Claw Care: A Man's Guide To Healthy, Strong Nails, Hands & Feet

By Rachel Lamont
Spa Owner & Medical Esthetician

 

Don't get me wrong, I love a good, healthy strong paid of man mitts and I don't even mind a good-looking pair of man feet too! I even understand some callus is normal because it provides a healthy protection from all the hard work that you put your paws through day after day. Sandal season is upon us and I have seen some men's feet that I honestly wish I didn't! And make no mistake, men; I always see your hands and yes, I am judging! So if you won't come to the spa and let the professionals take care of you, then I will have to teach you the steps so you can at least attempt to at home! So this entire article is therefore dedicated to all you lovely beasts. I demand to see more beautiful, strong, man mitts that you would actually like to shake hands with, caress a beautiful face with, or comb through your hair (or a pretty lady's!) without getting caught on the calluses... because let's face it: There's nothing sexy about that!

So, I am committed to talking to my beautiful men out there; I'm here to give you some basic tips to help keep your mitts looking manly, but still soft and groomed. My goal with this article is to help you keep your hands and feet healthy, because not only will you need them for a long time, but I also want you to have a great experience next time your touch a woman! I want her to compliment you on your strong, soft hands and not gasp in horror - and pain! - when she feels your callused, scratchy and overgrown paws and hooves! Ok, so let's break this down for you:

 

Nail Care

Fingernails and toenails should be kept short in my opinion (unless you're a guitarist but this is a different matter entirely). I follow this rule with my own line of work as well, and because I enjoy gardening. The longer your nails are, the more likely you are to get dirt and debris caught under them. Personally, I like to trim my nails with a sharp, clean pair of large nail clippers every two weeks. I believe that you should not cut them right off. I recommend keeping some "free edge" or nail that has grown out from the nail bed to prevent ingrown nails; If you cut them too short, nails can become sore and tender, plus more susceptible to infection. By cutting your nails every two weeks, it will also prevent you from ripping them off, of (even more gross!) biting them! Yuck! By having a regular schedule for your nails, just like you do with your hair trims, it will help you to grow a healthy, good-looking set of man claws that the ladies will love! There is no excuse, men; a pair of nail clippers start at just $15.

Cuticles

Ok, I will preface this by saying that cuticle care is a little harder than nail care, but is still equally as important. If you need help from the pros, just come on in to the spa. Our qualified Esthetician's can even teach you how to perform at-home cuticle care and give you some pointers if you ask nicely. First of all, I have to say I have seen a lot of terrible looking cuticles on men! I have asked why and all of you say the same thing: You rip them off or you bite at them.... again...?! Yuck! So now I'll tell you of this great invention that was made a while ago called... "cuticle nippers!" They are a lot like nail clippers but specifically made for your cuticles! Please listen to me when I say I don't use cuticle nippers on your nails, or nail clippers on your cuticles. Trust me, you will be sorry. Rather, go out and buy yourself a pair of cuticle nippers; they don't need to cost you more than $15. You will want a new sharp pair, because the dull ones don't cut well and you will end up pulling your cuticles off anyway, or pinching yourself, which can both damage the nail bed. The rule that I like to go by is to only nip off the loose hangnail bits, and not the entire cuticle. Again, if you over cut your cuticle line, it will become sensitive, sore and susceptible to infection and bacteria. The cuticle line is there to protect the nail and to keep anything dirty or unhealthy out of it, so it is absolutely healthy to have some cuticle. On the flip side of that, hangnails that are left not clipped can become sore, irritated and unsightly. Ripping them off can also cause them to become sore and infected, so a clean sharp nip is the best option. If your cuticles are very overgrown, then you may want to come into the spa and let us give your nails a good once over to start you off on the right foot. This is a great chance for us to also teach you how to do this for yourself if you are feeling overwhelmed.

