What is normal and what isn’t
Having Nail problems? This article is written to help you know your nails better as well as help them grow right. Healthy fingernails are smooth, without pits or grooves. They’re uniform in color and consistency and free of spots or discoloration.
Often times, fingernails develop harmless vertical ridges that run from the cuticle to the tip of the nail. With age, these ridges become more prominent. White lines, or spots due to injuries can be seen but these eventually grow out.
However, not all nail conditions are normal make sure to consult your doctor or dermatologist if you notice any of these:
- Changes in nail color, such as discoloration of the entire nail or a dark streak under the nail
- Changes in nail shape, such as curled nails
- Thinning or thickening of the nails
- Separation of the nail from the surrounding skin
- Bleeding around the nails
- Swelling or pain around the nails
- Failure of nails to grow out
To keep your fingernails looking their best below are tips:
- Keep fingernails dry and clean. This prevents bacteria from growing under your fingernails. Repeated or prolonged contact with water can contribute to split fingernails. Wear cotton-lined rubber gloves when washing dishes, cleaning or using harsh chemicals.
- Practice good nail hygiene. Use a sharp manicure scissors or clippers. Trim your nails straight across, then round the tips in a gentle curve.
- Use moisturizer. When you use hand lotion, rub the lotion into your fingernails and cuticles, too.
- Apply a protective layer. Applying a nail hardener might help strengthen nails.
- Ask your doctor about biotin. Some research suggests that the nutritional supplement biotin might help strengthen weak or brittle fingernails.
To prevent nail damage, do not:
- Bite your fingernails or pick at your cuticles. These habits can damage the nail bed. Even a minor cut alongside your fingernail can allow bacteria or fungi to enter and cause an infection.
- Pull off hangnails. You might rip live tissue along with the hangnail. Instead, carefully clip off hangnails.
- Use harsh nail care products. Limit your use of nail polish remover. When using nail polish remover, opt for an acetone-free formula.
- Ignore problems. If you have a nail problem that doesn’t seem to go away on its own or is associated with other signs and symptoms, consult your doctor or dermatologist for an evaluation.