Limit professional manicures.
While it’s hard to beat the pampering luxury of a pedicure or manicure, the doctors theorize that exposure to more chemicals and harsher ingredients may be one reason. Women who get manicures frequently suffer from chronic nail bed infections, evidenced by puffy, reddened areas around the base of the nail. When you look at your finger sideways the area around your nail bed should be flat. If it’s puffy, that’s evidence of a chronic infection.One way to reduce problems, say the experts, is to take your own tools to the manicure.
Avoid acetone-based polish removers.
“The one product that all dermatologists agree you should avoid if you have brittle nails is acetone nail polish remover. It has been documented time and again that it strips the nails, causing them to become brittle.
Avoid rough emery boards.
Those old-fashioned orange emery boards are too harsh for nails, causing small fissures and cracks that lead to breakage and tears, Instead, file nails with a smooth, fine file and don’t saw back and forth, file in one direction only, and do it slowly and evenly to reduce risk of breakage.
Take biotin supplements.
A member of the vitamin B increases nail thickness and prevents splitting and breaking.
Some nail products also contain silicon and the supplement MSM, two other nutrients associated with nail health.
The one supplement that won’t work: Gelatin. Experts say eating or soaking in it won’t do a thing to increase nail strength — and a liquid soak may actually waterlog and eventually weaken nails. Stern adds there is little scientific evidence that supplements or nail products containing calcium, yeast, or fluoride have any significant impact on nail health
Limit hand washing and cleaning chemicals.
As healthy as it can be to wash your hands frequently, overdo it and you’ll wreak havoc with your nails, If you are in a profession where frequent hand washing is mandatory use moisturizer as often as possible and rub a little extra around the cuticles several times a day.
While most women know when a shampoo doesn’t agree with their hair, many don’t realize it may not agree with their nails — even if their hair looks great. This, say experts, is particularly true of detergent shampoos, or those for oily hair, which are designed to strip lipids and other natural oils from the scalp.
Choose nail tips over full extensions.
Nail extensions are bad news for nails, frequently leading to fungal or even bacterial infections.
Watch your nails for signs of health problems.
Most of the time, nail problems can be traced to environmental assaults — exposure to harsh cleaning chemicals, use of drying nail products, or just general physical abuse, such as typing or excessive use of fingertips.
Don’t cut or manipulate cuticles.
Whether you have your nails professionally groomed or do them yourself, leave your cuticles alone.
The cuticle is the natural barrier to fungus and bacteria — and once you breach that, protection is lost. This will not only make cuticles look worse — red, swollen, and ragged — but may also land you a nasty infection that harms the nail bed and leads to permanent nail damage. And while cutting cuticles holds the most potential for harm, pushing them back can cause problems as well.
Moisturize the nail bed and the cuticle.
While there is little in the way of medical data showing that moisturizing the nail bed will help nails grow, it can make cuticles look better and help protect nails from breaking due to a lack of moisture. If your nails are prone to breakage, it could mean they need moisture — and putting oil around the cuticle helps moisturize the entire nail, which will reduce the incidence of chipping, cracking, and splitting.