You want to give your nails a shiny new manicure. But do you know that doing your nails actually exposes them to risks? And health risks nevertheless? How do you do your nails? Today, we will discuss a couple of nail care habits that many people do, and that is harmful to your nails.
Before we start, let’s talk about the nails. They are essentially dead. However, the tissue and skin under and around the nails are not. In fact, it is delicate and quite prone to infection and damage. If you are not careful, you can harm this tissue, and end up with a nasty bacterial or fungal infection.
What can you do? Well, there are a few tweaks you can implement in your routine. They will help you eliminate nail damage and make sure your nails are healthy and beautiful.
How do healthy nails look?
In order to make the difference between healthy and unhealthy nails, you have to know how both of these look. Let’s start with the signs of healthy nails, which are:
- Nail plates are a pinkish-white color
- Nails and white tips are even lengths
- Cuticles are existent
- The white section, called the lunula, has a prominent half-moon shape at nail base
On the other hand, signs and symptoms of unhealthy nails are:
- Spoon-shaped nails, signalizing iron deficiency
- Peeling or splitting nails
- Dry nails
- Tiny white spots appearing on the nails, a sign of biting too often
- Horizontal grooves, a sign of stress or high fever
- Red and swollen skin around the nails
7 Nail care habits you need to change
Now that we know how healthy and unhealthy nails look, let’s talk about the lifestyle habits that do more harm than good to your nails.
Cutting your cuticles
As we said before, existent cuticles are a sign of healthy nails. Cuticles serve an important purpose. They serve as the barrier that keeps things out, including bacteria, impurities, and dirt. Cutting your cuticles can increase the risk of infection, be it bacterial or fungal.
What can you do instead? Well, for one thing, instead of cutting your cuticles, use cuticle removers (SEO) or cuticle oil that will soften the skin. After your skin is soft, push the cuticles back using cuticle pusher or orange stick. Make sure your cuticles are moisturized at all times.
Some people cut their cuticles, others pick them up. Why do you pick your cuticles? Is it that much satisfying? Your hands come in contact with bacteria throughout the entire day. And cutting or picking your cuticles is like opening the front door to criminals.
Keep the cuticles healthy, so that they can serve as a barrier to your nails. Keep the cuticles moisturized, and you won’t experience hangnails. One of the reasons why people pick their cuticles is hangnails. So, moisturize to avoid hangnails.
This is nasty, and quite frankly, unhealthy habit. Usually, it starts in childhood, but some people continue biting their nails long until their adulthood. They say it is a way to relieve stress. Yes, most people bite their nails when they are under stress. But that is not a reason to bite them.
Your mouth and fingers are loaded with bacteria from touching everything during the day. Put those two together, and you asking for an infection. Even worse, you can get an infection on your mouth, not just your nails.
Clipping is another technique that can do more harm than good. It is way better to trim your nails. Clipping can split your nails, and leave behind cracks. In some cases, these cracks are small and invisible to the human eye. But they can get bigger, causing your nails to peel and break.
You can still clip long nails with clippers, but make sure to file them afterward. For those with short nails, trimming and filing for shape and length is a much better, and safer option.
Biting and peeling off extensions
Not only we bite our real and regular nails, but some people also bite their fake nails. Why do you put them in the first place? So you can have something to bite? That is just plain wrong. And a bad idea. Biting or peeling off extensions will make your nails weak and brittle.
Not to mention, you are opening the door for infections and troubles. Soak your fake nails in acetone, and then remove the nail polish. Do not rip them away, as you can get to the fleshy wart under the nails, and cause permanent damage that affects nail growth.
Using nail care products with chemicals
There are three chemicals you definitely do not want in your nail care products. Those are formaldehyde, toluene, and DPB. These chemicals can give you a headache, cause irritation, or any other negative reaction. Not to mention, formaldehyde is a known carcinogen.
Look at the label to check for any harmful ingredients in your nail care products. If there is anything of the Big 3, find an alternative product.
DIY Fake Nails
Truth be told, there is nothing wrong in doing your fake nails at home. The problem is, most women do not know how to do. And if you do not know something, it is better to leave it to the professionals. Doing your fake nails wrongly can leave air pockets behind, and allow for moisture buildup in the pockets.
Any place with moisture buildup is a breeding ground for fungus and mold, and bacterial infection. Cheap polish and nail clippers can lead to so many troubles. Just get your nails done at a salon to save yourself some headaches.
Tips for maintaining healthy nails
Now that we know what are some of the lifestyle habits you need to avoid, let’s talk about what you can do to maintain nails health.
- Keep your hands clean at all times
- Be gentle when cutting, cleaning, clipping your nails
- Prioritize nail health, not nail length
- Protect your nails with a base coat
- Clean your nail tools
- Keep a file on hand at all times
- Moisturize hands and nails
- Wear gloves when doing the dishes
- Consume protein-rich foods