How to Get Healthy, Pretty Nails

Neglected your nails this winter? Head to the salon with these expert tips on keeping your hands healthy

If you want healthy and attractive nails, you have to take good care of them.

"Nails need to be moisturized, especially after removing nail polish, so be sure to apply a cream regularly," Dr. Phoebe Rich, a clinical adjunct professor of dermatology at Oregon Health Science University, said in an American Academy of Dermatology news release.

"Always protect your cuticles. Never cut or forcefully push back your cuticles, as doing so could lead to an infection. If you must push them back, only do so gently after a shower or bath," she explained.

If you go to a nail salon, check for cleanliness. Are the stations clean? Does the nail technician wash her hands between clients? Are there dirty tools lying around?

Ask how the salon cleans its tools and find out if your nail technician has the necessary experience and/or license, if required, she added.

Rich also said there is no proof that immersing nails in gelatin makes them stronger. She added that polishes that contain strengthening ingredients increase nail stiffness, which may make nails break more often.

Artificial nails are fine for people with healthy nails, as long as they are not worn continuously, Rich said. Do not wear artificial nails to cover up nail problems, as they may make these problems worse. Artificial nails are not recommended for people who have brittle nails or are prone to fungal infections.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers information about nail care products

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