Well, lucky enough for you, we did the research and found out exactly what one should be doing for their nails — but before we dive in, we want to take some time to describe the difference between what a healthy nail looks like compared to an unhealthy nail. This is how to know:
Signs of Healthy Nails:
- Nail plates are a pink-white color
- The cuticles are existent, so there isn't a need to cut them
- Nails and white tips are at an even length
- There is a prominent half-moon shaped white section (called the lunula) at the base of the nail
Signs of Unhealthy Nails:
- Peeling or splitting nails could be dryness or even a vitamin deficiency
- Tiny white spots can mean you're biting your nails or painting them too often
- Horizontal grooves can be a result of stress, high fevers, or jamming your finger
- Red, swollen skin around nails could be from removing or biting cuticles
- Spoon-shaped nails could be a sign of iron deficiency or anemia
If you're concerned about your nail health, it's important to consult a dermatologist or even someone who specializes in nails. Since they are super visible, it's easier to tell if an issue arises — meaning you can treat it early if you get help! But let's dive in and talk about how you can keep your nails and cuticles healthy and strong.
Clean Your Hands Thoroughly
Before you do anything when it comes to helping your nails become stronger, it is crucial to make sure that the nails and the skin around them are thoroughly cleaned and dirt-free. It is also important to remove all traces of your last color with an acetone-free remover if you have them painted - anything else unnecessarily dries out your nail. It is recommend by Dr. Ava Shamban, author of Heal Your Skin, to clean your nails by applying soap to a toothbrush, then gently scrubbing your nails and skin. This will remove dirt, while also being an amazing way to exfoliate the skin, without the need for harsh, drying chemicals or expensive scrubs.
When it comes to cleaning your nails, it is important to be sure that you are being gentle with your nails. The skin around your nails are delicate, and scrubbing them too roughly can actually expose you to infection. It is strongly recommended that you also do not use metal tools under the nail, as too much digging can cause the nail plate to separate from the skin. This could also lead to an irregular white, arching nail tip, which let's be honest - no one wants to deal with.
Clip Your Nails Regularly
The next step to protecting the health of your nails is regularly trimming them, just like you would with your hair. So set aside time to clip them every two weeks, adjusting to more or less often once you see how your nails respond. It is also important to prioritize your nail's health over it's length. Long nails are beautiful, but if you're someone who has struggled with snags or breakage, it may actually be a lot more helpful and healthier to keep your nails short — at least to start out with. We recommend that you choose a shorter style with a rounded edge, as these types of nails are easier to manage and looks neater. They also help in building strength without having to worry about anything else. As long as each nail is uniform within its shape and matches its nine neighbors, you won't miss the added length.
Leave Your Cuticles Alone
One of the most important steps to keeping your nails healthy is to leave the cuticle alone. The cuticle has a very important purpose to serve as it seals the area at the base of the nail. So when you cut or remove the cuticle, it actually cause the nail to break that seal of protection, leaving you vulnerable to bacteria and the possibility of infection. The better you are at leaving cuticles alone, the more your nails will thank you. Taking care of your cuticles also helps minimize those dreaded hangnails. If you're dead-set on messing with your cuticles, Dr. Debbie Palmer, a leading dermatologist, recommends gently pushing back the cuticle once a week after getting out of the shower, then massaging them with an oil or a creamy lotion.
Protect Your Nails With A Base-Coat and Top-Coat
When you are painting your nails at home, there is no excuse to cut corners by skipping the base-coat. Applying a base-coat not only protects the nail from being stained by the polish, but also helps the color look more saturated and opaque with just one coat. And if you really want to take things to the next level, add a coat of clear gloss between each layer to add extra shine and protection.
Don't think of skipping out on a top-coat, either. This step is just as important, as the top coat seals in the color and adds a much-needed gloss finish to your nails. It is recommended that you add another top coat layer every three days to decrease chipping, so you'll get the most out of your manicure when wanting to keep your nails healthy and strong.
Give Your Nails A Break and Some TLC
At the end of the day, if you want to give keep your nails healthy and strong, give them a break from time to time. During the week, skip the crazy nail art and give your nails time to rest and repair with a clear gloss. Going from one strong polish color to another without giving your nails a break can dry them out, turn them yellow, and over time, even weaken the structure of the nail. When it comes to your nails as well, practice a little TLC by keeping your nails moisturized. You wouldn't go to sleep without moisturizing your face, so why should your nails be any different?
With these tips, you can keep your nails looking strong and healthy in no time! Share with us how you like to keep your nails healthy and strong by tagging us on Instagram @itouchwearables and Facebook @itouchwearables. Also, be sure to check out our new articles published daily!