Nail Health 101

How to Have Healthy Nails

Looking for a simple yet powerful way to elevate your condence and feel instantly more put-together? Look no further than your nails! Often overlooked, healthy, well-maintained nails and toenails are more than just aesthetics; they’re a reflection overall health and self-care.

Nail care goes beyond a quick coat of polish. It’s an often neglected practice that encompasses everything from keeping your cuticles nourished and hydrated to preventing damaging habits like nail biting and picking. By incorporating strengthening treatements and regular maintenance into your routine, you can transform your nails into beautiful, healthy assets that boost your confidence from the fingertips up (and toes down!).

Ready to unlock the secrets to achieving gorgeous, resilient nails and toenails? Read on for a comprehensive guide that unveils the best practices, effective treatments, and insider tips for creating a personalized nail care routine that empowers you to feel your absolute best.

Things to Avoid:

  • Nail Biting – Biting your nails damages the nail and tissue and can even lead to infection. Dermatologists suggest keeping your nails trimmed short to avoid biting them. The next time you have the urge to bite your nails, think of everything you’ve picked or scraped in the previous 24 hours as a way to deter yourself.
  • Using Fingernails as Tools – Though it is very hard to resist the urge to poke, pry and pick, you must exercise restraint because it can cause cuts to the cuticles and damage to nails.
  • Pushing Cuticles Back Too Far – Cuticle care can easily slip into an obsessive routine, but it’s critical for them to be left alone as much as possible, as this skin protects the nail.
nail health care | Painted nails
  • Trim only the part that has started to lift away with sharp, clean, cuticle trimmers.
  • Overusing Nail Polish Remover – Using too much polish remover can dry out and damage the nails. Consider using acetone-free polish remover no more than once a week.
  • Peeling Off Nail Polish – Polish peeling is a nervous habit just like nail biting, but peeling doesn’t just remove polish – it also removes layers of actual nails. Stick to polish remover for removal and focus nervous energy elsewhere.
  • Soaking Your Nails for Long Periods of Time – A long, hot bath can be just what the doctor orders for anyone under stress, but soaking hands for long periods of time can cause the nails and cuticles to become engorged with water and weaken.
  • Sharing Your Nail File – Bacteria and other microbes make their homes on nail files, so using someone else’s tools is a surefire way to transfer these nasty bacteria from the file to your body.
  • Going Barefoot – When the weather is warm, many are comfortable to run around our houses or yards without shoes or socks. Comfortable as it might be, running around barefoot is also an invitation for fungus and bacteria. Putting a clear coat or regular polish on the nails will keep them moisturized and prevent splitting.

Healthy Nail Care:

  • Regularly trim and treat your nails and toenails – Trim nails and toenails regularly and wear well-fitting shoes. Try to keep nails dry and clean, and use moisturizers such as lotion and cuticle oil regularly. Cuticle oil can be used on both nails and toenails and can increase circulation which promotes nail growth and protects the cuiticle. Consistent manicures and pedicures, whether in a salon or at home, can help keep nails and toenails strong and healthy.
  • Cut your nails and toenails regularly – Cut your nails and toenails straight across using sharp trimmers or manicure scissors, and file the edges into a rounded shape This avoids jagged edges that could get caught and cause ingrown toenails.
nail health care | girl biting her nails
  • Sterilize nail tools – Nail tools should be meticulously cleaned and sterilized and nail files should be replaced regularly to prevent bacteria and microbes from colonizing.
  • Wear gloves – When you are standing at the sink washing dishes, using household chemicals to clean, or pulling weeds in your garden, your hands and nails are often taking a beating. Putting gloves on can protect both the hands and the nails from the wear and tear that these common activities cause.
  • Healthy Dieting – Choose foods rich in vitamins and protein that promote strong nails. Eggs, meat, fish, nuts, greens, and plant-based proteins pack a nutrient punch that can help keep nails and toenails strong and healthy.
  • Monitor your nail health – Consult your doctor or dermatologist if you have significant changes in nail shape or color, swelling or bleeding in the nail areas, or your nails have stopped growing.

Maintaining healthy nails can feel like swimming against the current. Simple habits we rely on for comfort or to manage stress, like nail biting or picking, can be the very things harming our nails. However, taking a little time for nail care isn’t just about vanity – it’s about protecting your health. Strong, healthy nails act as a barrier, preventing bacteria and fungi from entering your body through tiny cracks or breaks. Resist the urge to pick and establish a simple routine. You’ll be surprised how quickly your nails will thank you!

Julianne Hale

Julianne Hale and her family reside in Cleveland. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Illinois State University and then an MBA from the University of Phoenix. Julianne is a member of the Chattanooga Writers Guild, is married, and has children.

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