Maintaining fingernail health as well as the appearance of the fingernails is an important part of daily personal hygiene. Healthy nails that have been well cared for always make a person look more put together and professional. One of the best ways to improve fingernail health is to eat a healthy diet with enough protein, calcium, and vitamins. Nails need a balanced diet to thrive, just like the rest of your body.
Supplement your diet with calcium and biotin, two nutrients that nails need to be strong. Fingernail health then comes from the way you maintain and care for your nails. It is best to clip them and file them to a rounded edge; remember to only file in one direction, not in a see-sawing motion. This type of motion could weaken the nail, and make it more prone to splitting and cracking.
Gently clean under the nail tip, but do not scrape down too far, and make sure not to cause any scratches or cuts underneath the nail bed. In addition, it is best to push the cuticles back by first soaking them in warm water, then gently pressing with an orange stick. Again, do not press too far, do not make any cuts, and do not clip the cuticles off. Cuticles are a necessary part of the nail, and they help to prevent injury and infection from occurring in the nail bed.
If you choose to paint your nails, remember to remove the polish every few weeks to give the nails time to breathe. In addition, if you choose to use dark colors, a nail polish base coat may be able to prevent the color from staining the nail. Though stained nails do not really affect fingernail health, they can certainly give nails an unattractive appearance. If you wear fake nails, remove them regularly and check to make sure your nails are not peeling, flaking, or turning green; these could all be indicators of a fungal or bacterial infection. Be sure a manicurist sterilizes instruments thoroughly, or just bring your own.
Other ways to improve fingernail health are quite simple. Wash the hands regularly, and apply moisturizer morning and night to the hands, nails, and cuticles. Do not pick or bite the nails; this can cause the nail and the cuticle to tear, which could cause infection. Finally, if you notice marked changes in the health of your fingernails, and it does not improve, it may be necessary to visit a dermatologist to rule out any underlying medical causes.