Do you have trouble with your fingernails? If they’re brittle and cracked instead of healthy and strong, be sure to read Part 1 of this two-part series along with more clues below regarding causes of nail problems. There could be something you’re doing or omitting that is contributing to the poor condition of your fingernails.
- Your cuticles provide an important natural barrier to fungus and bacteria. You don’t want that protection to be lost. The best way to protect your cuticles is to basically leave them alone. Never cut your cuticles or in any other way manipulate them. They can become ragged, red, and swollen as a result of cutting them, in addition to exposing you to possible infection which could ultimately lead to permanent nail damage. Remember that the best advice isn’t simply never to cut them; it’s best not to push them back, either.
- Take biotin supplements. Biotin is in the vitamin B family and has been shown in several studies to prevent splitting and breaking and to increase nail thickness. In fact, the outcome of the research was overwhelmingly positive for anyone who needs a way to thicken their nails. Be aware that gelatin as a supplement is completely ineffective. Neither consuming nor soaking in gelatin helps to strengthen your nails.
- Your nail problems could be caused by something as simple as using the wrong type of emery boards. Experts say that the old orange emery boards that have been the typical instrument used at home for decades are simply too harsh for the nails and can cause cracks and fissures which result in tearing and breakage. Use a smooth, fine file instead; and don’t saw back and forth. File in one direction only, and do so slowly in order to reduce the possibility of breakage.
- Use nail hardeners very sparingly or not at all. Healthy nails are flexible, and hardeners typically make your nails extremely weak and fragile.
- Finally, remember that your toenails need attention, too. Especially since your toes often spend much of the time inside shoes, which are a dark and moist environment, your toenails are more prone to fungal infection. So if you get pedicures frequently, it’s best to bring your own instruments. And never let the tech do anything such as dig under or around the cuticles or the nails because it can increase your risk of infection.