5. Give Your Nails a Break from Polish
If you do choose to wear nail polish, give your nails a break between nail polish applications. Wearing nail polish for extended periods of time can leave nails yellow and brittle. Enjoy a nail color for five or seven days, and then remove the polish to allow your nails to recover. Buffing your nails can provide a smooth and healthy shine without using polish.
4. Be Kind to Your Cuticles
Cuticles are the small folds of skin that overlap the bottom edge of your nail plate. The cuticles protect your nails as new nail forms at the base of your nail bed. Never cut your cuticles, as this allows bacteria to access your nail bed and can introduce infection. Instead, if your cuticles seem to be creeping forward on your nail plate, pamper them by soaking them in warm, soapy water. This will soften the cuticles, allowing you to gently push them back toward the base of the nail with a cuticle stick. Massage moisturizer into your cuticles when you are applying hand lotion to keep them soft and supple.
3. Consume a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals will keep your nails and your body healthy and strong. Calcium and vitamin D work together to form strong teeth, bones, and nails. Enjoy calcium-rich dairy products, green vegetables, and fortified cereals and juices to get your daily allotment of calcium. Vitamin D can be found in eggs, fish, and fortified cereals and juices. The antioxidants found in leafy green vegetables and vibrant berries protect your skin and nails against the damaging effects of free radicals. Iron-rich meats, poultry, and dark green vegetables help form healthy red blood cells.Related: 11 Ways You May Be Ruining Your Nails Without Realizing It
2. Pamper Your Nails
Nourishing your nails doesn’t have to involve an expensive trip to a nail salon. Pamper your nails at home by keeping them moisturized. Give dry or brittle nails an extra treat by soaking them for a few minutes in olive oil. Make your own cuticle cream using Viviane Niemann’s recipe for lavender-scented Homemade Cuticle Cream. This recipe requires only beeswax, shea butter, vitamin E oil, and lavender essential oil. Brighten dull or yellowing nails by rubbing them with a bit of lemon. If your hands and nails are extra dry, try massaging Aquaphor into your hands at night. Pull on a pair of cotton gloves and wake up in the morning with soft, well-hydrated skin.
1. Consult a Dermatologist
If you notice changes in the texture, color, or thickness of your nails, you may want to consult your physician. In some cases, changes in fingernails can be indications of underlying disease. Fingernails that are blue may indicate a decreased oxygen supply due to lung problems. Fingernails that take on a curved, spoon-like shape can be a symptom of anemia, heart disease, or thyroid disorders. Horizontal ridges on the fingernails may indicate thyroid disease or psoriasis. Nail pitting can be a sign of an underlying immune disorder.Related: What Your Fingernails May Be Telling You About Your Health