10 Do's and Don'ts of Nail Care

Health Writer

When we think of skin care, we don't always consider our nails, but taking care of fingernails and toenails is an important part of our overall care. The following are some do's and don'ts for taking care of your nails.

Do: Wear rubber gloves when washing dishes or using chemicals for cleaning.
Don't: Take long soaks in the tub or allow your hands to soak in water for long periods of time. Avoid keeping your hands in soapy water; the longer your hands are in contact with soap or detergent, the more damage to your nails.

Do: Trim your nails with sharp manicure scissors before filing. Trim nails straight across with the scissors and round tips with a file after.
Don't: Excessively file your nails as this can cause splitting. When filing, always go in one direction.

Do: Clean all tools used to groom your nails. For tools, such as disposable files, that can't be cleaned, throw away old files and replace with new frequently.
Don't: Allow a manicurist to use utensils or tools that have not been properly sterilized.

Do: Moisturize your hands often, taking care to moisturize the cuticle area to help prevent cracking and peeling.
Don't: Overuse nail polish remover as it can dry out your cuticles. Place a small amount on a cotton ball and dab on nails.

Do: Coat the outside of the nails with polish or ridge fillers to help stop breaking and splitting.
Don't: Use nail products containing formaldehyde or toluene as they can cause damage to nails.

Do: Use tools to help you complete tasks, such as a letter opener to open mail or a knife or flat object to open cans.
Don't: Use your nails to pry open items or pick or poke things.

Do: Apply sunscreen to your hands whenever you are outside.
Don't: Forget to reapply sunscreen after washing your hands.

Do: Use disinfectant creams, such as Neosporin or Bacitracin for any infections or tears and cuts to the cuticles as soon as possible.
Don't: Ignore cuticle inflammation or infections. If you notice changes to your nail's appearance, have it checked by a dermatologist.

Do: Keep cuticles clean and dry and leave them alone as much as possible.
Don't: Push cuticles back too far. Trim cuticles only if they have started to lift away from the nail.

Do: Gently cut away hangnails with nail or cuticle scissors.
Don't: Pull or tear hangnails as you can rip live tissue along with the hangnail, causing damage and risking infection.


How to Treat a Torn Nail:

Nail Care Tips:

Winter Nail Care Tips: