Tag Archives: Nail Care

The Benefits of Keratin for Hair and Nails

Portrait of woman

It is true that women will go to great lengths to achieve great lengths. There is little a woman won’t do in the pursuit of longer hair, nails, and lashes. She will glue, she will paint, she will invest, she will supplement, she will extend, she will photoshop. She will fight tooth and nail for nice teeth and strong nails, and she knows the value of a strong ally. Keratin is one of the toughest forms of biological mater. It gives the horse its hooves and the rhinoceros its horns. Why not use it to give you an extra edge?

What is Keratin?
Keratinocytes are living cells found in the skin that produce a protective layer that provides flexibility and strength and helps to keep water and other materials from getting to the skin. Keratin is the tough protein strand that provides these keratinocytes with their strength.

Keratin is found primarily in the skin, hair, tooth enamel and hair, and plays a role in protecting these body parts against harmful environmental factors. They allow hair and skin to be flexible and make nails, tooth enamel, and hooves of animals hard and strong.

Vegetables

Keratin Deficiency
Individuals with a keratin deficiency tend to experience slow hair growth, and the hair they already possess is usually weak and brittle. Lack of keratin may also cause weakness and discoloration of fingernails. While there are topical keratin treatments, the best sources for keratin, as is usually the case, are edible.

Fruits and Vegetables
Proteins from vegetable sources are absorbed in the body with the help of Vitamin C. This vitamin is also the basic building block of keratin. Peppers and Brussels sprouts are both rich in vitamin C, as are citrus fruits such as oranges and limes.
Biotin, or vitamin B7, is also a foundation for keratin building and plays a large role in the metabolism of proteins. Onions, cauliflower, and broccoli all have high concentrations of B7. Whole grains are another food source which encourages keratin generation.

Dairy

Meat and Dairy
Low fat dairy products contain amino acids that boost keratin production. Low-fat cheese, yogurt, and milk, will give your body a boost of keratin, as will meat. Fish, poultry, lean meats, animal liver and kidney are all protein rich meats that help to produce keratin.

Other Sources
There are also certain vitamins and minerals that are important for generation of keratin. Because of the high concentration of the protein found in sulfur, sulfur rich foods such as eggs, dried beans, kale and soybeans can all play a significant role in keratin development, as can beans, almonds and walnuts. Gelatin is a another food associated with increased keratin production, and can be found in frosted cereal, fruits jams, molded fruit salads and certain yogurts.

What do you think of keratin? Do you use it to your benefit? Let us know!

The Effects of UV Light On Your Hands

Woman getting a manicure

We’ve all heard about the harmful effects of UV rays and what it can do to our skin and eyes. But do you know that UV light is now becoming a regular part of the nail salon process? That’s right, ultraviolet radiation is what is used in the lamps that help speed dry nails, and they are actually necessary to set gel manicures. But exactly how harmful are these UV lamps to our skin and what can we do to prevent damaging effects?

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, these lights do emit UV radiation and it consists predominantly of UVA rays which has been linked to premature skin aging and skin cancer. However, the SCF goes on to say, even the most intense of these devices presents only a moderate UV risk. To put it in perspective, Jessica Wu, MD an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the USC School of Medicine offers this, based on a recent study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. “The researchers concluded that nail lamps would be safe to use for over 250 years of weekly manicures, and even then there would be a low risk of skin cancer.” Even so, it is best to play it safe, so here are some tips on how to keep your hands protected when under the fast dry lamps.

LED lamps and UV lamps-don’t let the names confuse you. They both emit UV radiation. However, LED lamps can be a bit safer. The amount of time spent under these lamps is directly related to how harmful their effects can be and LED lamps offer a faster dry exposing hands and nails to the light for mere seconds. LED lamps have also been known to treat signs of sun damage and generate new collagen in skin. Amy Sciarretto, fashion and beauty writer at Bustle.com recommends asking your salon what type of lamps they use before booking an appointment.

Other safety measures include making sure your hands are well moisturized and slathering hands in sunscreen 20 minutes prior to UV exposure. If the lamp your salon uses emits UVA rays, make sure your sunscreen has a UVA blocker like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and apply in a thick, even layer.

Of course you can always choose to air dry nails and limit your trips to the salon and/or the frequency of your gel manicures. (This may be safer all around as the removal process for gel manicures has been known to damage nails, making them thinner and brittle.) Another option it to wear dark opaque gloves cut off at the fingertips while having your nails treated under a UV lamp at the salon.

A final warning is that nail lamps used in salons are unregulated and may offer a higher dose of the UV light than what some studies may determine safe. That is why it is always a good idea to do your best to protect hands against worst case scenarios.