Tips for Nail Care, including cuticles, fingernails and hangnails

Nicely trimmed and polished nails can look great and be the perfect way to polish off a groomed look.  Knowing how to look after your nails can help prevent some nasty and annoying problems such as nail discolouration, infections and white spots on the nail. This article addresses some common questions about how to care for your nails properly.
Do you need to cut cuticles?
No, it is sufficient to just push them back. You need your cuticles to keep water and germs out of the area between your skin and your nail. If you cut your cuticles you might be allowing germs to get into this fold which could result in infection.  Often infections of this type need to be treated with antibiotics. 
What causes the white flaky spots on nails?
Some polish formulations may be the cause of white spots forming on your nails due to formaldehyde type ingredients. If this happens, the white spots will occur at exactly the point where your polish was when you remove it. It looks very much like a fungal infection, if you have concerns about it or any queries you should see your dermatologist.  It is possible to buff this white etching off the nail; however buffing thins and weakens the nail.
Are nail hardener polishes good for nails?
Often people with brittle nails try to ‘harden’ them by using nail hardeners but they can unfortunately end up with even worse splitting then they started with. Nail hardeners have a lot of formaldehyde type ingredients in them which can cause the nail to harden but then also split.
It’s a difficult situation as the softer and weaker your nails are the more likely they are to be damaged from nail hardeners.  A good alternative to nail hardeners is to mosturise nails; this will trap the moisture that nails need to stay healthy.
How do you treat hang nails?
Hang nails can be annoying and catch in your clothes and hair. If you have a hangnail, the first thing you should do is try to soften it. If you cut a dry hangnail you can make it worse by tearing the skin. Soak your finger or fingers in warm water for a few minutes and then trim the hangnail with cuticle scissors. After trimming the hangnail, massage some moisturiser into the nail bed. If you keep doing this process for a few days, you should see the hangnail heal over time. Always make sure that the scissors you use are clean, consider disinfecting them first.
Follow the above tips to keep your hands, cuticles and nails soft, hydrated and healthy. 
Déanta in Éirinn - Sheology
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