Nails reflect our overall health. That’s why proper nail care is so important. To keep your nails healthy, dermatologists offer the following tips: Keep nails clean and dry. Use sharp nail scissors or clippers to cutnails straight across, rounding them slightly at the tips for maximum strength. Keep nails shaped and free of snags by filing with an emery board. Avoid biting fingernails, and do not remove the cuticle, as damage could occur.
Do not use your nails as a tool to pry and poke at things as this can damage them. When caring for your toenails, trim them regularly to keep them short,which will minimize the risk of trauma and injury. When toenails are thick and difficult to cut,soak your feet in warm salt water. Avoid “digging-out” ingrown toenails,especially if they are already infected and sore. If you are suffering from an ingrown toenail,see a dermatologist for treatment. Wear shoes that fit properly and alternate pairs. Wear flip-flops at the pool and in public showers to prevent infections caused by a fungus that can get in your toenails.
Report any nail changes, swelling, or painto your dermatologist, as these can be signs of serious nail problems. If you have diabetes or poor circulation, it’s especially important to seek treatmentfor any nail problems. If you have questions about caring for your nails,you should make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist. To find a dermatologist in your area, visit aad.org.