Nails reflect our overall health, which is why proper nail care is so important. Here are dermatologists’ tips for keeping your nails healthy:
- Keep nails clean and dry.
- Cut nails straight across. Use sharp nail scissors or clippers. Round the nails slightly at the tips for maximum strength.
- Keep nails shaped and free of snags by filing with an emery board.
- Do not bite fingernails or remove the cuticle. Doing so can damage the nail.
- Do not use your nails as a tool, such as opening pop cans.
- Trim toenails regularly. Keeping them short will minimize the risk of trauma and injury.
- When toenails are thick and difficult to cut, soak your feet in warm salt water. Mix one teaspoon of salt per pint of water and soak for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Avoid “digging out” ingrown toenails, especially if they are infected and sore. If you are suffering from an ingrown toenail, see a dermatologist for treatment.
- Wear shoes that fit properly. Also alternate which pair of shoes you wear each day.
- Wear flip flops at the pool and in public showers. This reduces the risk of infections caused by a fungus that can get in your toenails.
If your nails change, swell, or cause pain, see your dermatologist because these can be signs of serious nail problems. If you have diabetes or poor circulation, it’s especially important to seek treatment for any nail problems. If you have questions or concerns about caring for your nails, see a dermatologist.