Take a close look at your fingernails. Are they strong and healthy looking? Or do you see ridges, dents, or areas of unusual colour or shape? Many less than desirable nail conditions can be avoided through proper fingernail care. Others indicate an underlying condition that requires attention.


To keep your fingernails looking their best, follow these simple guidelines.


  • Keep your fingernails dry and clean. This prevents bacteria, fungi and other organisms from growing under your fingernails. Wear cotton-lined rubber gloves when washing dishes, cleaning or using harsh chemicals, and avoid long soaks in the tub.
  • Trim and file your fingernails regularly. Use a sharp manicure scissors or clippers. Trim your nails straight across, then round the tips in a gentle curve. It might be easiest to trim and file your fingernails when they're soft, such as after bathing.
  • Use moisturizer. When you use hand lotion, rub the lotion into your fingernails and cuticles, too.


  • Abuse your fingernails. To prevent nail damage, don't use your fingernails as tools to pick, poke or pry things.
  • Bite your fingernails or pick at your cuticles. These habits can damage the nail bed. Even a minor cut alongside your fingernail can allow bacteria or fungi to enter and cause an infection.
  • Pull off hangnails. You might rip live tissue along with the hangnail. Instead, carefully clip off hangnails.
  • Ignore problems. If you have a nail problem that doesn't seem to go away on its own or is associated with other signs and symptoms, consult your doctor or dermatologist for an evaluation.


Nail polish originated in China, dating back to 3000 BC.[1][2] Around 600 BC during the Zhou Dynasty, the royal house preferred for the colors gold and silver.[1] However, it would eventually transition to red and black.[1] During the Ming Dynasty, nail polish was often made from a mixture including beeswax, egg whites, gelatin, vegetable dyes, and gum Arabic.[1][2]

In Egypt, the lower classes would wear pale colors and the high society red.

By the turn of the 9th century, nails were tinted with scented red oils, and polished or buffed. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, people pursued a polished rather than painted look by massaging tinted powders and creams into their nails, then buffing them shiny. One such polishing product sold around this time was Graf's Hyglo nail polish paste. After the creation of automobile paint, Cutex produced the first modern nail polish in 1917.[3][not specific enough to verify] Later the Charles Revson Company (later Revlon) produced their first nail polish in 1932.

Once nail polish was refined, it was often used in the place of gloves to cover up the grime underneath finger and toe nails.[4]


Nail polish today is a refined version of the paint on vehicles. Most nail polishes are made of nitrocellulose dissolved in a solvent (e.g. butyl acetate or ethyl acetate) and either left clear or colored with various pigments. Basic components include: film forming agents (silver halide), resins and plasticizers, solvents, and coloring agents. Adhesive polymers (e.g. tosylamide-formaldehyde resin) ensure that the nitrocellulose adheres to the nail's surface. Plasticizers (e.g. camphor) are chemicals that link among polymer chains, spacing them to make the film sufficiently flexible after drying. Pigments and sparkling particles (e.g. mica) add desired color and reflecting characteristics. In addition, coloring "may also be attributable to the presence of chemicals such as chromium oxide greens, chromium hydroxide, ferric ferrocyanide, ferric ammonium ferrocyanide, stannic oxide, titanium dioxide, iron oxide, carmine, ultramarines, and manganese violet.” In order to get that glittery/shimmer look in the color, mica, bismuth oxychloride, natural pearls, and aluminum powder are added into the ingredients of the nail polish.[5]Thickening agents (e.g. stearalkonium hectorite) are added to maintain the sparkling particles in suspension while in the bottle. Ultraviolet stabilizers (e.g. benzophenone-1) resist color changes when the dry film is exposed to direct sunlight.

Nail polish makers are under pressure to reduce or to eliminate toxic ingredients, including phthalates, toluene, and formaldehyde. In September 2006, several makers agreed to phase outdibutyl phthalate, which has been linked to testicular problems in lab animals and humans, in updated formulations.[6] Some makers eliminated formaldehyde from their products, others still use it.[7] The city of San Francisco enacted a city ordinance, publicly identifying establishments that use nail polishes free of the "toxic trio" of toluene, dibutyl phthalate and formaldehyde.[8]

Studies performed on female rats discovered that DBP, also known as phthalates, have been causing birth defects. It was soon removed from the ingredients of nail polish as a precaution. "The amount of chemicals used in animal studies is probably a couple of hundred times higher than what you'd be exposed to from using nail polish every week or so," says Paul Foster, PhD, a senior fellow at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "So the chance of any individual phthalate producing such harm is very slim."[9]

Nail polish is considered a hazardous waste by some regulatory bodies such as the Los Angeles Department of Public Works).[10] Many countries have strict restrictions on sending nail polish by mail.[11][12]

In order to reduce the exposures of nail salon workers to the potentially dangerous chemicals found in nail polish, nail tables equipped with local exahust ventilation have been used in nail salons.[13] Researchers have been evaluating the effectiveness of the different local exhaust ventilation systems in ventilated nail tables. Preliminary findings have shown these ventilation systems have potential to reduce worker exposure to chemicals by at least 50%.[14]

Lilibet Gelish Nail Polish Commercial