Do's and Dont's for Healthy Nails

Ridges, dents, or areas of unusual color or shape are some of the common nail problems.

Updated: February 2, 2019

Although some of the nail problems are due to underlying condition, many of them are due to poor nail care. Ridges, dents or areas of unusual color or shape are some of the common nail problems.

Fingernails are composed of laminated layers of a protein called keratin, grow from the area at the base of the nail under your cuticle. Healthy fingernails are smooth, without pits or grooves. They are uniform in color and consistency and free of spots or discoloration. Sometimes harmless vertical ridges that run from the cuticle to the tip of the nail are developed from fingernails. These vertical ridges tend to become more prominent with age. Fingernails can also develop white lines or spots due to injury, but these eventually grow out with the nail. Follow the below mentioned habits for amazing nails:

Keeps your Hands Clean:

It is important to make sure your nails and the skin around them are thoroughly dirt-free. Then remove all traces of your last color with an acetone-free remover.
Applying soap to a toothbrush and gently scrubbing your nails and skin will remove dirt and exfoliate any dead skin without the need for harsh, drying chemicals or expensive scrubs.

Scrub Your Nail Gently:

As your nails are very delicate, scrubbing them too roughly can actually expose you to infection. Using metal nail tools under the nail will cause it to separate from the skin, leading to an irregular white arching nail tip. This is because of too much digging under the nail plate.

Trim Your Nail Regularly:

Regular trims of nails are as important as they are to your hair. So clip them every two weeks or as and when required.

Keep Your Nail Short:

Long nails looks beautiful. However if your nails are too prone to snags or breakage, it is recommended to keep it short. A shorter style with a rounded edge is easier to manage and looks neater. If you keep the nails short, you can focus on building strength without worrying about anything else.

Do Not Cut The Cuticles:

The cuticle seals the area at the base of the nail. So when you cut or remove the cuticle, it breaks that seal of protection, leaving you vulnerable to bacteria and the possibility of infection. Gently pushing back the cuticle once a week with a wooden orange stick after getting out of the shower, then massaging them with a cuticle cream or thick, creamy lotion is recommended.

Disinfect Your Nail Tools:

Disinfecting your nail tools between uses is just as important as regularly cleaning your makeup brushes to protect against bacteria. Washing metal tools with soap and water and then wiping with rubbing alcohol is recommended to keep your nails happy and infection. Also don't forget to regularly replace disposable tools like emery boards. Avoid continue using a tattered tool as it is so easy to rotate in a new one.

Use Base Coat While Painting Your Nails:

Putting a base coat while painting your nails at home not only protects the nail from being stained by the polish, but also helps the color look more saturated and opaque with just one coat. Adding a coat of clear gloss between each layer can add extra shine and protection.

Read The Labels While Buying Nail Paints:

While choosing nail polish brands make sure to buy a good product that doesn't contain containing toxic chemicals like dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, and toluene, as these toxins can contribute to brittleness, splitting, and cracking.

Seal The Nail Polish with A Top Coat:

As the top coat seals in the polish's color and adds a much-needed gloss finish to your nails, it is recommended to add another top coat layer every three days to decrease chipping. This way you don't have to spend more time painting your nails as it lasts for few day.

Indulges In Acrylic or Gel Treatments Sparingly:

Stay away from acrylic or gel manicures as they are very hard on the nail. However, there are some ways to minimize the damage to your hands and nails. The main issue with a gel manicure is the exposure to UV light in the drying device, which can damage the skin below and around the nail, leading to an increased risk of cancer. To help reduce that risk, it is recommended to apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 to 50 before the procedure to help block the damage. Or you can try special gloves that expose only the nails themselves, shielding the rest of your hands from the harmful UV rays.

Give Your Nails a Break:

Put the elaborate nail art and those bold colors with lots of pigment on weekend. Give your nails time to rest and repair with a clear gloss during the rest of the week.
Applying strong polish color one after another without giving your nails a break can dry them out, turn them yellow, and over time, even weaken the structure of the nail.

Always Moisturize Your Nails:

Do not go to sleep without moisturizing your nails. Use a mix of almond and avocado oils to keep cuticles and nails hydrated while sleeping. However, any nutrient-rich oil or moisturizer will do the work.

Uses Protection:

Wear rubber, vinyl, nitrile or plastic gloves, preferably with a cotton liner whenever you are cleaning with harsh chemicals, gardening, or doing anything that involves soaking or dirtying your hands. Cleaning dishes in hot, soapy water without gloves can weaken the nails, while getting them caked. With dirt from gardening will require a level of cleaning that you want to avoid wherever possible. On winters, remember to wear a pair of mittens or gloves so that the cold air and wind don't undo the hard work you did moisturizing, leaving you with dry, flaky, scaly skin.

Follow A Healthy Diet:

As your fingernails are made of a protein called keratin, you can improve your nail health by adding food that are rich in protein. Adding vitamins and supplements like biotin, Vitamin E, and fish oil and protein-rich foods like beans, fish, and nuts to your daily regimen can help in growing stronger, clearer nails.

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