Did you know that your fingernails can tell you a lot about your health? While your nails may not always look perfect, some nail changes can indicate serious problems, like issues with your blood, kidneys, heart, and lungs.1 If you notice a sudden change in your nails and hair, it may be be a sign of something serious so head to a doctor.
Take a close look at your fingernails. They may be strong and healthy looking, or could have ridges, dents, or areas of unusual color or shape. Many undesirable nail conditions can be avoided through proper nail care. Here’s what to do and what to avoid to keep your nails looking fabulous and feeling healthy:
Keep Your Nails Dry and Clean
Dry and clean nails will prevent bacteria from growing. Avoid repeated and prolonged contact with water because it can contribute to broken and split nails. Next time you find yourself at the sink doing dishes, wear rubber gloves. Gloves are also a must when cleaning or using harsh chemicals.
Practice Good Nail Hygiene
Keep nails in check by making it a priority to cut and file them once they get too long. Long nails can break and tear more easily. Trim first and then file. Whether you choose a round, square, or almond shape, file in one direction. Trimming your nails will also help prevent them from getting snagged and making small matters worse.
Hand lotion doesn’t just benefit your skin; it’s good for your nails too. Simply rub the lotion into your fingernails and cuticles to keep them hydrated and full of the lotion’s nutrients. Choose a lotion specifically designed for hands and nails. And always get a lotion with SPF of at least 25 to protect your hands from the sun’s rays no matter what time of year it is.
Apply a Protective Layer
If colored nail polish isn’t your thing, at least apply a clear coat of nail strengthener to help protect your nails. You can pick up a favorite brand of strengthener or hardener at a local convenience store or beauty supply chain.
A good diet and healthy lifestyle will help you maintain healthy nails. But there are medical conditions and medications that can cause nutrient deficiencies that can negatively affect your nails. If you find your nails are in need of some extra TLC, ask your doctor or pharmacist about various vitamins and nutrients that may help fix whatever problems you have. For example, biotin supplements may help strengthen soft nails and decrease brittleness.
Another way to keep your nails in tip-top shape is to visit a local spa for a manicure or pedicure. Stick to salons that display a current state license, and work only with technicians fully licensed by the state board.
What Not to Do:
- Bite your fingernails or pick at your cuticles.
- Pull off hangnails.
- Ignore problems. Call your doctor or dermatologist if anything looks off or unusual.
- Use harsh nail care products. Limit your use of nail polish remover and opt for acetone-free.
It’s easy to neglect your nails, but taking some basic steps can keep your fingernails healthy and strong. If you’d like to learn more about nail care, consider the career of a nail technician. Check out Salon Success Academy’s Manicuring/Nail Care program today! We have five convenient locations across the Inland Empire in California. Fill out the form to learn more.