8 everyday things that could damage your nails

Astrid Casimire
Hello Alpha
Published in
3 min readAug 31, 2020


person washing hands at kitchen sink

Manicures aren’t the only way to have beautiful nails. Proper moisturizing, trimming, and at-home nail care can help your nails stay strong and healthy. But what about the things that can damage your nails? Here are some everyday things that could be damaging your nails, and how to avoid them.

1. Household chores

When you’re washing dishes, your nails are constantly exposed to water. This causes nails to swell and can weaken them over time. Plus the washing detergent can dry out your nails and strip them of natural oils that keep them moisturized. Wearing gloves while washing or cleaning can help protect your nails.

2. Harsh ingredients and everyday chemicals

Gloves can also protect your nails from the chemicals in cleaning products that can irritate and damage them. Even the alcohol content in perfumes and hair sprays can damage your manicure and dry out your nails, so be sure to wash your hands and moisturize after using them.

3. Using your nails as tools

We’ve all done it. We’ve all used our nails to open a can, pry a keychain apart or scratch off a label. These seemingly harmless habits can cause your nails to bend or break. Instead, use your finger tips when opening cans or similar activities. Or you can source a scissors or some other tool to help.

4. Cutting cuticles and pulling hangnails

Both of these are a big no-no. Cuticles seal your nail beds and protect them from infection so you definitely want to keep them intact. Instead of cutting or picking at them, use cuticle oil to soften your cuticles then gently push them back.

When it comes to hangnails, use a small scissors or nail clipper to snip them instead of pulling. Hangnails are small pieces of skin near the edge of your nails. If you pull them, you could rip your skin and leave it open to infection. Trimming them allows for a cleaner, safer cut.

5. Peeling off old nail polish

It may be tempting to peel your nail polish if you notice it chipping away, but don’t do it! Peeling off your nail polish can also strip away the top layer of your nails. Instead, use an acetone-free nail polish remover to safely remove your polish.

6. Artificial nails

Artificial nails are okay — but not too often. Applying them requires your nails to be filed until they’re rough, a process that can thin and weaken your nails. Plus, removing them requires you to soak your nails in acetone, which can leave your nails brittle and parched. Giving your nails a break between artificial nails like gels and acrylics can help them breathe.

7. Biting your nails

Jagged nails aren’t the only downside to nail-biting. It can damage your nails physically and make them more prone to infection. Biting your nails may also damage your teeth and make it easier for bacteria to spread from your fingers to your mouth. Bitter nail polish and even stress management can help you break the nail-biting habit.

8. Not paying attention to your nails

Even if you’re doing everything right to care for your nails, be sure you’re paying attention to their appearance. Abnormalities like ridges and discoloration can be signs that something is wrong. Talk to your doctor if you notice persistent changes in your nails. Redness, swelling, pus, or tenderness around your nails could mean a nail infection.

Alpha treats fungal and bacterial infections and periungual warts, which are small warts that cluster around your finger or toenails. Get started with us today and we’ll have you treated in no time.