Things You Should Never do to Your Nails
Having incredible-looking nails all year round is not easy - a lot of people can surely appreciate this. And this cuts across the board; whether your nail care routine involves just occasional clipping or a thorough weekly manicure to spruce things up. But we can all agree that having great-looking and clean nails is something we should all take a lot of pride in. That aside, a majority of us rarely do our nails any favors, often at times even without knowing. Here, we will attempt to dissect some of the things you should never do to your nails particularly if you desire healthy-looking and strong nails that says volumes about you.
A Look at Some of the Common Things You Should Never Do to Your Nails
1. Never Cut Your Cuticles
It is very easy to think that your cuticles are getting in the way of a perfect manicure, so its not uncommon to find that most people can't help but remove this very important part of your nail stem. Here's the thing; cuticles are there for a reason. The last thing you should do is try to get rid of them just because you feel they are ruining your look.
Your cuticles, for starters, act as a much-needed physical barrier that keeps germs and pathogens away from the most vulnerable part of your nails. Apart from preventing infections, they also seal in the moisture required to keep your nails strong and shiny. Get into a tendency of cutting off your cuticles regularly and you will end up with brittle, infected or dull-looking nails.
Having said that, as much ragged, dry and overgrown cuticles can be unsightly and grossly unattractive, there are numerous ways you can address this problem without necessarily cutting them off. One of the best approaches is using a bit of cuticle oil to soften them before gently pushing it back rather than slicing them away. Secondly, while you can trim excessively overgrown cuticles and dead skin on your nails, avoid cutting away this part entirely. Otherwise, you risk causing permanent nail damage, bleeding, potential infection and pain.
2. Never Use Your Nails as Tools
Your nails are there as a complimentary outfit to your fingers and to protect the underlying soft tissues against mechanical damage or bacteria infection. They are certainly not tools to be exploited whenever you want to force something open or retrieve jammed items. Actually, this should rank high in the list of things you should never do to your nails. Even if you are lucky enough to have mable-hard fingernails, steer clear of the following;
- Opening things using your nails: It may be a beer can, jammed mayonnaise container or a sealed jar, never ever use your fingernails as bottle openers. There's a high chance you could end up chipping or breaking the nail. And if you're unlucky enough, you might as well rip off the nail from its nail bed!
- Don't clean things using the nails: It may sound like an obvious no-brainer but you will be surprised by how common this behavior is. We are always (sometimes subconsciously) using our nails to extract debris from tight spaces whether it is the space between the buttons of our Macbook, grooves on our desks or inconvenient spaces where only our beautiful nails can seem to reach. Nonetheless, it's high time you stopped doing that. Apart from the risk of splitting the nail, the dirt ends up being lodged under the nails and could make its way to your food if you're not very keen on sanitizing your hands regularly.
- Don't open locks with your nails: Apart from the simple fact that your nail can't possibly open a lock, there is a huge possibility that you could end up breaking it. Even worse, the fingernail can get stuck between the tiny grooves in the lock before ripped entirely off the nail bed when you start twisting to extricate it.
3. Don't Use Your Nails to Pick Your Nose
It can be very tempting to use your long and beautiful nails to scrape off dried phlegm from deep inside your nostrils when nobody is watching. Long nails also double up as excellent launching platforms when you just want to quickly flick out an irritating booger. However, not only is it gross but also quite unhygienic since bacteria/virus extracted from deep inside the nostrils tends to linger under the nails long after you have gotten rid of the booger. And if you are not careful, you could end up eating up these germs the next time you pick up your favorite delicacy.
What's more, there's also a high chance that you could scrape off some highly-sensitive skin inside the nostrils causing an injury that takes quite a while to heal.
4. Don't Use Your Nails to Clean or Scrape off Food Particles from Your Teeth
You may be thinking, who even needs a toothpick or dental floss when you have long and hard nails? Well, you will be flabbergasted to know that most of us can't help but try to excavate food debris from the tiny space between our dental formula using our fingernails when toothpicks prove to be elusive. Nonetheless, this has both ramifications to your nails and overall digestive system. For starters, the space under your nails harbours a multitude of bacteria, not to mention other common pathogens such as viruses and protozoa. Using your nails as teeth cleaners could introduce some of these microorganisms to your alimentary system. An infection often follows not too long after that.
Are Fake Nails Bad for Your Real Nails
One of the most controversial subjects of nail care revolves around the question of, "Are fake nails bad for your nails?" And to answer this commonly-searched query of; is fake nails bad for you? We have to look at both sides of the argument.
For starters, the installation of acrylic nails involves filing down the surface of your natural nails until they are rough enough to allow the sticking of the artificial talons. In other words, this mechanical abuse on the nails weakens them exceedingly and makes them more prone to breakages in the future. Besides, the chemicals used in the fixing and application of the acrylics can potentially irritate the skin around the nail bed or even shrivel up the cuticle thus irritating it further.
So, are fake nails bad for your real nails? Unfortunately, yes. Artificial nails have the potential to leave your real nails looking thin, parched and brittle. And it does not even end there. The removal process of acrylics typically involves soaking them in acetone for at least 30 minutes or filling them off mechanically. Now, if you want to sport the artificial nails for more than two weeks, you will need re-dos and touch-ups every fortnight or so to fill the gaps left as the nail bed grows. For the reasons mentioned above, these touch ups are incredibly harsh on the health of your natural nails.
