Thumbnail sketches

  1. IMG_7012For the past couple of years I’ve been suffering (although that’s a strong term for what is an inconvenient irritation at most) from a permanently split thumbnail.
  2. Of all the signs of encroaching old age that one might fear (creaking joints, high blood pressure, spreading waistline), grooved fingernails seems like something trivial, but when one of the grooves is so deep that the nail just splits and stays split, it’s a pain in the arse.
  3. The doctor was no help when I mentioned it (on an unrelated visit) some time ago. Just shrugged in a don’t bother me with your cosmetic problems kind of way. Then again, Doctors hate it when you try to get a two-for-one visit, don’t they?
  4. I have never looked after my nails properly. Never had a manicure, never looked after the cuticles, and often suffered from hangnails and the like.
  5. The grooves, I thought, might be caused by something like lack of iron, but I really don’t think I’m anaemic. So it was probably age or something, but why does age punish me with a split nail?
  6. Keeping it short stops you from catching in on random objects and splitting it even more, but when you forget, it can literally be anything: pulling on a glove, opening the car door, pottering in the kitchen or garden.
  7. It’s a nail of two halves.
  8. I’ve tried all kinds of products. A cosmetic groove filler, plus a supposedly nail strengthening varnish, plus a nail strengthening liquid, for example. I’ve tried products for brittle nails, damaged nails, and even nail fungus. Nothing seems to work.
  9. (My conclusion with the nail products thing is that they are mostly nonsense, though I will admit my nails seemed less brittle and flaky after all this treatment.)
  10. The last time I caught the slightly-too-long nail on something and split it badly was so severe (and quite painful) that even now, weeks/months later, my nail has what looks like ingrained dirt trapped underneath it. It might be oil, or the black stuff I painted on the garage roof the other week, or dried blood, or, you know, dirt.
  11. I finally read something that seemed to make sense, which indicated that the cause of this kind of thing is trauma to the nail matrix (maybe I hit it with a hammer or whacked it in a door), as well as dehydration of the nail or cuticle.
  12. The same article indicated that the last thing you want to do with splitting nails is use nail strengthening solutions. Oh.
  13. IMG_7006So I’m trying on last time with a range of products to moisturise and feed and repair. I have a range of Nailtiques products in a sampler set (£30!), which includes moisturiser for cuticles, nail bed, hands, (feet), a protein to paint on, and a nail oil (which seems a bit like Olbas oil).
  14. Nails grow at 3mm per month, it says here, so I’m guessing I need to keep this up for three, four months to see if anything good happens – in the meantime, keeping my nail as short as possible to avoid catching it on stuff.
  15. This is my life now.
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