Having healthy, attractive nails can do more than make you look good. Healthy nails represent a sign of well-being and indicate that you're taking good care of yourself. But maintaining the health of your nails isn't always accessible — from environmental factors to genetics and lifestyle habits, many contributing factors go into nail health. That's why we've put together this guide to maintaining healthy nails: you can learn from experts and have all the resources needed in one convenient place.
Get regular manicures and pedicures to keep your nails looking their best
Taking care of your nails is not only an incredibly relaxing and pampering experience, but it can also dramatically improve the health and appearance of your hands. A professional manicure and pedicure service can help keep your nails clean, strong, and great-looking. Not only does this provide the perfect opportunity for relaxation, but you'll find that regular upkeep makes a massive difference in keeping them looking their best.
It can include buffing and filing to ensure nails are smooth and even, cleaning underneath them to remove any dirt or bacteria build-up, and finishing with sheer nail polish. This way, those freshly polished colors will stay on much longer, giving you a beautiful lasting result.
Cut your nails straight across and file them every week for a neat look
Cutting and filing your nails regularly is essential for maintaining healthy nails. Cutting them in a straight line allows the nail to grow evenly and prevents splitting or breakage. It's best not to cut too close to the skin as this can cause infection, so always have some white space at the tips of your nails.
Filing is also essential — gently shape your nails into the desired shape using an emery board by filing across the edges in one direction. You should never "saw" back-and-forth with a file, as this will weaken them and increase the chances of breakage over time.
Don't bite or pick at your nails, as this can lead to damage and infection
It may be tempting to pick at or bite your nails when looking uneven, but avoiding doing so is best. Not only is this bad for your nail health, but bacteria can quickly enter the nail bed through any breaks and cause infection.
If you have a habit of biting or picking your nails, try keeping them short and filing them regularly to help reduce the urge. If all else fails, specially formulated products can make the taste of biting unbearable.
Moisturize your hands with lotion or cuticle oil to keep the skin around your nails healthy and soft
Keeping your hands moisturized is essential for keeping nails healthy and looking their best. Make sure to regularly use a hydrating lotion or cuticle oil to keep the skin around your nails soft, as dryness can lead to peeling and cracking that can cause pain and infection.
Applying hand cream after every wash (and at least once a day) is also recommended — not only will this keep them feeling nourished, and it will help protect against the drying effects of harsh detergents found in soaps. Additionally, wear gloves when doing housework or gardening activities, as these can dry the hands and nails.
Avoid using harsh chemicals on your nails, such as nail polish remover, which could cause discoloration
Although nail polish can help to provide the finishing touch to a beautiful manicure, it's essential to be careful when removing it. Harsh chemicals in products like remover, acetone, and bleach can cause severe damage and discoloration if used too often or left on for too long.
It's recommended that you use gentle non-acetone removers whenever possible and moisturize cuticle oils or creams before and after any polish application. Additionally, try to let your nails breathe now and again by going natural for a few days — not only will this allow your nails some much-needed time off from harsh chemicals, and rehydrate naturally.
Take supplements that strengthen your nails from within
In addition to your top-notch nail care routine, oral supplements can help keep your nails healthy. Try adding biotin and collagen supplements into the mix, as these are essential for strong and healthy nails — biotin helps to promote cell growth. In contrast, collagen keeps them hydrated and supple.
If you need help determining which supplement is best for you, consult a healthcare professional who can advise you on what would work best for you. With proper supplementation and a good nail care routine, keeping your nails in tip-top condition should be easy.
Following the steps outlined above will help keep your nails looking their best. From regularly filing them to wearing gloves during housework or gardening activities, there are many measures you can take to ensure your nails stay healthy and strong. As with any beauty routine, regular upkeep is vital — so make sure to keep an eye on them and be sure to moisturize. Maintaining healthy nails will soon become second nature with a bit of patience and the right products.