Whether you’re the type of person who religiously paints their nails as a form of self-care or someone who’s constantly picking and biting at their cuticles, we all yearn for healthy, perfectly manicured nails. We talked to nail-care experts to find out exactly what you should be doing for your nails — but first, how can you tell if your nails are healthy? Here’s what to look for.
Signs of Healthy Nails: By Nail Care Experts
- Nail plates are a pinkish-white color
- Cuticles are existent (so don’t cut them!)
- Nails and white tips are even lengths
- Prominent half-moon shaped white section (called the lunula) at nail base
Signs of Unhealthy Nails:
- Peeling or splitting nails could be dryness or the result of vitamin deficiency
- Tiny white spots usually mean you’re biting your nails or painting them too often
- Horizontal grooves could be from stress, high fevers, or jamming your finger
- Red, swollen skin around nails could be from removing or biting cuticles
- Spoon-shaped nails could be a sign of iron deficiency or anemia
If you’re concerned about your nail health, it’s important to consult a dermatologist. Since your nails are super visible, it’s easier to tell if an issue arises — meaning you can treat it early if you get help, says dermatologist and nail-care specialist Dr. Dana Stern. Now here’s how to get strong, healthy nails: Nail Care Experts
1. Keep your hands very clean.
Before you do anything, it’s important to make sure your nails and the skin around them are thoroughly dirt-free. Then remove all traces of your last color with an acetone-free remover (anything else unnecessarily dries out your nail). Dr. Ava Shamban, author of Heal Your _Skin, recommends applying soap to a toothbrush, then gently scrubbing your nail and skin. This will remove dirt and exfoliate any dead skin without the need for harsh, drying chemicals or expensive scrubs.
2. Be gentle on your nails.
Your nail are delicate, and scrubbing them too roughly can actually expose you to infection. Another no-no: Using metal tools under the nail, as too much digging can cause the nail plate to separate from the skin (called onycholysis). It’s a common problem for people over 50, according Dr. Stern, who is also the developer of the Dr. Dana Nail Renewal System. This could also lead to an irregular white, arching nail tip, explains NYC dermatologist Dr. Janet Prystowsky. Nail Care Experts
Also Read: Want to Get Clear Skin? Try These 11 Evidence-Backed Tips