|The following "Beauty At Any Age" advice comes from the November 2013 Issue of InStyle Magazine|
The Nail Files
Secrets to Strong Smooth Tips: Daily teeth-brushing? Check. Daily manicures? Maybe…in our dreams. Whether you hit the salon once a week or once a season, you can keep nails super-tough and snag-free with these handy pointers.
20s – School and work are major stressors—don’t take it out on your tips. Avoid picking at nails and cuticles (which can cause inflammation and infections), and get into the habit of rubbing moisturizing oil over them daily so they stay smooth. Also, resist switching your polish at the sight of every chip, says N.Y.C. dermatologist Debra Jaliman, as acetone-based removers can be drying. Try the CND Vinylux system; the color formula sticks up to a week without chipping and comes off with a few swipes of remover. ESSIE, Apricot cuticle oil, $8; essie.com. CND, Vinylux Weekly Polish System in Beau and Purple Purple, $10 each; cnd.com for salons.
30s – Like your skin, nails (which are made of keratin and water) “have a harder time holding on to moisture in your 30s,” Says N.Y.C. dermatologist Joshua Zeichner. In addition to applying a daily hydrating oil, make sure your base coat has strengthening proteins and moisturizing vitamin E, says Dr. Jaliman. When it’s tome to remove your polish, ditch the acetone and grab a solution that doesn’t contain this withering ingredient. OPI, Acetone-Free polish remover, $6/4 fl. Oz.; opi.com for salons. BARIELLE, Pro Nail Rebuilding Protein, $10; sallybeauty.com.
40s – As nails and skin become drier, you may notice your tips splitting. Twice a day, slather on a heavy-duty hydrator like Aquaphor; it contains petrolatum, an ingredient that “acts as a sealant to trap moisture,” says N.Y.C. dermatologist Chris Adigun. In this decade, nail growth slows down, so adopt a flattering “squoval” shape and paint on polishes in elongating nude tones. AQUAPHOR, Healing ointment, $6/ .35 oz. twin pack; amazon.com. SALLY HANSEN, Complete Salon Manicure in Almost Almond, $8; at drugstores.
50s and Over - The nail version of wrinkles? Ridges. As you age, the nail matrix (the area of cells under the base of nails that’s responsible for nail growth) can cause tips to grow more slowly and produce vertical ridges. Your Rx: Apply an ample base with tiny fibers to fill in valleys and even out surface. Your nails may also become thicker; if this causes discomfort, swap your daily moisturizing oil or ointment for a lotion with exfoliating lactic acid to hydrate and help dissolve the upper layer of keratin proteins. NAIL TEK, Foundation III Ridge Filler, $10; sallybeauty.com. AMLACTIN, Cerapeutic Restoring body lotion, $19; drugstore.com.
Look Before You Polish: Trust us: you don’t want to give these three body signals the brush-off. If you spot…
1) Nails separating from the nail beds: What it could be – a sign of psoriasis or infection.; What to do – Go to your doctor to test for psoriasis. Visit a dermatologist to check if yeast has grown in between your nail and fingertip, which may be a treated with an anti-fungal gel or a medicated soak.
2) Dark Streaks: What it could be – Areas of hyper-pigmentation or a tumor under the nail.; What to do – Whether they’re reddish or brown, show these types of blemishes to a doctor, who can determine whether you’re dealing with a harmless excess of melanin or a symptom of skin cancer.
3) Severe Yellowing: What it could be- Evidence of diabetes, lung disease, or a fungal infection.; What to do – Head to a doctor and test for diabetes and other diseases. A dermatologist can take a clipping of your nail and screen for fungus, which is treatable with a medicinal lacquer or an oral medication.