Look at your nails right now – what do you see?
Your fingernails – composed of laminated layers of the protein keratin – are horn-like envelopes covering the tips of the fingers and toes. Healthy nails are smooth, without splits, divots or grooves. They’re uniform in color and consistently free of spots and discoloration.
Are your cuticles dry or flaky? Do your nails differ in color or are brittle? Though you could easily fix some of these issues in a matter of minutes with a nail file or clipper, these are signs of poor nail health and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here Are Ways to Keep Your Nails Strong And Healthy:
Don’t cut your cuticles – they’re meant to be there to act as a barrier against bacteria. A safer alternative is to push your cuticles back using an exfoliating and waterless treatment.
Your nails aren’t power tools – when you bend, twist or pry something by your nails it’s a bad idea because you risk bending the nail back, among other potentially harmful things.
DO get manicures – though your wallet may not like it – manicures are actually good for your nails. Properly grooming your nails will make them healthier and pushing back your cuticles will build stronger nails. Nail polish also holds in moisture, which will keep it hydrated.
Wallet Tip – while at a salon, ask for a simple polish change, instead of a fancy manicure or pedicure. It’s less than half the price – you’ll just be skipping out of the massage, but if you could live without it, it’s a good bargain!
Be cautious of chemicals in nail products – That pretty shade of red or coral sitting on the salon shelf may look nice, but it could be loaded with hazardous materials or chemicals. Dermatologist Ava Shamban recommends using a chemical-free nail polish.
Keep nails and hands moisturized – you may not hydrate nearly as much as you should. Moisturize your hands with hand cream or cuticle oil every time you wash your hands,. Coconut oil also works well to soften cuticles, moisturize hands and prevent hangnails.
If you notice any significant changes in your nails, including swelling, discoloration or changes in shape or thickness, it’s best to contact your doctor or dermatologist. It could be nothing, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Remember to be kind to your nails – they’re fragile!