5 Things You Didn’t Know Are Ruining Your Nails

by Stephanie Montes

You use your hands for everything, so it’s no surprise your nails are susceptible to major destruction if you don’t give them the right TLC. Here, the things you didn’t know were damaging them and the best ways to soften the blow.


Tough As Nails

Peeling Off Your Polish

The Problem: A tiny chip shows up on your manicure and it immediately sparks the compulsive picking of all your nails. It's not quite as damaging as peeling off your gel, but it still removes the top layer of your nails, leaving them weak and brittle.

The Solution: Keep a couple of packs of remover pads in your purse and get rid of that polish before you feel the urge to pick at it.

Keeping The Same Polish On For Too Long

The Problem: Just because you can get your polish to last longer than two weeks (more likely with pedis than manis) doesn't mean you should leave it on that long. Doing so can seriously dehydrate your nails and cause white spots to appear.

The Solution: Set a calendar reminder on your phone, or plan—and stick to—a biweekly mani-pedi appointment with girlfriends.

Using Your Nails As Tools

The Problem: Peeling and scraping off sticky labels, fastening key rings and struggling with container lids all contribute to frail and roughed-up nails. It's almost as bad as biting, and you already know that's a no-no.

The Solution: Wait until you find a pair of scissors or a helping hand. Sometimes you just don't have a choice, but trust us, cutting back on the abuse will help keep your nails strong and healthy. In the meantime, use a nail-strengthening formula to give them some extra support.

Not Eating A Balanced Diet

The Problem: It's true—you really are what you eat. Not consuming leafy greens and healthy protein can result in weak nails.

The Solution: The best way to strengthen nails from the inside out is to clean up your eating habits. Vitamin-packed daily supplements will also help.

Using Household Cleaning Products

The Problem: By now you know how important it is to wear rubber gloves when you wash dishes, but you should also wear them even when you're not soaking your hands. Household cleaning products contain alcohol and other chemicals that dry out your skin and eat away at your nails.

The Solution: Keep those gloves on until you're done using any kind of spray or detergent. Afterward, wash hands well and moisturize with a hydrating hand cream.