We get it – with spring and summer fast approaching, your G-Cal is in desperate need for some manicure and pedicure appointments. Whether it’s to guarantee that your hands look good holding your weekend rosé or to finally whip out your favorite opened-toed shoes, it’s finally the season to take extra care of your nails! That being said… we know how easy it is to slack off on nail care. With winter just now being over, your nails may have some battle scars from the cold weather. Nail care is important year-round but fear not, we’re here to help you nail it this season with these nail care do’s and don’ts.
Winter Warning! Steer Clear Ahead of Nail Aftermath
Congratulations, you survived another winter! But are you looking at your hands and feet wondering why they’re so dry? Us too. So we asked board certified dermatologist Dr. Janet Prystowsky.
”Nails, cuticles, hands, and feet tend to dry out because of an ambient humidity drop in climate. This drop causes the water from these areas on your body to evaporate into the dry air of winter, resulting in the outer layers of your skin to shrink, shrivel up, and crack.
Flu season only worsens the situation. Excessive use of soaps and sanitizers work to strip away the natural oils your body creates to keep your skin and cuticles soft and moisturized.
Your manicures aren’t safe either. Nail polish tends not to last on dry nails because the nail plate may peel. Dry cuticles may also cause the skin around nails to look irritated or inflamed, unfortunately affecting the appearance of a fresh trip to the nail salon.
Here are some tips to keep your nail health in pristine condition:
Avoid Harsh Detergents and Solvents
Dr. Prystowsky says, “Harsh detergents and solvents strip your nails of essential oils,” so it’s best to limit or completely eliminate exposure to them.
Do – Use protective, waterproof gloves when doing dishes, scrubbing pots and pans, or using harsh cleaning products.
Don’t – Get a manicure every week. Cool it on the nail polish remover! Try to space manicures to at least every other week to decrease exposure of the nail plate to nail polish remover.
Nail and Cuticle Care Regimens
Do – Invest in a cuticle cream. Livad’s cuticle cream has sunflower oil, which is great for rehydrating dry nails. Massage the cream into your nail plate, cuticles, and surrounding skin 1-2 times daily. Application of cuticle cream under the free edge of the nail will help to hydrate the attachment area of the nail to the nail bed. It will also help to prevent brittleness of the nail. Dr. Prystowsky says, “keeping cuticles hydrated helps the nail by providing a better skin seal around nail. This protects the nail unit from infection.” Apply the product liberally! You want to get the product into all of the crevices it needs to and then wipe off any excess so you can continue about your day. Only a little is needed to be effective, but it must be thoroughly and regularly applied.
Don’t – Ignore warning signs. If only the fingers and toes are super-chapped, this would suggest the possibility of a skin disease problem such as psoriasis or other dermatitis. If the hydration plan with cuticle cream above does not work, referral to a dermatologist should be considered.
Don’t – Turn to paraffin treatments without checking health restrictions. If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, varicose veins, or open wounds/sores avoid paraffin treatments completely. If not, still make sure your skin is clean and “sterilized” prior to treatment and that the salon uses fresh paraffin for each client, i.e it is thrown away after it is taken off. Limit treatments to your hands to avoid side effects.
Don’t – Overwash your hands and feet. To prevent dry skin on the hands and feet, limit how frequently you wash. If you’re an avid hand-washer, gentle cleansers like Aveeno’s Baby Creamy Wash or Dove’s beauty bar are good choices to prevent dryness.
Do – Avoid sanitizers. Antibacterial cleansers are not necessary, and overuse of hand sanitizers only increases the chances of dryness.