Before outlining the useful steps anyone can take to ensure their fingernails are kept in maximum health, it is worth going back to some basic considerations. It would help with your fingernail maintenance if you appreciated exactly what these parts of your body are actually made of. Your nails are made from laminated layers of a substance known as keratin. This is a protein that grows from the area around the base, under the cuticles.
During this process, as new cells grow, older ones become compact and hard, eventually getting pushed out towards the tips. When your nails are healthy, they should be nice and smooth. There should not be any grooves or pits and their colour and consistency should be uniform. Don't be alarmed if the surface of these nails does appear to have a certain amount of vertical ridges, running from the direction of the cuticle towards the tip. These bridges are perfectly harmless, becoming more prominent the older you get. Damage to the nails can also cause white lines or spots to appear, but these will eventually grow out towards the fingertips as the growing process unfolds.
So here are the crucial aspects of keeping your fingernails in optimum health. Firstly, keep them clean and dry at all times. This will stop bacteria and fungi from flourishing beneath your fingernails. If you're going to be in subjecting your fingers to excess temperatures, either through dishwashing, or perhaps handling chemicals, then always wear rubber-lined gloves.
Make sure that your nails are filed and trimmed on a regular basis. The best way to achieve this is to use a sharp pair of manicure scissors, or nail-clippers. When you attend to your nails, cut them straight across, and then around the fingertips in a gentle curve. By far the optimum time to be dealing with your nails is when they are slightly moist. Immediately upon exiting a bath or shower would be the perfect opportunities.
The use of moisturiser is also excellent for your fingernails. If you happen to use a hand lotion, then rubbing the lotion from the palms and upwards into your fingernails and cuticles should be an integral part of the process.
What you should never be doing is abusing your fingernails in any way. Many people have developed nervous habits that involve biting their nails. This will merely cause the tips of the nail to serrate, meaning they will be more likely to snag in objects, perhaps getting torn away completely. If you are in a situation where you have to delve into something, always use an appropriate tool rather than using your fingernail as a convenient but far too sensitive alternative.
Perhaps most importantly, if you suspect there is a problem with your fingernails, do not ignore it under the false hope that it will go away. Seek professional advice from your doctor or dermatologist. This is what they are therefore