After Labor Day, as we get back to work , we begin to focus on our appearances. Like a great new haircut or a terrific glow from a new skincare regimen, healthy, well-manicured nails are an integral part of a neat, well kept and put together appearance.
Here are 5 helpful tips to get your nails healthy, beautiful, and back to work!
- Don’t cut your cuticles. Your cuticle is your nail’s natural protective seal. Like the grout in your shower, the cuticle protects the entire nail from yeast, bacteria, and fungus. Instead of cutting, the cuticle can be gently pushed back with a wash cloth after a warm shower or soak.
- Care for your cuticles. Not only is the cuticle a protective seal, it also happens to live right above the most important nail structure, the matrix. Any trauma to the cuticle area (cutting, biting, picking) can affect the matrix and ultimately will be seen as depressions, ridges and discoloration in the nail. Apply a cuticle cream, moisturizer or cuticle oil to keep the cuticle hydrated and intact.
- Hangnails happen. Resist the urge to tear at them, this can cause an infection called a paronychia. Using a sterilized cuticle scissor or nail nipper, cut the hangnail at the root, then apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment twice a day for a couple of days. Good cuticle care will help to minimize hangnails.
- Consider a nail polish holiday. If your nails are dry, peeling, and cracking and nothing seems to be helping, it may be secondary to too much nail polish remover. Polish removers can be drying to the nails, and sometimes just taking a short nail cosmetic holiday and going au natural for a while can be just the thing that your nails need in order to rejuvenate and refresh.
- If you notice something unusual on your nail, do not try to cover the defect with polish or an artificial nail as there may be something medically serious going on. For example, melanoma, a potentially deadly form of cancer, can appear as a brown or black stripe on the nail. If you don’t know what something is, seek the care of a dermatologist.