5 Tricks for Taking Better Care of Your Nails

Caring for your nails under all the nail enhancements that are available today is an investment that will never fail you. Maintenance of your hands significantly reduces bacteria, skin tags, and hangnails which can also be painful. The foundation of the nails should be taken care of and should be healthy and thriving. 

Whether you are the type of person who gives yourself regular manicures as a form of self-care, or someone who is constantly biting and picking at their cuticles, we all long for healthy nails. So, first, what are the signs of healthy nails and how can you differentiate them from unhealthy nails?

Signs of healthy nails include the nail plates being a pinkish-white color. Your cuticles should be existent (so don’t cut them!) and the nails and white tips would be of even lengths. You would also have a pretty prominent half-moon-shaped white section at your nail base also known as the lunula.

Horizontal grooves could be a result of jamming your finger, stress or high fevers, and stress-related nail and cuticle biting would weaken the nails and also result in swollen skin around the nails.

Spoon shaped nails are a sign of iron deficiency or anemia. Tiny white spots usually mean that you paint your nails too often, or that you bite them.

Signs of unhealthy nails would also include peeling or splitting nails that would indicate dryness or the result of a vitamin deficiency.

Since nails are very visible, it is easy to tell if an issue arises, meaning you can treat it early if you get help. Now here’s what you can do to ensure your nails get strong and healthy:

1. Keep your hands very clean and moisturized.

Before doing any of the other steps for your nails, your nails and the skin around them must be dirt-free. Then remove all traces of your nail polish with an acetone-free remover (other options dry out the nails).

You could apply soap to a toothbrush and gently scrub your nails and skin. This will remove the dirt along with exfoliating any dead skin without using harsh drying chemicals or expensive scrubs.

You wouldn’t go to sleep without moisturizing your face, so why would your nails and hands be any different? You can use a mix of almond and avocado oils to keep your cuticles and nails moisturized, but any nutrient-rich oil or moisturizer would do. In a pinch, you can even use a lip balm!

2. Leave your cuticles alone.

The cuticle has a very important purpose to serve as it seals the area at the base of the nail. So when you cut or remove (or bite) the cuticle, it breaks the seal of protection, leaving you vulnerable to bacteria and infection.

The better you get at leaving your cuticles alone, the more your nails will thank you. Taking care of your cuticles will also prevent those dreaded hangnails, which you should definitely not try to tear off if you want to avoid infections.

If you are determined to mess with your nails, 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 oil or thick creamy lotion would work just fine.

3. Use anti-fungal nail polish.

Nail fungus is a common problem and nothing to be embarrassed about. Fungal infections are caused when microscopic fungal organisms are transferred from another person through skin to skin contact or sharing nail clipper, and they can also develop from environmental conditions (warm, moist environments). They also develop if you wear gloves or tight-fitting shoes for long periods, smoke, or suffer from diabetes.

Luckily for nail polish fans, there’s a solution – antifungal polish! This antifungal nail polish guide from GiftWits has some options you can check out.

Antifungal polishes contain growth inhibitors and antifungal ingredients, such as ciclopirox or amorolfine and can be a good method of curing the infection, while having pretty nails too. It is important to follow the supplied instructions, as the polishes need to be applied in different ways, depending on the particular antifungal ingredient used.

4. Indulge in gel or acrylic treatments less often.

Any good nail expert you talk to is probably going to try to steer you away from acrylic or gel manicures. As long-lasting and convenient as they seem to be, they are very hard on nails. But if you are still interested in getting them, here are some ways to minimize damage to your hands and nails.

The main issue with gel nails is the exposure to UV light in the drying device, which can damage the skin around and below the nail, leading to an increase in the risk of cancer. To help reduce that risk, it is recommended to apply a sunscreen of 30 to 50 before the procedure to help block the damage. You can also try special gloves that expose only the nails themselves, shielding the rest of your hands from harmful UV rays.

5. Give your nails a break!

Give your nails some time to breathe for at least a week or so every month. Save the elaborate nail art and bold colors for special occasions, and maybe use restorative clear nail polish during some days. Going from one polish color to another without giving your nails a much-needed break can cause them to dry out, turn them yellow in color, and over time make the structure of your nails weak.

Sometimes going all-natural can be just the thing that your nails need to rejuvenate and refresh them.

The nails you desire will take work, but that investment will lead to favorable results and healthy nails for a long period of time. Organically maintaining your nails has many long-term benefits. Apart from these external tips, don’t forget to take care internally and load up on protein-rich food that will provide the nails with much-needed keratin. If you are concerned about your nail health, do consult a dermatologist or nail-care specialist.

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