Seunga (Jasmine) Han, PharmD Candidate
Proper Nail Care
Take a moment to consider some of the activities you do on a regular basis. Our hands, feet, and nails take on so much beating throughout the day, and yet, they receive the least attention. It’s especially important for us to take proper care of our nails because they’re a reflection of our overall health.
Unsure if you’re taking the proper steps to care for your nails? Keep on reading to learn more. It’s never too late to start proper care if you haven’t done so.
Let’s first start with tips on making good care of your fingernails:1,2
- Keep your nails clean and dry to prevent nail infections.
- Moisturize your hands and fingernails to prevent nail splitting.
- Avoid biting your fingernails. You can refer to our previous article for ways to stop biting your nails.
- Limit the use of nail polish remover to two times a month. Try to use acetone-free remover since acetone can be very hard on the nails.
Similar care should apply to toenails as fingernails, but there are more specific tips for taking good care of your toenails:1,2
- Trim your toenails regularly to reduce the risk of trauma and injury.
- If your toenails are thick and difficult to cut, soak your feet in warm salt water for 5-10 minutes.
- Use 1 teaspoon of salt per 500mL of water.
- Avoid digging out ingrown toenails, and make sure to see or get a referral to a dermatologist for proper treatment.
- Wear shoes that fit properly and alternate what you wear each day.
- Make sure you have a wiggle room for your toes
- Change your socks daily.
- Wear flip flops at the pool and in public areas to prevent fungal infection.
This may be surprising for some of you, but did you know that there is a proper way to trim your nails? The following are recommendations that dermatologists suggest you follow to ensure strong and healthy nails:2
- Trim nails after taking a bath or shower, since it’s softer and easier to trim.
- Use a nail clipper or nail scissors to trim nails.
- Trim your nails straight across.
- Smooth rough edges using a nail file in the same direction because filing back and forth can weaken your nails.
- Avoid removing the cuticles, as they play an important role in protecting the nail root.
- Take care of hangnails right away.
- Do not chew or tear them off. Make sure to wash your hands well with soap and water, then cut them off using a nail clipper or nail scissors. This will prevent skin or nail infection.
The Bottom Line
While it may seem obvious and simple, taking proper care of your nails involves more complexity. For stronger nails, you can also eat foods containing protein and vitamin B7 (also known as biotin) such as meat, fish, milk, walnuts, almonds, and eggs.2
As a final note, make sure to regularly check your nails, and seek help from a healthcare professional or dermatologist if you notice any changes. We’ll discuss more about the types of changes that warrant professional help in our future article. Additionally, if you have diabetes or poor blood circulation, it’s especially important for you to check your feet on a regular basis (monthly) and seek treatment for any nail problems. Avoid leaving it unattended since it could be indicative of a more serious problem
As always, we hope you took away something valuable from this piece. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this article or others, feel free to reach out to us on Instagram, Facebook, or at email@example.com with your feedback. We’d love to hear from you.
- American Academy of Dermatology: https://www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/nail-care/healthy-nails
- American Academy of Dermatology: https://www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/nail-care/child-nail-care