Do you dream of healthy-looking nails? Tired of breaking, chewing, or hiding them?
You’re wise to be concerned about the health of your nails, as they are a portal into the rest of the body. Unhealthy nails could mean you are suffering from some other malady. For instance, yellowed, crumbling nails are indicative of a fungal infection. People with diabetes or prior infections should always be vigilant about their nail health. The American Academy of Dermatology offers their insights for better-looking nails.
Trimming & Filing
“Always keep your nails clean and dry and cut nails straight across using sharp nail scissors or clippers. Slightly round the tips of your nails [with an emery board] to provide maximum strength,” board-certified dermatologist Phoebe Rich from Oregon Healh Science University Portland advises. “Never bite your nails or remove the cuticle. Not only do these actions damage the nail; they also increase the risk of infection.”
You should never use your nails as a tool — for example, to open pop cans, pry off jar lids, or scratch off stickers. Trimming regularly and keeping the nails short reduces the risk of trauma or injury. Thick toenails that are difficult to cut can be soaked in warm salt water for 5-10 minutes to minimize the chance of cracking and splitting. Most importantly, “bathroom surgery” must be avoided at all costs! Many people try to “dig out” ingrown toenails or file away fungus nails. It’s important to see a dermatologist or a podiatrist for these issues, rather than risk greater injury.
Dermatologists recommend wearing shoes that fit properly and do not squish the nail. Alternating shoes each day can also cut down on systemic damage done to the nails over time. Our podiatrist friends over at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in New York City recommend choosing shoes that leave half an inch of space from the big toe to the top of the shoe with a wide toe box. “Look for shoes that allow your big toe — all of your toes, really — to lie flat and wiggle around a bit,” they write.
Lastly, the American Academy of Dermatology suggests wearing flip-flops at the pool and in public showers to reduce the risk of infections caused by fungus. Even with this precaution, we find that bacteria, fungus, and pathogens have a way of seeking people out — especially if they’ve suffered an infection in the past or have a genetic predisposition to fungal infections. That’s why the SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer is such a worthwhile tool in your fight against yellow fungal nails. Any microbes you managed to pick up in your travels will be eliminated in one 45-minute cycle, leaving you with sanitary, fresh-smelling shoes.