Aging & Health: Take Charge

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Feb 25, 2020

Finger nail care do's and don'ts

By Joey Keillor, @joeykeillor



As you age, your fingernails can naturally become weaker and prone to splitting. Try these do’s and don’ts to help keep them healthy and strong.


  •  Avoid extended fingernail wetness — Your fingernails aren’t waterproof. If they sit in water for a long time, it can make them more likely to split. Wear cotton-lined rubber gloves during tasks such as washing dishes or cleaning.
  • Trim your nails — To keep fingernails strong, trim them straight with soft rounded corners. Use sharp manicure scissors or clippers, and try to trim them after a bath, shower or hand soak.
  • Use moisturizer — Dry nails are more prone to split, so make sure hand lotion reaches your fingernails and cuticles.
  • Clean under your nails — When washing your hands, don’t forget about germs on the underside of your nails. In addition to washing away germs with soap and water, a nail brush may be helpful.
  • Try a nail hardener to strengthen nails — But stay away from products with formaldehyde, as it can irritate the skin and repeated use may weaken nails.
  • Eat a balanced diet — Consuming a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, lean proteins and healthy fats will ensure you get the necessary nutrients that can lead to healthier nails.


  • Pick at your nails — Don’t bite your fingernails, pick at your cuticles or pull off hangnails. You may damage the nail bed and increase your chances of infection. If you have a hangnail, carefully clip it off.
  • Frequently use nail polish remover — If needed, use an acetone-free remover.
  • Use nails like a tool — Don’t pry or scrape things with your nails, as this can harm them.


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