How to Keep Nails Healthy

By  11 Comments

Okay, raise your hand if you bite your nails…

This somewhat bizarre “nail biting” behavior is usually learned from family members when we’re young and impressionable. Statistics show that the majority of people give it up once they reach adulthood, however a massive 45% of teenagers bite their nails on a regular basis.

Most children and adults bite their nails due to stress, excitement or out of boredom. It is a habit we should consider breaking, however, in order to keep our nail beds healthy and clean from infections.

In order to keep your nails healthy, it is important to keep your nails dry and clean. Wash under your fingernails with warm soap and water for 30 seconds. In order to protect your nails, wear cotton-lined rubber gloves.

These gloves help protect your nails against chemicals and breakage. They also prevent your nails from soaking for a while in the dishwater. Moreover, keep your nails out of your mouth. The more you bite your nails, the more you invite infection and bacteria not only to your mouth, but into your cuticles as well.

In addition, you may want to consider moisturizing your nails. Keep your nails hydrated by rubbing a small amount petroleum jelly onto your nail’s cuticle, which is the bottom part of the nail closest to the skin. Also, put some petroleum jelly on your skin surrounding your nails if they feel dry. The jelly aids moisture back into the skin. It helps keep the nails strong so that they grow healthy and straight.

It is also important that you do not abuse your nails. It is not a good idea to use your nails as a tool, such as opening pop cans. This often leads to painful nail breaks, which could lead to ingrown nails or nails that grow in crooked. Ingrown nails often occur when the nail is infected and sore. Never, ever dig out an ingrown toenail. I can only imagine how painful this is, but it does not sound like any sort of fun. If this has happened, see a dermatologist for treatment. They may put you on an antibiotic, but it will be worth it.

Furthermore, in order to keep your nails healthy, make sure you are cutting them correctly. Stop biting your nails—that is not the right way! The more you do this, then you run the risk of damaging them. Invest in a good pair of nail clippers and try to always keep them short. This prevents them from being injured during the dishes or any task. You may also consider purchasing an emery board to file your nails smooth. This prevents sharp hangnails and keeps the nails healthy. If you are finding your nails difficult to cut, try soaking them in warm salt water for about 5-10 minutes. This softens the nail and makes it much easier to trim.

If you have brittle nails, you may want to consider taking Biotin. A B vitamin remedy for nails makes them strong and healthy. In addition, biotin also promotes weight loss and treats conditions such as diabetes, depression and acme. You may also get biotin through eating biotin-rich foods such as salmon, cauliflower, carrots and mushrooms. Brittle nails are often associated with aging, showing signs of cracks in the nail beds. You may consider seeing a dermatologist if you are seeing symptoms of this.

In order to have healthy nails, it’s crucial to be smart about nail polish and nail polish removers. First, do not continuously paint your nails. Like the rest of our body, our nails need to breathe. The nail polish prevents oxygen from getting to our nails, causing them to turn a yellowish color. This only makes your nails look unhealthy and unattractive. In order to avoid this, clean off the bacteria from your nails. Avoid acetone-based nail cleaner because it is too harsh on your nails. Rather, choose a remover that has acetate in it and will be easier on your cuticle.

Nail treatments may also help your nails shine and look vibrant. Cuticle oil (here’s how you can make your own) is the best solution to use on your nails. Cuticles are actually part of your skin and act as a protective barrier for the nail. If this cuticle is removed, it could cause white lines or invite infections into the nail. If you do not have any cuticle oil, try using hand lotion. You may want to use a cotton ball or Q-tip to apply it directly to the skin. Rub in the lotion until the skin absorbs it and your nails are going to look beautiful.

In addition, dermatologists suggest that customers be wise about their manicures. It is best to go in and get your nails cleaned, have them shape your nails and put on one layer of polish. Acrylic nails could lead to infections in the nails. It is much harder to keep bacteria out of acrylic nails than it is natural nails, and it is easier to break a nail. There are all sorts of pros and cons to both sides, but just be educated about it.

