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How do I keep my nails healthy?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Keep your nails trimmed and neat to prevent them from getting caught on something that could cause a tear. Try to avoid biting your nails as well, and moisturize them with a lotion or cream to prevent dryness and cracking.

There are a few things you can do to keep your nails healthy:
  • Keep your nails clean.
  • Keep your nails trimmed.
  • Use a nail file to shape and smooth your nails.
  • Trim toenails to reduce the chance of fungal infections.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Healthy nails begin with good hygiene and a few simple and smart habits:
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Nutrition is key to nail health. In particular, make sure you're getting adequate vitamin B, calcium, potassium, and iron, either in your diet or in supplement form. 
  • Keep your hands clean and dry so bacteria won't get under your fingernails and cause an infection.
  • Trim nails short (this helps keep bacteria and debris from collecting under your nails, where it can cause infection), but avoid tapering the edges of your nails, which increases your risk of ingrown nails. 
  • Don't trim or push back cuticles. Cuticles help guard the nail against bacteria and fungus. 
  • Avoid biting your nails, as this can also introduce bacteria and excess moisture into the nail area, creating favorable conditions for infection. 
  • Wear comfortable, well-fitting, breathable shoes and socks to lower your risk of ingrown toenails and fungal infections.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.