We all want healthy, beautiful nails. And, while professional manicures can do wonders for your nails, nail health is really dependent on how you take care of your nails at home.
The dos and don’ts of healthy nails
Do wear gloves when cleaning or gardening
Too much contact with water can lead to bacteria growing underneath the nails, which is why it’s always a good idea to keep your nails clean and dry by wearing gloves when appropriate.
When you’re doing the dishes or cleaning your home, wear a pair of cotton-lined rubber gloves to protect your nails from hot water and harsh chemicals that can damage your nails.
It’s also a good idea to wear work gloves when gardening or doing yard work. This will help to prevent dirt from getting underneath your nails.
Don’t cut or damage your cuticles
Did you know that your cuticle acts as a natural barrier against bacteria and fungus?
When you damage your cuticles by cutting or manipulating them, you lose this natural protection and leave yourself prone to infection.
Whether you’re getting your nails done at your local nail salon or you’re giving yourself a DIY manicure, the best thing for your nails is just to leave the cuticles alone.
If you absolutely can’t stand the way your cuticles look naturally, carefully and gently push them back. Never cut them.
Do keep your nails neatly trimmed
Don’t get me wrong. Long nails are gorgeous and glamorous. However, if nail health is what you’re going for, you’re better off keeping your nails neatly trimmed.
Long nails look great but are prone to damage. When your nails are longer, it’s easier for them to break or snag on something.
Trim your nails with sharp, clean scissors or clippers straight on a regular basis.
Don’t bite your nails
Did you know that up to 30% of the population are nail biters? If you’re one of them, it’s time to kick the habit for good.
Here are a few great reasons to stop biting your nails:
- Hangnails – Hangnails hurt — a lot — and the more you bite your nails, the more likely you are to see those painful little suckers.
- Ingrown nails – Also quite painful, ingrown nails can grow under your skin around your fingernails when you bite them. Sometimes, they even require surgical removal.
- Teeth damage – Not only does biting your nails damage the nails themselves, but it also damages the teeth and can cause them to shift out of place in extreme cases.
- Germs and bacteria – Under the nails is one of the most hard-to-reach areas to clean, and when you bite your nails, anything hiding underneath them goes right in your mouth. That’s especially troubling, considering we’re in the middle of a global pandemic.
Do indulge yourself by painting your nails
Love to paint your nails? You’ll be glad to know that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with indulging in your favorite colors, so long as you choose quality polish.
However, do give your nails a break from polish every once in a while to keep them healthy.
Long-term nail polish use will eventually lead to chemicals seeping into the nail beds, leading to cracked, discolored, peeling nails. Gels that need to be soaked off can be even more harmful for your nails.
Don’t use acetone-based nail polish remover
If you do paint your nails, it’s important to use high-quality nail care products to avoid exposing your nails to chemicals that can harm them. One of the most common and damaging chemicals for your nails is acetone.
Repeated use of acetone-based nail polish remover can strip your nails over time, causing them to become brittle and thin.
Also, avoid polishes that have to be soaked off using acetone, as soaking causes real damage.
Do keep your nails moisturized
Thanks to COVID-19, lots of people are washing their hands a lot more often than they used to. And, that means that many people are also realizing just how important it is to keep their hands moisturized.
Dry hands can crack and bleed, dry nail beds are brittle and prone to breakage, and dry cuticles can become easily damaged.
Keep your hands and your nails properly moisturized by using ointments and gels rather than just lotions. Also, keep your cuticles and nail beds healthy and moisturized as well.
Don’t rip hangnails off
If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself with a hangnail, make sure that you take care of it the right way.
Pulling a hangnail off with your fingers or teeth is a bad idea.
For one, putting your fingers in your mouth isn’t smart during a global pandemic. Furthermore, it’s impossible to just pull the hangnail off without also ripping off healthy skin.
Instead of pulling hangnails off, cut them with clean, sharp clippers or scissors.
Do enjoy a manicure every once in a while
When you want to pamper yourself, nothing compares to a great manicure. Not only is the manicure itself relaxing and indulgent, but the end result is beautiful nails.
However, for the same reason you want to give your nails a break from polish every so often, you also want to take a break between manicures.
People who get manicures all the time tend to have the most problems with nail brittleness and infections due to regular exposure to harsh chemicals.
When you do get a manicure, look for a nail salon that’s clean and offers safer, alternative nail polishes and products.
Also, make sure to choose a reputable salon, as infections can arise from reusing clippers and other tools.
Find the right nail salon with Top Rated Local
When you want a professional manicure, always do your research when choosing a nail salon.
Make sure that any salon you choose is clean and safe. Also, look for a salon that properly disinfects and sterilizes tools between uses, and replaces single-use tools, like buffers, files and pumice bars.
You should also make sure COVID restrictions are in place to keep customers and staff safe. This includes sick time, because the last thing that you want is to be getting your nails done by someone who is actively sick.
Start your search for a nail salon near you with Top Rated Local. You can compare the top nail salons in your area side by side, read nail salon reviews from across the web and more — all from one place.