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Whether you’re a gardener, homesteader, or a straight up farmgirl, we all share one thing: a love of the earth. Literally. Most of us are notorious for gardening, cleaning, and caring for livestock without any gloves on. It’s hardly surprising when our nails start to show wear and tear from our soil-loving lifestyle.

Chipped nails, broken nails, frayed or split nails. Sound familiar?  How about spots, lines or ridges along your nails? In many ways your nails are a window to your health. They say a lot about how you live. If your nails aren’t looking their best, then you might benefit from taking a closer look at how you care for your hands on the outside and care for your body on the inside. Here are a few nail care tips for keeping those gardening hands as pretty as possible!

Keep your nails dry and clean. This prevents bacteria or fungi from growing and causing infections under your nails.

Don’t bite or pick your nails. Biting and picking at your nails can cause stress fractures which can lead to breakage. Both habits also damage your nail bed. If you are too rough and cut along the area, you can allow bacteria or fungi to enter and cause an infection in the area.

Keep your nails conditioned. Using a moisturizer, petroleum jelly, or castor oil can help keep your nails from drying out.

Want more tips on caring for your gardeners hands? You might like: 7 Hand and Nail Care Tips For Every Gardener!

Wear gloves! You know those yellow kitchen gloves and outdoor work gloves that you’ve been ignoring? Put them on when you’re working! Yard work, gardening, washing dishes and cleaning can leave your nails chipped, frayed, broken or exposed to harsh chemicals. Wearing gloves will protect your nails and hands from damage.

Optimize your nutrient intake. One of the best nail care tips that we can think of is one that benefits more than just your nails. Get on a clean eating kick! Weak and unhealthy nails can be a reflection of a nutritional deficiency. Try introducing some more Vitamin B and E as well as protein into your diet.

Your nails aren’t tools. Using your nails to pick, poke or pry things can damage your nails.

Use nail polish. Wearing nail polish protects your nails from damage. For best results, remove old nail polish after about ten days. Nontoxic nail polish only, please!

Avoid harsh chemicals. Chemicals such as acetone, formaldehyde and toluene can dry out your nails and make it difficult to maintain healthy and strong nails.

Try a brush-on nail strengthener. Nail strengtheners are composed of the same proteins as our nails.

While our nail care tips can usually help improve the appearance of your nails, see a doctor or dermatologist if you suffer from persistent nail problems that don’t go away on their own or are accompanied by other symptoms. It may be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

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