By Yasmin Qaseem, MD
Our nails are one of the most important parts of our integumentary system! Read on to learn more about what you can do to help keep your nails in their best health.
- Keep your nails well groomed.
Make sure to keep your nails trimmed to a reasonable length so bacteria doesn’t hide underneath them.
Try to clip your nails after a bath or shower with a nail clipper, when they are somewhat softened.
- Be particular about your tools and technique.
Make sure to cleanse your tools about once a month with alcohol and warm water to prevent them from becoming dirty or infected.
Try to avoid damaging or pushing back your cuticles to prevent injury or deformity to your nails.
Moisturize your hands and nails after you trim – be sure to use a thick oil based cream for better hydration.
- Stop biting your nails!
Biting the nails allows for introduction of harmful bacteria from under the nails into the body which can cause sickness.
Try to determine why you bite your nails, and replace it with a more positive habit.
- Make sure you look closely at all of your nails at least once a month.
It’s important to really examine your nails at least monthly – you should look for things like dark streaks in the nail, which could be a warning sign of skin cancer.
You can also look for other color changes like yellow or green spots which could mean you have a nail infection.
Nail changes can be tricky – check with your dermatologist regarding any nail changes you might see!
- It is best to remove all nail polish prior to visiting with your dermatologist.
Remember, nails are often a mirror of our overall health. It’s important to bring up any nail changes with your dermatologist, as it could be a sign of something more.
For more information on nail health, visit the American Academy of Dermatology website today or speak with your board-certified dermatologist!