How can I tell if I have healthy fingernails?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Healthy fingernails should be smooth on the surface, free of pitting and excess thickness. There should be no unusual coloration, and the nails should be reasonably strong and resistant to breaking or tearing. Keeping your nails trimmed short ensures that they'll stay healthy. The longer they are, the more easily dirt and bacteria can be trapped beneath nails, which can breed infection. If washing your hands frequently or working with them often in wet conditions has left your nails overly dry, moisturize them regularly with a moisturizer or petroleum jelly for needed extra nourishment. 
Arthur W. Perry, MD
Plastic Surgery
Our nails should be smooth and should have a lighter half circle where the nail starts growing from. That little area is called the "lunula," Latin for "little moon." Your skin should overlap the nail where it grows from and it should abut it on the sides. Your fingernails ideally should be kept short, overlapping the skin by about a millimeter.

Continue Learning about Healthy Nails

Healthy Nails

Healthy Nails

For healthy fingernails, pamper them daily with a gentle buffing or a massage. This increases circulation to the nails, keeping them from cracking and peeling. Rubbing petroleum jelly, vitamin E or a cuticle cream into the cuticle...

s at night will keep them moisturized and also promote nail strength. Wear gloves when washing dishes or cleaning to prevent nails from becoming brittle, and don't use nail polish remover that contains formaldehyde or acetone, both of which are drying.

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.