We all like to feel our best and taking care of ourselves is important. The tips included in this post are a guide for both men and women. Part of self-care is the healthy appearance of our hands and more specifically our nails. It is beneficial to look for advice from professionals such as dermatologists and clinicians who specialize in skin and nail health. Healthy looking hands are a way to greet the world with confidence and grace.

Tip 1: Avoid Cutting Your Cuticles - Dana Stern, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City, shares that the cuticle is one of the bodies’ natural defense systems and manipulating them is not a good idea. “The cuticle is the natural barrier to fungus and bacteria -- and once you breach that, protection is lost," Dr. Stern says. “This will not only make cuticles look worse -- red, swollen, and ragged -- but may also land you a nasty infection that harms the nail bed and leads to permanent nail damage.”

Tip 2: Moisturize the Nail Bed and Cuticles – Keeping the cuticles and the bed of the nails moist and flexible will keep the cuticles from cracking and getting dried out. Applying oils that are close to the skin’s own natural state is best. Some examples of natural oils would be Jojoba oil, Olive Oil or Apricot oil.

Tip 3: Vitamin B12 – Are your B12 levels adequate? Nails and their changing appearance can also tell us about our nutrition and our health. If your nails are dry and brittle, your vitamin B12 levels may be low. Before adding this into your diet, you can have your physician, Osteopath or Naturopath do a blood test to check your B6 and B12 levels. They can make appropriate recommendations to you about the right amount and type of B12 to take that will assist you.

Tip 3: Wash your hands with natural products – To protect the outer appearance of your skin and nails, take a look at what you are washing your hands with. Some anti-bacterial clear liquid soaps contain ingredients that will dry the skin out. It is best to use products that are more milk-based because these are more gentle on the skin and do not cause the skin to become dry and cracked.

Tip 4: Avoid acetone-based nail polish remover – Painting our nails is a way to make a bold statement; however, what you use to remove the nail polish with can affect the beauty of your natural nails. Most dermatologists agree that the acetone-based nail polisher removers contain ingredients that strip nails and weaken the nail bed. When the nail bed gets weak, the nails become brittle and break easily. Acetone polish removers contain a solvent that is strong enough to melt plastic, which means it can create a lot of damage to your nails. Non-acetone polish removers contain ethyl acetate, which is still a solvent, but it is more gentle. There are also nail polish removers on the market that are non-chemical based and biodegradable as well.

Photo by Monika Adamczyk/Hemera / Getty Images
AuthorShannon Sullivan