You can hide a bad hair day under a hat, but you can’t disguise unhealthy nails. From keyboard typing to weather conditions to what you eat, your nails are a reflection of your lifestyle. So how do you keep nails healthy? Here are the do’s and don’ts for keeping your nails in tip-top shape.
Thoroughly dry your hands after washing to prevent bacterial growth. Constantly washing your hands, washing the dishes, or cleaning can prompt nail beds to split, so put on a pair of cotton-lined rubber gloves when doing any form of housework.
Always moisturize. Apply moisturizer after washing your hands — don’t forget to rub the product into your cuticles and fingernails.
Keep nails neat and clean. Invest in a decent pair of manicure scissors or clippers to keep ragged cuticles at bay and nails at an appropriate length. Make sure to properly sanitize your tools after each use — rubbing alcohol will do the trick.
Add a protective layer. Apply a topical nail strengthening product to protect nails and encourage healthier nail beds.
Take a supplement. BioSil can help strengthen brittle and weak nails from the inside out.
Use harsh nail care products. Only use acetone-free remover and ‘three- free’ (no formaldehyde, toluene, or dibutyl phthalate) polishes.
Bite your nails. This includes picking at cuticles and tearing off hangnails. Not only can these bad habits encourage a bacterial or fungal infection, but they can cause damage to the nail bed, too.
Get a manicure or pedicure at an unlicensed salon. Make sure the establishment has a state license on display and employs licensed technicians. Look to see that all equipment is being properly sterilized — including the foot baths. Don’t let the tech remove your cuticles as this can lead to infection.
When To Seek The Help Of A Professional
If you have a new or reoccurring problem with your nails, definitely book an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist before it turns into something worse. Healthy nails are smooth and free from discoloration and ridges — though vertical ridges can appear with age. Red flags to look out for include: changes in shape (think curled), bleeding, swelling, nail loss, discoloration, thinning or thickening, and separation from nail and neighboring skin.