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Take a close look at your fingernails. Are they strong and healthy looking? Or do you see ridges, dents, or areas of unusual color or shape? Many less than desirable nail conditions can be avoided through proper fingernail care.
1. Keep your fingernails dry and clean. This prevents bacteria, fungi and other organisms from growing under your fingernails. Wear cotton-lined rubber gloves when washing dishes, cleaning or using harsh chemicals, and avoid long soaks in the tub.
2. Trim and file your fingernails regularly. Use a sharp manicure scissors or clippers. Trim your nails straight across, then round the tips in a gentle curve. It might be easiest to trim and file your fingernails when they’re soft, such as after bathing.
3. Use moisturizer. When you use hand lotion, rub the lotion into your fingernails and cuticles, too.
1. Abuse your fingernails. To prevent nail damage, don’t use your fingernails as tools to pick, poke or pry things.
2. Bite your fingernails or pick at your cuticles. These habits can damage the nail bed. Even a minor cut alongside your fingernail can allow bacteria or fungi to enter and cause an infection.
3. Pull off hangnails. You might rip live tissue along with the hangnail. Instead, carefully clip off hangnails.
4. Ignore problems. If you have a nail problem that doesn’t seem to go away on its own or is associated with other signs and symptoms, consult your doctor or dermatologist for an evaluation.