15 Important Tips to Get Strong and Healthy Nails, According to Nail Care Experts
1. Don’t cut or manipulate cuticles.
Whether you have your nails professionally groomed or do them yourself, the No. 1 recommendation is leave your cuticles alone, says Dana Stern, MD, a dermatologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
“The cuticle is the natural barrier to fungus and bacteria — and once you breach that, protection is lost,” she says. This will not only make cuticles look worse — red, swollen, and ragged — but may also land you a nasty infection that harms the nail bed and leads to permanent nail damage. And while cutting cuticles holds the most potential for harm, pushing them back can cause problems as well.
2. Use nail hardeners sparingly — or not at all.
“The take-home message here is that a lot of them do more damage than good,” says Stern. She reminds us that these products are not studied clinically, so most claims are not backed up by science. Unless nails are exceptionally weak and fragile, she says, most people don’t benefit from a nail hardener.
Healthy nails are flexible nails, she says, so to keep yours from breaking, avoid anything that makes them more brittle.