With so many types of fake nail enhancements commonplace these days, it is easy to forget about taking care of your natural nails. After all, no matter how bad your natural nails look, they can be instantly covered and transformed into a beautiful-looking manicure that lasts for weeks, so who cares right?

Well you should care, because at the end of the day, there will come a point when your horrible damaged nails can’t be hidden, and then where would you be? Certainly not out shopping for gloves in this humid climate, that’s for sure!

The look and feel of your natural nails can often be a telltale sign of your general health. For instance, certain nail concerns can point to vitamin deficiencies; while others can hint at more serious health conditions that might require an urgent visit to your doctor. Which is why it’s important to know what to look for if you suspect you have unhealthy nails.

What causes unhealthy nails? 

Unhealthy nails can be caused by a number of reasons, from using harmful ingredients in certain nail products, like formaldehyde (some nail strengtheners contain formaldehyde which causes the nail to become brittle and can lead to onycholysis or separation).

Excessive exposure to acetone can also dehydrate the nail leading to fragility, peeling, splits, and breakage. Try and avoid products that tout themselves as treatments, but require polish remover to remove them, as they are often glorified clear polish and can even make nail damage worse.

Other causes of unhealthy nails include damage caused by injuries, such as aggressively buffing the nails or removing cuticles. Genetic predispositions can also play a role in nail health. Nails derive their nutrients and oxygen from the bloodstream, and if you’re predisposed to poor peripheral circulation, your nails may not be able to get the nutrients they need to be healthy. 

Additionally, the overuse of artificial products like nail polish, gel, or acrylic, on nails make nails brittle and dehydrated.

How To Determine If Your Nails Are Healthy Or Not

Healthy nails have a natural sheen to them, are flexible, have an even nail plate, a pink nail bed with a clean white tip, and intact cuticles, so if your nails don’t check off these boxes, it’s best to set up an appointment with a dermatologist to see what is wrong.

To maintain healthy nails, consider taking a break from products like gels, acrylics, and polish. If you really can’t stand keeping your nails au naturale, be gentle when removing nail enhancements and look out for products that have skin-benefiting ingredients, we are talking about legit scientific validity and are formulated with natural ingredients.

Additionally, moisturizing your nails with cuticle oil can go a long way, simply because nails love oil and conditioner. Nails are made of keratin protein, so you want to treat nails as gently as you treat your hair and condition them often.

Also be sure to incorporate supplements like vitamin C, biotin, zinc, iron, and magnesium, to ensure your nails are getting the necessary nutrients it requires to remain healthy, strong and beautiful.