Signs of Healthy Nails:
•Moderate length and thickness
•Lunula at nail base
Signs of Unhealthy Nails:
•Changes in color like discoloration of the entire nail or a dark streak under it
•Changes in shape like spoon nails and curled nails
•Separation of the nail from the surrounding skin
•Tiny white spots or horizontal grooves appearing on the surface
•Red and swollen skin around nails
Nail problems might indicate an underlying condition that needs attention. And many of them can be avoided by taking proper care of your nails in your day-to-day life. Firstly, let’s look at what you should avoid doing to your fingernails.
1. Avoid Using Metal Tools under the Nails
Scrubbing your nails aggressively can actually damage them since they are thin and delicate. It is common to see a lot of people sawing their nails back and forth on a nail file. The friction will easily cause breakage and make the nail to split. This will make the tips to look frayed instead of a clean edge. Follow the grain of your nail and file them gently in one direction for a smoother finish. A glass file is recommended as it will create a more even nail edge compared to filing on an emery board. Too much digging can make the nail plate to separate from the surrounding skin (medically called onycholysis). So, wear gloves next time if you are doing work like carpentry or gardening to avoid hurting your hands.
2. Avoid Painting on Oily Nails
You’d like your polish last longer as well as moisturizing skin and hangnail-free, right? Then follow these instructions:
1)Cut your nails neatly in any shape you want – oval, square, round, etc
2)Saw your nails gently in one direction with a washable glass file
3)Remove the cuticles safely with a wooden orange stick
4)Moisturize them with cuticle oil or thick, creamy lotion and massage for a few minutes
5)Clear away any oil or lotion at the nail beds with a nail polish remover or wipes
6)Apply a base coat
7)Add your favorite color
8)Finish with a topcoat
Make sure your nails are dry when you paint them.
3. Avoid Using Cotton Balls to Remove Extra Polish on Your Cuticles
In the course of painting your fingernails, some extra polish will definitely stick to your cuticles. Make sure to clean it. What is important to note is that removing your polish with a cotton ball is not a good idea. The reason is that the fuzz will be left on your nails and ruin your manicure. So, you’d better use a fuzz-free nail polish remover wipe or dip a cotton swab into the remover and carefully clear away the extra polish along the nail edge.
4. Avoid Leaving Your Hands Bare in Cold Weather
Exposure to cold temperature for a long time will slow down your blood circulation and make your nails dry, flaky and scaly. Remember to wear a pair of gloves or mittens to protect your fingers from the chilly weather. You can also choose to use hand warmer packets with heating powder in them.
5. Avoid Shaking Your Polish to Mix It Up
Your polish will settle, and the ingredients within will separate after a long time of not being used. What will you do to get it back to the original state? The proper way to mix it is by rolling the bottle between your hands instead of shaking it up and down. Air bubbles will develop in the process and can also show up as tiny bubbles on your nails if you shake before painting.
Also, your polish may become clumpy as time goes on. Never pour any remover to make it smooth again because the ingredients in the remover will dilute the polish and make the paint to chip faster, making the pigment foggy. Add a few drops of polish thinner to your favorite shade and wait for a moment to thin it out.
6. Avoid Drying by UV Light
Nail experts warn that the drying mechanism using in gel manicures can damage the skin beneath and around the nails, leading to an increased risk of skin cancer. But, if you’re keen on gel manicure due to its convenience and long-lasting effect, there are some ways to minimize the damage to your hands and nails.
1)Apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 to 50 before the procedure to help block the damage
2)Wear finger-less UV shield gloves. These are special gloves designed to expose only your nails, shielding all other parts of your hands from the damaging UV rays.
7. Avoid Getting Acrylics Nails
Acrylics are really bad for your nail health because the powder is full of toxic chemicals, which will roughen and cause dents on your nail bed. To make the acrylic stick to your nails firmly, the manicurist will treat your nails roughly during the application process, and this can cause indentations on your tips. Press on nails (also called artificial nails) is a good choice. Using this type of nails means you will not be bothered about spending money in a nail salon or messing with polish again. Press-on nails are safe to the nails, and you can put them on by yourself at home.
You should consult a doctor if your fingernails regularly cause you pain or show signs of unhealthiness, like discoloration and all that we have discussed above. Well-kept nails make a pretty sight – even better if they are strong and shiny. Maintain your nails using the tips and tricks mentioned above.