The stress of the holidays, poor nutrition and the cold weather can take its toll on nail health, according to Loyola University Health System dermatologist Rebecca Tung, MD.
“By following a few simple guidelines, you can keep your fingernails healthy while also looking great this holiday season,” Dr. Tung said.
Dr. Tung Offers These Tips:
Buff sparingly. Using a buffing board can help smooth out uneven ridges, which can become more prominent with age. But don’t overdo it. Buffing too often can actually thin and weaken the nails. Buff only once a month to keep your nails healthy and looking great.
Remember to apply a base coat. The base coat gives your colored polish something to adhere to, which makes your manicure last longer and reduces the risk of unsightly staining of the nails.
Skip quick-dry polish. While this type of polish might be tempting to use during the hustle and bustle of the holidays, these products dry out your nails, making them more fragile over the long term. Apply several thinner coats of polish if you are in a hurry for your nails to dry.
Don’t forget the top coat. This layer helps to seal in your color and reduce chipping.
Avoid dehydrating the nails. Apply a moisturizer on the nails and cuticles during cold weather months and use nonacetone removers when you are ready for a color change.
Stay away from toxic ingredients. Skip products that contain formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate. These compounds have been associated with long-term internal health risks.
Eating too many tasty treats? If you have overindulged on Thanksgiving/Christmas cookies and cocktails and your diet isn’t perfect, try a daily B vitamin supplement called biotin (5 mg) for healthier, stronger nails.
Cracked brittle nails or white streaking? Be sure to check in with your doctor to get tested for anemia (low iron levels) and thyroid disease.
Protect yourself from UV rays used to dry no-chip gel polishes. While no-chip gel polishes may be convenient to keep your nails looking great during this busy time of year, the jury is still out on the dangers associated with the UV rays used to dry these polishes. While chronic ultraviolet rays (UV) are a known cause of skin cancer, the small doses delivered in the salon may or may not contribute to your risk. Apply a moisturizer with an SPF of 30 or greater on the hands and around the cuticles before exposing your nails to the rays.