Weak or brittle fingernails can be a challenge to toughen up. The following tips can help you protect them, making your nails less likely to split or break.
- 2. Moisturize your nails and cuticles at bedtime and cover them with cotton gloves.
- Apply a nail hardener, but avoid products containing toluene sulfonamide or formaldehyde. These chemicals can cause redness or irritate the skin.
- 3. Don't use nail polish remover more than twice a month. Instead, touch up the polish. When you do need a remover, avoid those that use acetone, which dries nails.
- 4. Repair splits or tears with nail glue or clear polish.
Some simple guidelines that can help you keep your nails looking their best:
- Don't abuse your nails. To prevent nail damage, don't use your fingernails as tools to pick, poke or pry things.
- Don't bite your nails or pick at your cuticles. These habits can damage the nail bed. Even a minor cut alongside your nail can allow bacteria or fungi to enter and cause an infection (paronychia). Because your nails grow slowly, an injured nail retains signs of an injury for several months.
- Protect your nails. Wear cotton-lined rubber gloves when using soap and water for prolonged periods or when using harsh chemicals.
- Perform routine nail maintenance. Trim fingernails and clean under the nails regularly. Use a sharp manicure scissors or clippers and an emery board to smooth nail edges. Never pull off hangnails — doing so almost always results in ripping living tissue. Instead clip hangnails off, leaving a slight angle outward.
- Moisturize your nails frequently. Nails need moisture just like your skin does. Rub lotion into your nails when moisturizing your hands. Be sure to apply a moisturizer each time you wash your hands.