Finger and Toe Nails

Over the course of a few months, the physical contour of a fingernail or toenail can be modified by cutting the nail in a specific pattern. So if you suffer ingrown toenails, if you contend with fungal infections of the toe nail because moisture gets trapped under arching nails, if you are a classical or flamenco guitarist that is challenged to produce a pure sound due to concave (spoon-shaped) nail growth, or if you merely wish to grow more attractive fingernails, the following guide will help you permanently reshape your nails...that is, as long as you continue to cut and file your nails in the pattern that I have illustrated below.

IMPORTANT: During the initial phase of reshaping concave (spooned) fingernails, you will need to keep the nails dry at all times; since nails tend to arch when drying. Apply nail polish or use latex gloves with a rubber band around the wrist in the shower to stop water from getting inside the glove. But be careful not to constrict blood flow to the hand: use a rubber band that fits comfortably.

Cutting the nail to an oval (pointed) shape and maintaining the pointedness every few days with a file adds geometric strength longitudinally (fig.1). Below--from left to right--a bird's eye view of the oval nail shape; a view from the end, showing the nail growing round; and a view from the side, showing the concave form, growing down over the end. If your nails are already shaped convex, filing the nail to a point will cause some narrowing of the nail. Reshaping the nail to convex form too rapidly may cause the nail to lift from the nail bed, creating a pallid nail-bed. Changing the physical form of the nail requires time and patience.

Figure 1

The width of a nail can also be modified. Letting a nail grow long will cause the edges to

track the ridge at the sides. If the ridges are naturally narrow, the nail will grow narrow.. To

grow longer nails without narrowing, file the corners round every 2-3 days, so that the end

of the nail will be free from the influence of the ridges.

Apply one or two coats of nail polish to protect the nail from soaking in water, such as when washing dishes, taking a shower or bath. Nails have a tendency to curl when drying out . Men may use a clear, satin nail polish that is not conspicuous, if the idea of wearing nail polish elicits any emotional discomfort.