Written by Chrysta Lewis, Guest Blogger and Owner of Scarlet Edge Beauty
When it comes to health, how often do you think of pedicures and manicures? If you’re among the majority, it’s not too often. One of my missions is to break the stereotype of esthetics being just for “pampering” and help you understand that it’s about self-care. There are so many benefits to getting regular treatments that you’ll never have to wait for a special moment again.
Like the fine china that’s never used or your most special jewelry that you’ve only worn on your wedding day, spa treatments seem to carry that same stigma. Save it for a rainy day. Think back to the last time you had a pedicure, a manicure, a body treatment, a massage, a full make-over. Didn’t you feel amazing?! Some of you are smiling at the thought, some of you are saying “what’s a body treatment?” Hang in there, it’s coming…
Manicures help prevent cuticles from cracking which, in turn, prevents bacteria and dirt from seeping into cuts or broken skin causing a decrease in your immune system while your body fights off that bacteria. Manicures can also help in getting rid of toxins and prevent the signs of aging (don’t we all want that?!).
Many people don’t realize that you should be getting pedicures on a regular basis – which is usually every 6-8 weeks or minimally every 3 months. Again, it’s about consistent self-care rather than treating it as a luxury. Our feet move thousands of steps every day – an average person will have walked 115,000 miles in their lifetime – and rarely let us down. They perform these functions so well that we often only pay attention to them when there’s a problem and they begin to hurt – or they start scratching the bed sheets at night because they’re so dry! Ha!
Pedicures are more than just nail care. They can help increase circulation, keep your skin and cuticles hydrated and healthy, remove callouses and increase endorphins that make you happier. It’s also an important way for a professional to keep an eye on what’s going on with your health because many people don’t pay attention to their feet. It’s my job to let you know if there is anything that can hinder your health – this can be anything from plantar warts to fungus to athletes foot. These are all extremely common and yet can be treated with proper care and knowledge.
In my treatments, I assess your skin to see what’s going on. Do you have eczema or psoriasis? Are your hands very dry? Do you have a lot of hangnails? Are you a nail biter? What do you do for a living? All of these things help me to provide the right kind of treatment for you. I want this to be an enjoyable experience that brings value to your health and self-esteem and, as a trained professional, I can learn a lot about you through your hands, feet and nails.
Here’s a few things to know – what your nails are trying to tell you:
Rigged, Bumpy Nails
What it means: Something — trauma, inflammation, surgery, medication, or even a fever — has caused your nails to grow in a bit bumpy.
What you can do: Be patient. The imperfections will eventually grow out. As you wait, buff them to improve their shape, or use Ridge Filler to make them appear smooth.
Indented, Curved Nails
What it means: Called koilonychias, a flat or concave nail could result from a faulty iron metabolism where you create too much (hemochromatosis) or too little (iron-deficiency anemia).
What you can do: Talk to your doctor or naturopath. The curvature will likely grow out, but if it is related to an iron deficiency, they may prescribe a treatment plan.
What it means: If you’re a fan of painting your nails, breakage is all too common. The act of wetting your nails, drying them, and re-wetting them is a surefire way to cause them to crack. Plus, nail polish is full of chemicals, and acetone is particularly drying, both of which can cause fingernails to split.
What you can do: First, give your nails a break. Massage your nails with healthy oils such as coconut oil or a natural oil that does not contain mineral oils (so stay away from petrolatum products or most baby oils). Then, keep them hydrated and buffed. And if you’re frequently painting them, stick with a basecoat for an added layer protection.
What it means: White nails can pop up in a number of ways. If you have spots? Totally normal, healthy nails. However, newly all-white nails can be a symptom of kidney disease, liver disease, or other infections.
What you can do: If you have white spots, there’s no need to worry. But, if you have sudden onset all-white nails or white lines, check in with your doctor ASAP.
What it means: Discolored nails can be caused by a fungal nail infection or psoriasis. Nicotine and nail polish can also dye fingernails yellow. However, yellow nail syndrome — thickened nails paired with a yellow hue — can be a result of chronic bronchitis.
What you can do: If you smoke, stop. And if you’re an avid nail polish user, give your nails a break occasionally. However, if it’s fungal, your esthetician can suggest a product, such as Mykosept, that will clear it up without harsh medications.
What it means: A bacterial infection.
What you can do: go see your doctor. Estheticians are unable to work on nails with bacterial infections so they will suggest you come back after you’ve seen your doctor.
The last service I recommend is a body treatment. The benefits of these are outstanding and there are many different kinds of treatments. Not only is it extremely relaxing but you get a whole 60 – 90 minutes dedicated to making you feel good. Most body treatments include an exfoliation to get rid of dead skin cells and increase circulation, as well as helping to break up cellulite; you can get a mud or clay mask applied that helps get rid of toxins in your body, regenerates your skin, helps fight stress and allows your body to function at the best of its ability. Then I massage a deep moisturizer into your skin leaving you feel hydrated and relaxed. I’d recommend these every 2-3 months. It’s a great way to maximize a tan in the summer or before going on vacation as well because it’s getting rid of dead skin cells and increasing your body’s natural immunity. There’s also seaweed wraps and treatments available. I highly recommend these because of the skin-nourishing proteins they contain. They have vitamin A, C, D, E, P, K, B1, B2,B12, amino acids, trace elements, micro elements, and phyto hormones. Professional quality seaweed products have the ability to stimulate circulation and the flow of oxygen to the deeper layers of the skin which helps to eliminate toxins and increase the flow of nutrients. That’s a healthy 90 minutes, don’t you think?
So as you’re paying attention to living a healthy lifestyle, don’t forget to include manicures, pedicures and body treatments. I’m very conscious about the products I use on my clients and am happy to provide vegan, gluten-free, botanically based options in all my services. Keeping your skin healthy, which is your largest organ, is part of the whole package in the body-health connection.
Thanks to Cathy Ormon for allowing me the opportunity to be a guest blogger for her website. She has provided great information for making healthy choices and we’ve enjoyed many conversations about how to stay healthy.
Have a “beautiful” day!
Chrysta Lewis, Scarlet Edge Beauty
Published with permission from Chrysta Lewis, Scarlet Edge Beauty. Copyright © 2015 Chrysta Lewis – All Rights Reserved