Have you ever looked at your fingernails? I mean really looked at them. Sure we want them to be neat, perhaps even sparkly, but are we sure we’re doing all we can to make sure they’re also healthy? Here are 10 Mistakes you should avoid if you want beautiful, healthy nails.
Eating a poor diet
First things first, you have to make sure your nails are growing right. Fingernails are made of keratin, a kind of protein. This is the same substance as your hair and even the very top layer of your skin. So, if you’re interested in keeping your hair, nails, and skin all healthy, you should be eating leafy green vegetables. Calcium and magnesium are very important. Also, be sure to stay hydrated with plenty of water during the day.
Biting your nails
Your mother was totally right about this one. Biting the fingernails is not good for you. Not only do you end up putting all kinds of nasty bacteria and other particles in your mouth, but the constant tearing weakens the nail structure. Do whatever you can to break yourself of this habit, whether it’s painting your nails with a special bad tasting overcoat or putting on fake nails to keep them from your teeth.
Picking at your nail polish
You might think that peeling off the polish by hand is an acceptable nervous habit instead. That’s where you’d be wrong. Picking at your nail polish also removes your nail’s top layer, and repeatedly doing this removes more layers. Again, you’re weakening your nails. Use polish remover instead. There are even polish remover wipes if you’re in a hurry.
Cutting your cuticles
It may seem like you don’t need those bits of skin called cuticles, but cutting them off is not the right answer. You want to use a cuticle oil to nourish the nail bed. Instead of cutting them, you want to carefully push them back, making your nails look longer and healthier. Don’t do this without the oil or you may just cause yourself pain. If you wouldn’t shove a stick under your nail, don’t shove one over it, either.
Forgetting a base coat
Okay, so you’re going to do your own nails. After being nice to your cuticles, you want to be nice to your nails. This means you have to put down a base coat before applying polish. This will protect your nails from the harsher polish, and also make it easier for the polish to be removed without damage to the nails.
Getting acrylic or gel nails all the time
It might be tempting to get your nails done with with acrylic or gel. While they look great, it’s never a good idea to wear them exclusively. The reason for this is that, just like the rest of your skin, your nails need to breathe. Not only that, but the technicians have to buff down the top layer to get the acrylic or gel to stick. This makes your nails thin and brittle. And you need to soak your nails in acetone to remove the polish. Save these for special occasions, not everyday wear.
Forgetting to wear gloves when you do the dishes
This sounds weird, but it’s true. Water may be vital to life, but it also makes your skin swell up. Too much water on your hands not only gets them wrinkly, but makes the healthy nails buckle under the expanding skin. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wash your hands: it means that you should protect them. Wear rubber gloves when doing dishes or cleaning with your hands. They will also protect you from whatever chemicals are in your cleaning supplies. Too much of anything, even water, is bad.
Using your nails as tools
If you’ve ever leveraged open a can of soda with just your nail, you know what we mean. The nail is supposed to support the finger, not do all the work. And if you’ve ever used your fingernail as an emergency screwdriver, stop it. You’ll just break the nail and still need a screwdriver. We’re not saying don’t use your fingernails, just don’t expect them to be your personal toolkit.
Not reading the label on your nail polish
There are three main ingredients in nail polish that you do not want to have. First is formaldehyde, a preservative, which is also used in embalming. Second is toluene, which keeps the healthy nails looking smooth; it’s been linked to issues with the nervous system like dizziness and headaches. Third is DBP or dibutyl phthalate, which prevents chipping or cracking; it’s also been linked to fertility issues and is banned for use in Europe. Many large brands are removing these chemicals from their products. It pays to read the label.
Changing your nail polish frequently
As tempting as it is to change nail polish color on a frequent basis, we don’t recommend it. Even if you are using the gentlest polish on the market, the polish isn’t the problem. The problem is the nail polish remover. Acetone is a strong solvent that leeches moisture from your nails. All the hard work you put in to nourish your nails will go to waste if they’re all dried out. And dry healthy nails don’t grow well. Use it sparingly, when you need to, and you’ll keep the dryness under control.