Getting healthy nails also means throwing out bad habits, such as using them to open containers. Whether your nail care is a form of self-care or just routine maintenance, keeping your nails in great condition is a worthwhile investment
Moisturizing is a well-known secret to healthy skin, but is often overlooked in nail care. While dry, brittle nails can be the result of a number of factors, they ultimately need what your skin needs, so consider proper moisturization as the foundation of your nail care. When applying hand lotion, pay special attention to your nails. There are many nail moisturizers on the market, but applying a cream is only half the battle – strong nails are more than a fancy cream or serum.
Hydration is key. Just as you nourish your hair with conditioner, nourish your cuticles to have beautiful, healthy and growing nails. A beauty supply store is the place to find the right products.
It’s common practice to trim, push back, or try to get rid of cuticles altogether, but cuticles are not the enemy. In fact, the cuticle is the nail’s natural protective seal. Tinkering with cuticles can do far more harm than good if not done skillfully. A damaged cuticle can expose your nails to sensitivity and risk infection.
Poorly maintained cuticles can have a domino effect. When they dry out or are injured, it can damage the nail bed and affect the way the nails grow. It is recommended that you moisturize your cuticles with a cream or oil to protect and strengthen your nails.
Look out for ways to reduce the time your nails are in contact with water, as excessive contact can weaken the nail structure. Wet hair is especially sensitive, and the same caution you use when handling wet curls can apply to nail care as well. For example, consider wearing gloves when washing dishes or doing other wet work.
The nail is like a sponge. It’s a thousand times more absorbent than skin, so water can easily seep into it. Overexposure to liquids can put a lot of stress on delicate nail cells (called onychocytes), which can lead to brittleness, peeling and cracking.
Therefore, soaking your nails before a manicure is a bad practice. Not only does it make them more susceptible to infection, but it also doesn’t allow the polish to adhere well or last.
The best nail care is gentle care. Sometimes you take the pointy end of a nail file and run it under your nails to remove dirt. You shouldn’t do this because it can separate the nail plate from the underlying skin, and you can then develop a bacterial fungal infection.
For similar reasons, you should resist the temptation to use your nails as a replacement tool – no matter how convenient it may be. And if you choose to get an acrylic or gel manicure – which you should do sparingly – proper removal is important. When you remove acrylic or gel nails, you’re really peeling away the layers of the nail, the nail plate, and that weakens them.
Hair and nails are made up of keratin proteins, so it makes sense to follow many of the same treatment principles. Both hair and nails can be dried out and damaged by excessive “treatment”. Frequent polish removal, gels, and acrylics do the same thing to the nails that dyes, chemicals, and applying heat to the hair do. Moisturizing can help both repair hair problems, such as frizz and split ends, and can help improve dry and brittle nails