Underneath Your Nail

I'm making a separate paragraph for this because this is serious business and I need you all to take note! I say this is serious because the old rotten sock dirt we pick out from under your nails is alarming, and this is why: If you don't regularly clean out all the dirt, rotten skin cells and bacteria from under your nail, you are promoting the perfect environment for fungus to grow! That's right my male friends, I said... Nail Fungus!! So I simply suggest that when you are in the shower, use your fingernail or an appropriate tool and gently clean under all 20 nails at least once a week. This will ensure any possible fungus friends will not have the time to harbor and grow. If you take nothing else from this article, this is the one piece of advice I ask you to make sure you take home with you: Nail fungus can make you grow distorted nails, it can make your nails loose in their nail beds, and sometimes, even turn into a more serious infection that could affect the entire toe, not to mention some other really bad health implications and require a doctor's intervention.

Dry and Cracked Hands

Ok so I know ALL of you guys suffer from dry hands and that's why I'm here to help you. A good hand cream is important. A small, easy to carry and fast absorbing hand cream is best, like our travel size F-Balms, created by a mountain climber who always suffered from dry hands. This product is so convenient, it can even fit in your pocket and is perfect for during the day. Some people like to put a bit of cream on their hands after they wash them to retain the moisture. This isn't crucial but a good idea. At night, keep the richer salve by your bed and use it before you go to sleep. I keep mine on my nightstand. Who cares if your hands are a bit greaser when you go to bed? You will wake up with the softest hands in town! Make sure when you are using lotion on your hands that you rub it in well and don't forget to rub some into your dry cuticles and heals as well. If the moisturizer feels like it just can't get through your hard, dry callused limbs, try a sugar or salt scrub. These can be really helpful at removing dead skin so your cream can penetrate the dry spots. Remember that if your hands and feet are too far gone, sometimes the best thing to do is exfoliate them and get rid of the dead, dry wall that stands between you and the fresh moist skin underneath.

Calluses On Your Hands and Feet

Every man should have a heel callus pumice. If not, go get one! You can use it on the callused parts of both your hands and your feet, and sometimes it is useful to use it on your callused knees also. Sometimes when the callus is overgrown, it can split the skin and become very uncomfortable. The best way to prevent and treat this is to routinely pumice your feet. I wear heels a lot and that causes me some callus build up on my feet, so I like to pumice my feet 3 x a week. You might not be wearing heels, but don't try to tell me you don't have calluses on your feet, men! Make sure that you moisturize your feet well after a pumice; the new skin now exposed needs good hydration to be soft right after a good pumice. And remember not to go too deep. You don't want too much scraped off. You need some callus and the more active you are the more you may need, but always remember to keep it groomed and soft with no snaggly bits!

Basic Stretches For Healthy Hands and Feet

I was asked by one of my male friends to put some stretches for healthy hands into this article, so here are the basics I like to use: I like to begin with stretching my arm straight out, palms facing down. Use your other hand and grab your fingers to pull them up and backward, until you feel a gentle stretch. Make sure you don't overdo it and injure your wrist! This stretch will feel really good for the wrist and with all the holding and lifting that you do at work! When you've held this stretch for a minute or two, gently bend your hand back the other way and hold. You can do this to the thumb also and it feels equally great! I like to gently squeeze the forearm, wrist, hand and fingers as I hold this stretch. This will always feel great and helps to relieve tension spots and improve circulation. I also like to gently pull on my fingers, and if they crack it's OK; don't worry! Just don't jerk your fingers when you are doing this and don't pull too hard on them either. The same stretches can be done to the feet also. The other stretch that will feel great for the feet is sitting on the floor with your feet under you with your toes to the back of the room. Roll your toes under and try to sit on your feet to stretch out your arches. This may be tender to some but is necessary and may improve over time. This one is a killer for me because of my love for high heels! My advice with this one is being gentle and consistent. Do it a few times a week, breath through it and take your time. It's a great one for when your arches hurt or if you suffer from Plantar Fasciitis. This is painful swelling and tension in the feet. Lastly, when I really over-use my arms, hands, legs or feet, it feels good to soak them in cold and/or hot baths at the end of the night. Try it; it will change your life! I love putting my arms and hands in a nice ice bath at the end of a long, hard day. It feels like putting out a fire in your hands and makes me feel really good!

