We all know that dry, peeling cuticles can be painful and not pretty to look at but, for some reason, many of us don’t focus on nail health tips, but Not only does an overgrown cuticle lead to gnawing or snagging but it makes for an unpolished look, in both senses of the word. Since they act as a protective barrier that prevents bacteria from sneaking into the nail bed and causing infection, the worst thing you can do is cut your cuticles. So how can you get your cuticles to do their job without cramping your style?

An excellent first step is regularly letting your nails go au naturale and letting those cuticles breathe. Dermatologist Chris Adigun advises, “In general, any manicure left in place for an extended period of time is not a good idea because you are not seeing what is going on underneath the nail polish.” Here are 14 more nail health tips to keep your cuticles looking lovely.

1. Moisturize
Using a ton of moisturizer is one of the keys to optimal nail health. It’s best to apply it at night so it can be fully absorbed overnight. Whenever you put on hand lotion, make sure to rub it into your fingernails and cuticles, too.

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