Furthermore, recognize the signs of infection in your nails. Anything such as redness, swelling and pain may indicate you have a bacterial infection. Puffy, red and irritated skin around the nail may indicate a fungal infection. These may be treated with over-the-counter medicines or a doctor may give you a prescription. It is crucial to wear flip flops or water shoes if you go to a public pool or waterpark. This keeps your nails healthy and prevents them from picking up bacteria.

Finally, a popular home remedy might make your nails shine. Massage them with a mix of sugar (to smooth), olive oil (to moisturize) and lemon juice (to lightly bleach.) Combine a teaspoon of each in a small bowl and rub your nails in a circular motion. This increases the circulation, which gets the blood pumping more to your nails and makes them look more beautiful. Continue doing this for 5-10 minutes. It is worth it to try to keep your nails healthy. So let us all stop biting our nails and give them a bit more love. Our nails say a lot about us, and they should reflect how beautiful we are!

11 Comments

  1. Helen

    I think I use my hand cream 30 times a day and I’m not kidding. I have three kids and two dogs so there’s always something to wash or scrub around the house. The Nivea age-defiance cream is one of the best I ever tried and it’s super cheap. I buy them when they’re on sale and have one in my purse and in every room of the house so I don’t look for it everywhere.

    Lately I have been trying this tip and my hands got even smoother: once or twice a week massage your hand with one-two spoons of olive oil. I do this above the sink because it can get messy; just rub your hand to make sure the oil gets everywhere and even massage your cuticles, this will make them less dried.

  2. Paula

    I find that cleaning is the worst for my nails. Even when I wear gloves if I’m using hot water then my hands get clammy inside and this makes my nails soft and brittle. I haven’t actually had a problem with nail biting but hang nails and peeling nails have been my trouble. I definitely found that taking a multi vitamin helped and like you said, not wearing nail polish all the time was really helpful. I used to think I was making the nail stronger and protecting it when I wore polish but know I understand about the nail needing to breathe this makes sense as to why mine we still breaking!

  3. AMANDA

    I love making my own beauty products at home and now make my own face and body scrubs as well as air fresheners and cleaning products. The recipe for the hand scrub is welcomed and I am going to try and make it myself too! Lots of people don’t take too much notice of their fingernails, but realistically it’s one of the first things I notice about people. Stumpy, bitten nails are soooo unattractive. I especially hate bitten nails on a man. Yuk.

  4. Emma

    Being a formal nail biter and someone who has their hands in and out of water every hour I am constantly checking on my nails. I have found a few things that have helped but you can always improve. Thanks for the tips and ideas!

  5. Carolyne

    I’ve always had problems trying to keep my nails looking nice. These are some very helpful tips!

  6. Krista

    I work at the library, and something about handling books all day long is really hard on your nails. My co- workers and I have tried to come up with a way to keep polish on, but short of wearing gloves, it seems to be impossible. I like your ideas for keeping natural nails looking good. I was especially surprised to hear that you should let your nails breathe once in a while. I have wondered why my toenails are yellowish. It’s probably because I constantly have polish on them. I guess I need to take a break from glitter toes. Thanks.

    • Shofi

      Suzi, I love your writing, you paint picrutes with your words, looking forward to future posts. Lucy is a very lucky girl to have such an inspirational Mimi.

  7. Brittany

    While I have never bit my nails, I know white a few people who do. This will come in handy for them. I do have nail breakage that should be less than what it is but when I make sure I take my vitamin D3 daily, they are strong and healthy. I recommend everyone takes a D3 supplement ( 2000 IU at least). So good for the skin, hair, teeth, bones, and nails.

  8. Sarah

    I bit my nails down to the quick all the way to the time I was pregnant with my daughter. Then I was put onto prenatal vitamins and they started to grow. I haven’t bit them the same way since. I do find that when I’m stressed I will bite them every now and again, but not the same way. But they are now brittle and will break all they time.

  9. Bejo

    First thing I thought of that women are too busy tankig care of others to wait for them to dry. Love the question and the colors. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

    • Jimbo

      Woohoo, great to see you back B! I love your little redheaded cuties & I've deiftinely been missing those kewl hand-drawn borders! Hugs xo :)

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