Of course, if any of this is too much for you, you can always book in for our Mountain Man-i-cure, the Gentleman's Pedicure or a Massage or Acupuncture appointment with one of our qualified practitioners! We are here for you whether you need a treatment or just some advice and are always happy to help.

 

Natural Home Remedy For Foot Fungus

Toenail fungus, also known as "Onychomycosis," is a bacterial infection underneath the nail. The fungus tends to flourish under certain conditions, such as abnormal pH levels of the skin, a weakened immune system, continuous exposure to a moist environment including sweaty shoes and socks, poor hygiene and diabetes. The good news about toe fungus is that it can be treated, even with a natural approach! Try this at-home remedy to improve and heal the condition.

 

Foot Soak

Water
Equal part Apple Cider Vinegar (equal to the water)
1/2 Cup Baking Soda
10 Drops of Tea-Tree Essential Oil
10 Drops of Myrrh Essential Oil

Mix the vinegar, baking soda, tea tree and myrrh essential oils into the water, then soak your feet for 15-30 minutes. While soaking, you can use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub the affected nail. After soaking, rinse your feet with clean water. To keep feet hydrated, coconut oil is an antibacterial way to obtain a clean type of moisture. Make sure they don't stay damp in closed shoes all day. You can also drop some tea tree on the affected nail in the morning. Wear a sock to bed to avoid getting tea tree oil in your sheets! You can also use a foot soak each night to help moisturize and treat fungus.

 

Vinegar - Is mildly acidic to prevent the spread of fungus, but it also kills the bacteria and fungi.

Baking Soda - Helps with foot odor

Tea Tree Oil - Controls infection

Myrrh Oil - Is antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-fungal

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Natural Home Remedy for Athletes Foot

Athlete's foot is a contagious fungal infection that affects the skin between the toes. The fungus thrives in warm, moist environments and is commonly found in showers, on locker room floors and around swimming pools. Athlete's foot can also typically be developed from wearing socks that haven't been cleaned properly and shoes that don't have an allowed time to dry out. Our shoes harbour a lot of bacteria!

 

Tips To Heal Athletes Foot

1. Thoroughly dry your feet after each bath or shower

2. Always wear clean white socks made from natural fibers. They absorb more moisture than synthetic materials.

3. Wear shoes made of canvas or leather to allow your feet to breathe during the day

4. Try not to wear the same shoes 2 days in a row as they need at least one full day to completely dry.

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Other Useful Recipes

Shoe Spray

In a spray bottle, mix half vinegar, half rubbing alcohol and 5 drops of Lemongrass and Tea Tree Essential oils. Spray this solution in your shoes at the end of each day to kill bacteria and prevent growth. You can also use the foot soak mentioned above.

 

Foot Odour

Foot odour usually occurs when your feet sweat inside your shoes or socks, therefore allowing a growth of bacteria. We all naturally have bacteria but it can feed on the sweat and dead skin cells, producing a foul smell. The foot soak below can help relieve you of unwanted food odour!

 

Foot Soak

Water
1/2 Cup Baking Soda
2 Black Tea Bags boiled in 3 cups of water
10-20 Drops of Lavender Essential Oil

Mix the baking soda and lavender essential oil into the water and soak your feet for 15-30 minutes. While soaking, you can also use a soft toothbrush or pumice to gently exfoliate the skin. After soaking, rinse your feet with clean water and be sure to thoroughly dry feet, especially before putting on socks and/or shoes.

 

Vinegar - Is mildly acidic to prevent the spread of fungus, but it also kills the bacteria and fungi.

Baking Soda - Helps with foot odor

Lavender Oil - Is very calming, soothing and antibacterial, with a great scent.

Black Tea - Is a Tannic Acid and helps kill bacteria and close pores, minimizing sweat the bacteria can grow on

 

Posted on June 16, 2016 .