Fingernails: Do's and don'ts for healthy nails

Are they strong and healthy looking?

Fingernails: What's normal, or not
Your fingernails - composed of laminated layers of a protein called keratin - grow from the area at the base of the nail under your cuticle. As new cells grow, older cells become hard and compacted and are eventually pushed out toward your fingertips.

Healthy fingernails are smooth, without pits or grooves. They're uniform in color and consistency and free of spots or discoloration.

Not all nail conditions are normal, however. Consult your doctor or dermatologist if you notice:
Changes in nail color, such as discoloration of the entire nail or a dark streak under the nail
Changes in nail shape, such as curled nails
Thinning or thickening of the nails
Separation of the nail from the surrounding skin
Bleeding around the nails
Redness, swelling or pain around the nails
Fingernail care: Do's and don'ts
To keep your fingernails looking their best, follow these simple guidelines.

-Keep your fingernails dry and clean.
-Trim and file your fingernails regularly.
-Use moisturizer. Rub the lotion into your fingernails and cuticles, too.

Abuse your fingernails. To prevent nail damage, don't use your fingernails as tools to pick, poke or pry things.
Bite your fingernails or pick at your cuticles. These habits can damage the nail bed.
Pull off hangnails. You might rip live tissue along with the hangnail.
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.
Do's and don'ts for healthy nails
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