To keep your fingernails healthy and looking their best, follow these simple guidelines:
■ Keep your nails dry and clean. This prevents bacteria, fungi and other organisms from growing under the nails. Wear cotton-lined rubber gloves when cleaning or using harsh chemicals.
■ Trim and file your fingernails regularly. Trim your nails straight across, then round the tips in a gentle curve.
■ Use moisturizer. When you use hand lotion, rub the lotion into your fingernails and cuticles, too.
■ Don’t abuse your fingernails. To prevent nail damage, don’t use your fingernails as tools to pick, poke or pry things.
■ Don’t bite your fingernails or pick at your cuticles. These habits can damage the nail bed. Even a minor cut alongside your fingernail can allow bacteria to enter and cause an infection.
■ Don’t pull off hangnails. You might rip live tissue along with the hangnail. Instead, carefully clip off hangnails.
■ Don’t ignore problems. If you have a nail problem that doesn’t seem to go away on its own or is associated with other signs and symptoms, consult your doctor or dermatologist for an evaluation.
— Source: The Mayo Clinic