You asked

How can I keep my nails strong and healthy?

We need our nails for lots of reasons; they make it easier to pick up small things and to scratch an itch. Our nails are also an indication of how healthy we are, weak and discoloured nails may mean that someone has a poor diet. It is important to look after our nails as in extreme cases ignoring them can cause painful ingrown nails or annoying fungal infections. Prevention is better than cure, so follow these tips to keep nails healthy and strong.
  • Keep nails hydrated: Rub a small amount of petroleum jelly into your cuticle and the skin around your nails before bed. This will oil them and give them moisture they need to stay healthy.
  • Use moisturiser: Apply moisturiser to your fingernails and cuticles throughout the day. This will prevent your nails from drying out. Consider wearing cotton gloves while you sleep, to help seal in the moisture.
  • Wear gloves: Protect your nails from washing detergents and chemicals by wearing gloves.
  • Keep nails short: Short nails are less prone to splitting or breaking.
  • Apply nail polish: Coating your nails with a thin layer of nail polish can help keep moisture in your fingernails.
  • Go easy on nail polish remover: The acetone in nail polish remover can dry nails out. If possible buy one that is acetone free.
  • Consider taking biotin supplements: Biotin is a nutritional supplement which has been reported to help strengthen weak or brittle fingernails.
  • Keep your nails dry and clean: Make sure your nails are bacteria and fungi free by keeping them clean, wash them regularly with soap.
  • Do not bite your fingernails or cuticles: Biting these areas can cause a cut which could turn into an infection. If you do this, try and get out of the habit.
  • Don’t ignore nail problems: If there is something about your nails that is bothering you or that you think looks irregular, consult a doctor for an evaluation.
  • Sterilise nail tools: Ensure that the scissors you use to cut your nails is clean. Likewise if you go to a nail salon for a manicure, ask for a new nail file if they start using one that looks like it has already been used. You could even bring your own with you.
  • If you are getting a pedicure, make sure that the foot bath is clean. Salons should use a bleach solution to clean foot baths between clients.
The above tips should help you on the path to getting nice, healthy looking nails. 

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