09:45am Monday 20 January 2020

9 tips to keep your nails healthy this holiday season

MAYWOOD, Ill.   – The stress of the holidays, poor nutrition and the cold weather can take its toll on nail health, according to Loyola University Health System dermatologist Rebecca Tung, MD.

“By following a few simple guidelines, you can keep your fingernails healthy while also looking great this holiday season,” Dr. Tung said.

Dr. Tung offers these tips:

Buff sparingly. Using a buffing board can help smooth out uneven ridges, which can become more prominent with age. But don’t overdo it. Buffing too often can actually thin and weaken the nails. Buff only once a month to keep your nails healthy and looking great.

Remember to apply a base coat. The base coat gives your colored polish something to adhere to, which makes your manicure last longer and reduces the risk of unsightly staining of the nails.

Skip quick-dry polish. While this type of polish might be tempting to use during the hustle and bustle of the holidays, these products dry out your nails, making them more fragile over the long term. Apply several thinner coats of polish if you are in a hurry for your nails to dry.

Don’t forget the top coat. This layer helps to seal in your color and reduce chipping.

Avoid dehydrating the nails. Apply a moisturizer on the nails and cuticles during cold weather months and use nonacetone removers when you are ready for a color change.

Stay away from toxic ingredients. Skip products that contain formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate. These compounds have been associated with long-term internal health risks.

Eating too many tasty treats? If you have overindulged on Christmas cookies and cocktails and your diet isn’t perfect, try a daily B vitamin supplement called biotin (5 mg) for healthier, stronger nails.

Cracked brittle nails or white streaking? Be sure to check in with your doctor to get tested for anemia (low iron levels) and thyroid disease.

Protect yourself from UV rays used to dry no-chip gel polishes. While no-chip gel polishes may be convenient to keep your nails looking great during this busy time of year, the jury is still out on the dangers associated with the UV rays used to dry these polishes. While chronic ultraviolet rays (UV) are a known cause of skin cancer, the small doses delivered in the salon may or may not contribute to your risk. Apply a moisturizer with an SPF of 30 or greater on the hands and around the cuticles before exposing your nails to the rays.


Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola’s Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

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