8 Ways To Care For Your Nails: Tips To Keep Them Healthy And Chip-Free

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Anyone who mocks a broken nail hasn’t had to suffer the agony of having to deal with the aftermath of one. And although chewed-out and chipped nails aren’t given as much importance as, say, frizzy hair, nails are just as important to care for. But before you start picturing your hard-earned money flying right out the door, we’ve got some good news. Getting your nails looking and feeling healthy doesn’t need you to put on your shoes and head to the beautician (and hey, we’re still in a pandemic). We’ve put together a list of tips and tricks to help you care for your nails without breaking the bank.

1. Keep Them Dry

This might seem simple but is often taken for granted. Repeated or prolonged exposure to water can lead to split fingernails. For the most part, this is because the process dehydrates them along with the skin on your hands. Opt for protection and wear cotton-lined rubber gloves while you wash the dishes, clean, use harsh chemicals, or do anything that will put you in contact with water for a long time. If you can get your hands on any, try sticking to cold water because that’s less likely to cause as much damage as hot water.

2. Trim Them Regularly 

Invest in a pair of sharp manicure scissors or clippers. Then trim your nails straight across and round the tips later in a gentle curve to keep them neat and short (sorry Cardi, no long talons for us). Buff the surface of your nails gently if you tend to get ridges. Doing this will stave off snagging and breaking. How often you do this depends entirely on how quickly your nails grow.

3. Consider Supplementing With Biotin

Although it’s best to consult your doctor and supplement only when you have a deficiency, some research states that people with weak and brittle nails may benefit from supplemental biotin. But you don’t have to pop pills, you could try upping the intake of biotin-rich foods instead. Examples of the same include eggs, salmon, beef liver, milk, bananas, and nuts like almonds, pecans, peanuts, and walnuts. And for the most part, as long as you eat healthily, your nails will stay happy.

4. Moisturize Your Cuticles

All skin requires moisturization, so your cuticles aren’t immune to dehydration either. If you cut them back too far or push them around vigorously, you’ll end up damaging them. This will leave your nail bed open to infection. To keep them healthy, rub lotion into your fingers and cuticles while also moisturizing the rest of your hands. Try and keep from trimming your cuticles, especially when you’re at a professional manicurist. And keep an eye out for signs of infection like redness, pain, swelling, and pus in and around your cuticles.

5. Take It Easy On The Products

It could be fun trying different colors and stickers on your nails but might not be the best for their health. For starters, limit your use of nail polish remover or grab an acetone-free formula when you can. Give your nails room to breathe from all the nail polish you’d slap on normally. And if you’ve got polish on, wear gloves so your nails don’t suffer while gardening or cleaning. This will also keep dirt from accumulating under your nails. In addition to these, apply a nail hardener to help strengthen your nails.

6. Don’t Ignore An Infection

Sure, you could slap on a bandaid or wrap a bandage around your nail if it’s broken but if you start noticing redness, pain, pus, irritation, or inflammation around your nails then pick up your phone to give your doctor a call. Whether bacterial or fungal, a professional could give you some over-the-counter or heavy-duty antifungal or anti-bacterial medications that will help them heal quickly. A stitch in time saves nine, so don’t put off healing for too long.

7. Use A Brush To Clean Under Your Nails 

If you find yourself using all kinds of pointy contraptions to get dirt out from beneath your nails, you might be putting them at risk of infections. This is especially true for when you’re getting manicures since some manicurists clean so over diligently under the nails that they end up creating a sort of gap between the nail and nail bed. Some women are guilty of doing the same all by themselves at home. If this sounds like you, grab a nail brush and scrub gently. This will keep your nails healthy.

8. Don’t Bite Your Nails Or Pull Off A Hangnail

This one’s a no-brainer but we’d be remiss if we didn’t give it its own place in this list. Biting your fingernails or picking at your cuticles can damage the nail bed. You know what we mean, all the bits of skin picked off the sides of your nails that can burn when you try and cook, it can’t be good news for your nails. Even so much as a minor cut along your fingernail can allow germs to enter and cause an infection. In addition to this, be careful not to rip live tissue away along with any hangnail, choose to clip them off instead.

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