Do's & Don'ts for Healthy Nails - Advanced Dermatology Care
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Do’s & Don’ts for Healthy Nails

Healthy Nails Do's & Don'ts

Your fingernails can tell you a lot based on their appearance. If your fingernails are smooth and the same color all around then you likely have healthy fingernails. If you see that your fingernails have ridges, dents, or are an unusual color, this can be a sign of an underlying skin condition. There are several ways you can determine what’s normal and what isn’t when it comes to fingernails.

Your fingernails are composed of several layers of a protein called keratin. Healthy fingernails are smooth, uniform in color and consistency and free of discoloration. Fingernails can develop vertical ridges that run from the cuticle to the tip of the nail. However, these vertical ridges are harmless and tend to become more noticeable with age. Fingernails can also develop white lines that tend to grow out with your nail. You should be concerned if you notice any of the following and should consult your primary doctor: any changes in nail color, 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, and failure of nails to grow out.

Nail care isn’t always talked about but is important to keep your fingernails strong and healthy by engaging in the following practices. First and foremost, make sure to keep your fingernails dry and clean. It is important to keep them dry and clean because this prevents bacteria from forming. If your job requires your hands to come into constant contact with water, make sure to use rubber gloves. Additionally, if you are repeatedly touching harsh chemicals that can lead to your fingernails splitting, make sure to trim your nails and keep them at a good length in which they are easy to clean. When you apply hand lotion, rub the lotion into your fingernails and cuticles as well. If your nails are thin and tend to break easily, use a nail hardener that can be purchased at your local pharmacy. You can also try taking biotin which is a nutritional supplement that helps restore brittle nails.

Some of the things you want to avoid to protect your nails is biting them or picking at your cuticles. You can cause a lot of damage to the nail bed or prompt an infection to form. Try not to pull on hang nails, instead use nail clippers that have been properly disinfected. Additionally, try and stay away from harsh nail products such as nail polish remover. If you like to constantly change your nail color and need to use nail polish remover often, make sure to choose one that is acetone free. Lastly and most importantly, don’t ignore any problem because it can become worse and possibly spread to all your other fingernails.


Advanced Dermatology Care of Southern California is a comprehensive dermatology group providing general & surgical dermatology, cosmetic enhancements and plastic surgery with two Southern California locations. Under the direction of Michael P. Tabibian, M.D., Medical Director, our collective experience aims to provide our patients innovative and highly individualized skin treatment solutions for patients of all ages and skin types.