Written by Lisa Allen, MD
Who hasn’t suffered from brittle nails? Maybe you’ve been getting one hangnail too many or are experiencing irritating white spots on your nails. If you’re wondering what you can do to get your nails back in shape and looking fabulous, it helps to know the cause of your nail problems and what solutions you can use to treat the issue.
Are your nails looking a little yellow? The cause may be due to not using a base coat underneath your nail polish. If this isn’t the case and you’re still experiencing yellow nails, you may be suffering from an icky fungal infection.
For nail fungus, make an appointment with your doctor who can prescribe or recommend an over-the-counter medication that will treat and cure the fungus.
For an at-home approach, you can try to lighten your yellow nails by using nail polish remover that contains lemon juice – or a similar ingredient – that will bleach the color or you can purchase a special nail whitening scrub that uses a mild abrasive to scrape off the yellow tinge.
Brittle nails are one of the most annoying nail problems to have. For people who have brittle nails, you’ll have to pay extra attention to your nail care routine and what you use on them. There are a few ways that nails can become brittle.
A poor diet can result in weak and brittle nails as well as excessive sun exposure. If you use a nail hardener that contains the ingredient formaldehyde, you’ll want to find a different type to use, since this ingredient actually creates a drying effect on the nails. Instead, opt for a nail hardener that has a waterproof coating that is formulated to seal in moisture and keep out the dirt and water. Also try to avoid using nail hardeners consistently for long periods of time.
Nothing can make your fingernails look unkempt than hangnails. The typical causes of hangnails include constantly biting and picking the nails, exposing them to harsh chemicals and detergents, as well as neglecting your nails.
One way to take care of your hangnails is to use a sharp cuticle clipper to remove the hangnails. Don’t take off too much or else it may bleed and lead to infection. After removing the hangnail, allow the cuticle to heal before applying nail polish or other products.
If you want to remain free of hangnails, make sure to moisturize your hands and nails often. You can use hand cream, lotion or cuticle oil to massage your cuticles.
White spots on the nails can be unsightly. The spots often appear on the nails when too much pressure has been applied to the nail’s matrix by extreme pushing on the area. This can occur during a manicure as well as while doing normal, everyday activities.
Receiving an injury to the nail can also result in a white spot. To treat this condition, simply allow the nail to grow out, which will push the white spot up and eventually off of your nail once you cut it. While getting your nails done ask the manicurist to be gentle when dealing with your nails, especially beneath the cuticles since white spots appear easily where new nail growth is located.