One area of personal appearance that often goes woefully ignored is the hands (and feet). Yet, our hands
are quite often our most visible and active feature when dealing with others. You use your hands to hold a pen for signing credit card slips,
or to pass money, etc. And even when the hands are cared for, it is as often as not, improperly. Improper hand and nail care can lead to split
cuticles, hangnails and general roughness.
And I'm not just talking about women in this discussion of hand and nail care. Men are just as needful of
learning to properly care for their hands. There is no reason for a man not to keep himself properly groomed. In fact, I would go so far as to
say that it is pointless for a man to try and dress nicely unless he plans to fully care for his appearance. That includes regular manicures
The hands are our main tools for interfacing with the world around us. They allow us to use the tools we
need to perform our jobs, feed ourselves, and communicate with others around us. Women are expected to have smooth skin and clean hands and
nails, but some men feel that this isn't as important for them. There is nothing that says more about a man than the way he shakes hands. And
yet just because a firm handshake is a sign of a strong man, there is no reason for the hand in question to feel like sandpaper or stone.
There are simple rules to taking care of your hands. Apart from nail care, which we'll cover in just a
moment, there are two things to remember whether you are a man or a woman: One: Keep your hands clean. Wash your hands as often as necessary to keep them clean, regardless of your
profession. Remember that various items you come in contact with can leave a residue on your hands whether or not it is visible. A good product
to keep on hand is a hand sanitizing gel. This isn't for fear of some risk of infections or germs, but rather because these products offer a
handy solution to hand cleaning and offer a pleasant fragrance that will remove residual odors. Two: Use a lotion or hand cream to keep your hands soft and your skin smooth. This is no longer just a
woman's issue. For women, there are countless products available for you, and men will be gratified to know that there are now products produced
and marketed specifically for men featuring masculine fragrances as well as products that have gender neutral scents.
The nails of the hands and feet are made of keratinized protein that grows in a small region at the tips of
the fingers and toes. If you look carefully at the nails of your fingers you will see the basic parts of the nail's anatomy.
The white area of the nail that (if left untrimmed and unbroken) grows to extend past the tips of the finger
is called the free edge.
The area of the nail that is still attached to the finger and seems to extend back under the fold of skin
is called the nail plate.
At the base of the nail plate, where the skin folds over the edge of the nail, you will often see a whitish
semi-circular shape under the nail. This is called the lunula, because of its resemblance to the crescent moon. The lunula is the portion of
the matrix bed (from which the nail is formed) that is visible.
And the fold of skin that overlaps the nail at its base is the cuticle (also called the eponychium). The
purpose of the cuticle is to protect the matrix bed from contaminants and infection.
At the base of the nail, beneath the cuticle and as part of the matrix bed are tendons to anchor the nail in
place and blood vessels that carry nutrients and moisture to the nails allowing healthy growth.
For both men and women, basic nail care is the same. Keep your nails clean, trimmed and filed to a length
and in a shape that you find comfortable and pleasing. For some women this means long, claw-like talons, while for others it means short and
serviceable. Men, on the other hand generally prefer short, and some prefer their nails to be trimmed very short - to the point where there is
very little, if any, free edge visible.