5 Do's & Don'ts of Keeping Your Nails Looking On-Point

getting a red manicureOur nails can be our calling card. There's just something about sporting well-manicured, freshly-polished nails that help us feel our very best. But are you taking care of your nails as well as you should be?

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From basic, everyday activities to manicure habits we never think twice about, you may be shocked at the ordinary things that are doing some real damage to your nails.

Joshua Zeichner, MD, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, shared five things you need to stop doing immediately if you want your nails to always be on-point.

1. DON'T: Cut your cuticles too much. "Cuticles protect the base of the nails, where the nail is made," Dr. Zeichner notes. "Cutting away cuticles expsose that area to potential infectious organisms." 

DO: Push them back -- always!

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2. DON'T: Clean out the underside of your nail too abrasively. "Trauma can lead to separation of the nail from the finger," Dr. Zeichner says. "This allows yeast to grow under the nail, preventing the nail from reattaching. This is known as onycholysis."

DO: Be careful about cleaning, especially while using an instrument that can separate the nail from the nail bed.

3. DON'T: Bite hangnails. Never use your teeth -- no matter how tempted you are to get rid of that sucker in a pinch.

DO: "Cut it with a sterilized cuticle scissor, and apply an antibiotic ointment like bacitracin," Dr. Zeichner explains. "Infections of the cuticle and soft tissue around it is known as a paronychia and can lead to permanent nail deformity."

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4. DON'T: Overexpose your nails to water. "Whether it is from household cleaning, handwashing, or doing the dishes -- excess exposure to water can dry out not only your skin but also your nails," Dr. Zeichner says. "Dry nails are brittle, easily breakable, and can peel at the tips."

DO: Protect your hands. Use gloves when you are doing the dishes, and always moisturize both hands and nails after you feel they've spent a bit too much time under water.

5. DON'T: Get artificial nails. "The glue from fake nails can causes damage to the nails themselves," Dr. Zeichner shares. "While they can provide a protective barrier to the nail when they're on, when they're taken off it causes damage to your nails themselves."

DO: Own your own tips. Take care of your nails and get them manicured regularly if you desire a well-groomed look.

 

Image via sirastock/iStock.com

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