Moisturizing is a well-known secret to healthy skin, but it’s often overlooked in nail care. While dry, brittle nails can be the result of many factors, they’re ultimately a cry for moisture, so consider proper moisture the foundation of your nail care routine. When applying hand lotion, give your nails a little extra attention. There are plenty of moisturizing nail products on the market, but applying moisturizer is really only half the battle—there’s more to strong nails than a fancy cream or serum.
It’s common practice to cut, push back, or try to get rid of cuticles altogether, but cuticles are not the enemy. In fact, the cuticle is the nail’s natural protective seal. Messing with your cuticles can do far more harm than good—even if a nail technician is the one doing the handiwork. Cuticle can leave the nails vulnerable and at risk of infection.
A cosmetic dermatologist, agrees that poorly kept cuticles can have a domino effect. When your cuticles get dry or injured it can injure the nail bed and affect the way your nails grow out. Moisturizing the cuticles with cream or cuticle oil to help protect and strengthen your nails.
Don’t stop washing your hands or shower with gloves on, but do pay attention to ways you can reduce the time your nails spend in contact with water because excessive water contact can weaken nail structure. (Wet hair is especially vulnerable, and the same caution-when-wet approach you take to handling wet locks can apply to nail care, too.) For example, consider wearing gloves while doing the dishes or other wet work.
Do you know how soft and bendy nails get after a long bath? Consider this: The nail is like a sponge. It is 1,000 times more absorptive of water than the skin, for example, and so water can easily diffuse into the nail. Excessive water exposure can put significant strain on delicate nail cells (called onychocytes), which can lead to brittleness, peeling, and breakage.