Still, there are many who dig the look of artificial/fake nails. And if you happen to be one of them, the following tips can go a long way in mitigating the damage.
- Go for soak-off gels rather than conventional acrylics: Here is the thing, while gel nails are not as durable as acrylics as they are more susceptible to cracking, peeling and brittleness, they tend to be more flexible than conventional acrylics. In other words, this implies that your own natural nails are less likely to warp or crack during application, usage or removal.
- Supplement your diet with the necessary vitamins needed to build marble-hard natural nails: Taking vitamins for nails may sound like a foreign concept but the immense benefits that you can accrue from adopting such a practice can make a night and day difference in the state of your nails. Biotin, for instance, is one of the major nutrients your nails need that may be absent in your diet. Grabbing a bottle of Wellabs Biotin, Keratin and Collagen capsules the next time you are due for an artificial nails installation session makes up for the potential damage your natural nails may pick up from the salon.
- Reserve the fake nails for special occasions/functions only: If you are a fan of fake nails, then reserving them for special occasions can lessen the frequency of problems that is normally associated with artificial talons. The time spent without having the acrylics allows your real nails a chance to repair, heal and rejuvenate.
- Skip cuticle trimming: Ask your nail technician to refrain from trimming or cutting back the cuticles, which could predispose your nails to infections and infestation. By the way, nail infections are notoriously hard to clear.
Is Nail Polish Bad for Your Nails?
Nail polish have, without a doubt, really come a long way. The evolution from the days of traditional nail polish which used to be painted in multiple coats before being air dried to the fancier gel polish which is cured under a UV lamp is nothing short of outstanding. As you would expect, this has raised concerns such as, 'Is nail polish bad for your nails?'
Well, this entirely depends on the exact type of nail polish used and the frequency of the application. As far as this goes, remember the following pointers.
- While traditional nail polish is easy to remove using an acetone-based polish remover, using low-quality polishes can cause non-permanent pigmentation and discoloration of the nail bed.
- Gel polish often involves buffing, filling and aggressive scrapping of the nails before application. This can injure the nail plate if done in the wrong way or too frequently.
So, is nail polish bad for nails? Unfortunately, the application and removal process of nail polish is not exactly very kind to one's natural fingernails. Most (if not all the time) it will involve soaking the nails in acetone which can cause severe dryness and brittleness. What's more, wearing nail polish for lengthy periods at a go is detrimental to overall health and well-being of the underlying nail plate.
The solution, in this case, is reserving polish and gel for special occasions only. Using gel or traditional polish sporadically does not seem to have the same negative long-term consequences that are associated with frequent use. Get into the habit of going for weeks in between nail polish sessions to give your nail bed and cuticle a chance to heal or rejuvenate.
Is Acetone Bad for Your Nails?
In case you didn't know, acetone is a strong solvent that is found as the main ingredient in standard polish removers. Acetone-based polish removers work by breaking down the pigment of a nail polish allowing it to be dissolved quickly from the nail plate. It is also used to detach acrylic, artificial, shellac and SNS nails from your natural nails. Given its extensive and regular use, one may begin to wonder; is acetone bad for your nails?
While acetone is not necessarily a toxic solvent, nail health experts tend to believe that it can dehydrate the cuticles, nail bed , nail plate and even the surrounding skin tissues when used frequently. If anything, it is not uncommon for the above-mentioned parts to become flaky, dry, irritated and red after a stint of acetone use. So, what is the solution? In comparison to non-acetone polish removers, is acetone bad for nails? Bear in mind that natural polish removers are less effective at removing the paint and will often require a bit of scrubbing to completely get rid of the polish. This could damage the nails if not done correctly.
The only answer to this dilemma is limiting your contact with substances or procedures that will involve having to use an acetone solvent. Therefore, this means using nail polishes sporadically and reserving the use of acrylics to special occasions only.
Biting Nails is not Good for You
Biting and cutting your nails using your teeth is not just gross but also very unhygienic. As much as some of us cannot resist gnawing down our short stubs when we're bored or nervous, this habit is linked to a mammoth transfer of bacteria from under the nails to the gut, which can have devastating consequences on your overall health.
Intrinsically, biting nails is not good for you for several reasons.
- Biting nails is bad for the teeth: Biting and chomping down on your nails can break your enamels or damage the gums. The germs that are transferred from the fingers to the mouth could potentially infect and irritate the gums severely.
- Can cause halitosis: The bacteria from the nails can also linger and proliferate in the warm and moist environment of the mouth causing halitosis, also known as bad breath.
- You risk having ingrown or hangnails: Constantly biting and chewing your nails increases the chances of accidentally gnawing the hangnails. Most hangnails are then followed by open sores after getting infected.
These are certainly not the only bad things about biting your nails, there's also a risk of ingesting the toxic chemicals (courtesy of the nail polish) if your nails are painted.
Taking excellent care of your nails is not hard but many people still fail at it. Start today because the long-term repercussions of not taking meticulous care of your nails start to crop up when least expected.