fairly simple especially if your feet are in good shape to begin with. If giving yourself both a manicure and pedicure, begin with the pedicure.

1. Remove all previous polish.
2. Fill a plastic tub large enough to comfortably accommodate your feet, with moderately hot water.  Add a little antibacterial soap/solution or a specialty foot soak to the water. Epsom salts is a great foot soak. Place foot tub on a large towel. Soak feet for 10 minutes. 
3. Place a towel on your lap. Remove right foot from water and dry. The left foot remains in the water. Clip toe nails straight across to desired length. File to smooth rough edges using an emery board or nail buffer. Place right foot back into the water and repeat this step on left foot.  *Toe nails should always be cut/filed straight across to prevent the possibility of ingrown toe nails.
Double sided foot file
4. Dry the right foot. Apply cuticle remover to the cuticles. Gently push back cuticles towards knuckles using an orange stick. Return right foot to water and repeat this step on left foot.
5. Dry right foot, gently pushing back cuticles with the towel. Carefully clip away any hang nails and cuticle which covers the nail. Less is best! Cutting away too much cuticle may cause bleeding and pain.
Apply callus remover to the heel of the right foot and to any other cracked dry skin on the underside of foot. Leave callus remover on for a maximum of 3 minutes. Rinse foot thoroughly and dry. You are still working on the right foot.  Buff away the calloused area on the underside of the foot using a foot file to remove the dead skin. Place right foot on the towel to the side of the tub. Repeat this step on the left foot. * My preferred foot file is the double sided foot file or a pumice stone available at beauty supply and drug stores.
6. Massage a thick nourishing cream well into the feet and cuticles. Concentrate on heels and rough spots.
7. Clean off nails with polish remover and follow the painting directions for the manicure.

For those of us who are rough on our hands and find it difficult to keep our nails looking good, help is at hand. There are a number of artificial alternatives.

1. Acrylic:- This method is the strongest and longest lasting. Nails can be lengthened by adding nail tips to the end of the natural nail and then secured by using a powdered and liquid acrylic product which hardens in a few minutes. Alternatively the acrylic product can be applies to the natural nail without lengthening. This product is strong and allows your own nail to grow longer without breaking. Nails will need to be filled at the cuticle area as the natural nail grows. This is typically required every 2 to 3 weeks depending on the speed of growth. This method can look thick, chunky and unnatural if not well applied.
2. Wraps:- This method uses thin pieces of fiber, silk or linen cut to the desired shape and then glued to the nail. This adds additional strength to natural nails, but is one of the least durable methods. They are also one of the most natural looking.
3. Gel Nails:- This method uses a gel substance which is painted onto the nail in a series of thin coats. After each coat, the nails are placed under a UV light so that the gel can cure. It is one of the more natural methods leaving the nails shiny. It is not as durable as acrylic and as with the above methods, needs to be filled every 2 to 3 weeks.
New research has shown that UV nail dryers have been linked to skin cancer on the backs of the           hands, aging of the skin and pigmented age spots. Use an SPF 30 containing zinc oxide on the backs of your hands before placing them under the UV lamp.

Downside to artificial nails:-
1. Expense:- Full set of acrylic nails costs in the region of $45-00. The fills cost around $27-00.
2. After removal of artificial nails, the natural nail is left thin and will be prone to breakage until grown out.
3. The fumes from
3. Infection:- Most nail infections are fungal and effect toe nails rather than finger nails. The nails have patches of white and yellow and are thickened and deformed in severe cases. Nail fungus is easily spread and can be contracted from communal showers, bathroom floors and dirty instruments used in manicures and pedicures.  
Nail fungus can occur when moisture is trapped between the natural nail and the acrylic. The artificial nails need to be removed, nails need to be trimmed short and a prescription obtained from your doctor for an oral anti fungal medication. People with compromised immune systems such as aids and diabetes patients due to poor circulation are at higher risks for fungal infections. Topical products include tea tree oil amongst many others. Consult with your doctor to prevent an incorrect diagnosis.

The Shellac Manicure:-                            

My Shellac Manicure
The shellac manicure is a new procedure promising long lasting, non chipping, glossy and smudge proof color. Shellac is similar to the gel nail application, but much more nail friendly. There is no damage done to the natural nail. The gel base coat is applied thinly to the nails like a nail polish. The hands are then placed under a UV light for 10 seconds. There are a number of very attractive, vibrant gel colors available to choose from. 2 coats of the color gel are applied to the nails curing for 2 minutes between coats and 2 minutes after the second coat. The UV top coat is applied and cured for a final 2 minutes. The nails are then wiped off with alcohol to remove any sticky residue. Cuticle oil and hand lotion can be immediately applied. You are ready to leave with no possibility of smudging your polish. The total time spent in the salon is around 30 minutes. The manicure should last round 2 weeks. The cost is $30-00 for a shellac manicure.
Removal of shellac is achieved by wrapping the nails in special wraps which have been saturated in acetone for 10 minutes.
The Shellac application is not as easy as it looks. The kits and lamps are sold in beauty supply stores under various trade names for home use. It takes a good amount of practise to achieve a professional finish.

Supplements which may aid in the treatment of brittle nails:-
Biotin-Results from a small study show that Biotin may help to increase thickness of brittle nails.
Silicon-currently marketed for improving hair, nails and skin. It is found in whole grains and some root vegetables.
Calcium, Cysteine, Iron, Zinc and Vitamin A are all considered safe when taken at the recommended doses.

*Do not take any medication including supplements without first consulting with your doctor.

Tip of the day:
Massage cream onto your hands and feet before bed.  Cover your feet with cotton socks and hands with moisturizing gloves to keep linen clean.. If you find the socks and gloves irritating, massage cream into hands and feet and remove excess with a piece of paper towel.

Stay healthy, happy and safe.

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