Nails are susceptible to health issues, like physical damage, infection, or other medical conditions, much like other parts of your body. Your nail health can also be compromised by bad habits like biting, cuticle picking, and misuse. Breaking these bad habits will improve the look and feel of your nails. Nail damage caused by poor habits is preventable; however, you may need additional support to restore your nails to health.

Stop Biting Your Nails

Onychophagia, the medical term for repetitive and compulsive nail biting, is one of the most common bad behaviors that can damage your nails. Your nails may become weak, brittle, and tear easily if you habitually bite them over a long period of time. This may cause permanent damage to the smoothness and shape of your nails. In addition, nails are in constant contact with the environment and therefore are one of the most unsanitary parts of our bodies. People that bite their nails expose themselves to bacteria present in the debris that accumulates underneath. One way to break this habit is to keep nails painted with nail polish. A new technology is Nuvail™ (poly-ureaurethane, 16%), a patented, clear polymer coating that is clinically proven to strengthen your nails, yet is flexible and “breathable”, unlike nail polish.

Don’t Pick Your Nails

Picking at your nail edges or cuticles can harm the texture and look of your nails. Picking at your nails may make your nails susceptible to infection by bacteria or fungi. You can cause serious damage to your nails by picking off nail polish. If you wear nail polish and are in the habit of picking at it, one way to break the habit is to carry nail polish remover packets. These allow nail polish wearers to remove polish anywhere. However, the overuse of acetone-containing nail polish remover may cause nail dryness and brittleness.

Don’t Forget Sunscreen and Lotion

Most of us have gotten in the habit of protecting our skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun; however, we forget about the need to protect our nails! Apply sunscreen to your nails in order to protect your fingertips and toes from the sun. In fact, hands and feet are susceptible to skin cancer just like the rest of your body. Today many lotions contain sunscreen; do not forget to carry lotion with you during the summer so that you can take care of dry or chapped hands and feet while protecting your skin and nails from harmful UV rays. Make sure to re-apply sunscreen-containing lotion often.