Fingernail care: Do's
To keep your fingernails looking their best:
- Keep fingernails dry and clean. This prevents bacteria from growing under your fingernails. Repeated or prolonged contact with water can contribute to split fingernails. Wear cotton-lined rubber gloves when washing dishes, cleaning or using harsh chemicals.
- Practice good nail hygiene. Use a sharp manicure scissors or clippers. Trim your nails straight across, then round the tips in a gentle curve.
- Use moisturizer. When you use hand lotion, rub the lotion into your fingernails and cuticles, too.
- Apply a protective layer. Applying a nail hardener might help strengthen nails.
- Ask your doctor about biotin. Some research suggests that the nutritional supplement biotin might help strengthen weak or brittle fingernails.
Fingernail care: Don'ts
To prevent nail damage, don't:
- Bite your fingernails or pick at your cuticles. These habits can damage the nail bed. Even a minor cut alongside your fingernail can allow bacteria or fungi to enter and cause an infection.
- Pull off hangnails. You might rip live tissue along with the hangnail. Instead, carefully clip off hangnails.
- Use harsh nail care products. Limit your use of nail polish remover. When using nail polish remover, opt for an acetone-free formula.
- Ignore problems. If you have a nail problem that doesn't seem to go away on its own or is associated with other signs and symptoms, consult your doctor or dermatologist for an evaluation.