How to Take Care of Your Nails (Tips & Hacks for Health Nails)

Whether you love pampering your nails or tend to nibble on them, everyone desires well-maintained nails. Having neatly groomed nails not only gives you a polished appearance but can also make your hands look more youthful.

In order to combat the effects of frequent hand-washing and the absence of salon visits, we consulted nail-care specialists to discover the essential steps for nail care. But before diving into the tips, how can you determine if your nails are healthy? Look for the following signs:

Signs of Healthy Nails

  1. Nail plates are a pinkish-white color.
  2. Cuticles are present (avoid cutting them!).
  3. Nails and white tips are of even lengths.
  4. Noticeable half-moon-shaped white section (known as the lunula) at the base of the nail.

Signs of Unhealthy Nails

  1. Peeling or splitting nails might be due to dryness or a lack of essential vitamins.
  2. Tiny white spots usually indicate nail-biting or excessive nail polish application.
  3. Horizontal grooves can result from stress, high fevers, or injuring your finger.
  4. Red, swollen skin around the nails may be caused by removing or biting cuticles.
  5. Spoon-shaped nails could signal iron deficiency or anemia.

How to take Care of Your Nails

Keep Your Hands Clean

After washing your hands, ensure your nails are completely clean by using a nail polish remover without acetone to remove any polish residue.

Then, take a clean toothbrush and apply soap to gently scrub your nails and the surrounding skin. This method removes dirt and exfoliates dead skin without using harsh chemicals.

Handle Your Nails with Care

Remember, your nails are fragile, so handle them gently. Avoid using metal tools underneath your nails, as excessive digging can cause the nail plate to separate from the skin, a condition known as onycholysis, especially common among individuals over 50.

Cleaning with chemicals and washing dishes by hand can also weaken your nails. To protect them, wear rubber, vinyl, nitrile, or plastic gloves.

Regularly Clip Your Nails

Just like regular trims are important for your hair, they are equally crucial for your nails. Consistent nail trims reduce the likelihood of snags and breakage.

Aim to clip your nails every two weeks, adjusting the frequency as needed based on how your nails respond.

Focus on Nail Health, Not Just Length

While long nails can be stylish, it’s essential to prioritize nail health. If you often deal with hangnails or breakage, consider keeping your nails short for a while to let them grow stronger.

Short, rounded nails are not only neat but also easier to manage, reducing wear and tear. As long as each nail is uniform and matches the others, you won’t miss the extra length.

Always Have a Nail File Handy

Keep a nail file with you, especially if your work or workouts put your nails at risk. Use it to buff away any rough edges promptly. For the best results, file in one direction, following the natural grain of your nail.

Opt for a glass (crystal) nail file instead of an emery board. Glass files create a smooth edge without causing peeling or snagging, making them suitable for weak and brittle nails.

Take Care of Your Nail Tools

Proper hygiene for your nail tools is crucial to prevent infections. Like cleaning makeup brushes, disinfect your metal tools by washing them with soap and water, followed by wiping them with rubbing alcohol.

Additionally, regularly replace disposable tools like emery boards. It’s easy and affordable to switch to a new one, ensuring your tools are always in good condition.

Leave Your Cuticles Alone

Resist the urge to cut or remove your cuticles, as they play a crucial role in sealing the base of your nails.

Cutting them can break this protective seal, making you susceptible to bacteria and infections, and can also cause painful tears and hangnails.

Instead, gently push back your cuticles once a week after a shower using a wooden orange stick.

Afterward, massage your cuticles and nails with a cuticle oil or treatment to keep them healthy and moisturized.

Use a Base Coat for Nail Protection

Always use a base coat when painting your nails at home. This step not only prevents your nails from getting stained by the polish but also enhances the color’s richness and opacity with just one coat.

Strengthening varnishes create a shiny, hard coating on nails, making them appear thicker and offering protection against damage.

For extra shine and protection, consider adding a clear gloss coat between each layer.

Check Nail Polish Labels

Just like with makeup and skincare products, not all nail polishes are created equal. Be mindful of the products you use.

Avoid polishes containing harmful chemicals such as dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, and toluene. These toxins can make your nails brittle, prone to splitting, and more likely to crack.

Opt for nail polishes that are free from these harmful substances to keep your nails healthy and strong.

Use a Top Coat to Prevent Chips

Don’t forget the top coat! It’s crucial because it seals in the color of your nail polish and adds a glossy finish. Apply a top coat every three days.

This routine helps prevent chipping and keeps your manicure looking fresh for longer.

Limit Acrylic or Gel Treatments

Nail experts generally advise against frequent acrylic or gel manicures because they can be harsh on your nails.

These treatments, while long-lasting, can cause damage. If you still want them, take precautions. UV light from drying devices can harm your skin, increasing the risk of cancer.

Suggests applying sunscreen (SPF 30 to 50) before the procedure or using special gloves that expose only your nails to protect your hands from UV rays.

Give Your Nails a Break

Save elaborate nail art and vibrant colors for the weekend. During the week, let your nails breathe and recover by applying a clear gloss.

Constantly switching between strong polish colors without breaks can dry out your nails, turn them yellow, and weaken their structure.

Keep Your Hands and Nails Moisturized

Just like you moisturize your face before bed, take care of your nails too. Use oils like almond and avocado or any nutrient-rich moisturizer to keep your cuticles and nails hydrated.

Effective products contain ingredients like glycerin and fatty oils that work together to keep your nails and skin moisturized.

Wear Gloves for Protection

Whenever you’re dealing with harsh chemicals, gardening, or getting your hands dirty, wear rubber, vinyl, nitrile, or plastic gloves.

Cleaning dishes without gloves in hot, soapy water can weaken your nails.

Also, when it’s cold, wear mittens or gloves to shield your hands from the cold air and wind, preventing dry and flaky skin.

Eat Protein-Rich Foods

Improve the health of your nails by including protein-rich foods like beans, fish, and nuts in your diet. Your nails are made of a protein called keratin, so a balanced diet can enhance their strength and appearance.

Consider adding supplements like biotin, Vitamin E, and fish oil to further support nail health.

Find the right combination that works for you, and you’ll enjoy stronger and clearer nails as a result.

Leave a Comment