5 Ways Your Nail Polish Habit Is Ruining Your Nails

Natasha Burton

red polish

There’s nothing we love more than a fresh manicure. But always having polish on your fingers, or changing colors weekly, can end up weakening your nails, leading to dryness, discoloration, and even breakage. And, sadly, not even perfectly applied color can mask these issues, let alone fix them.

To help you keep your nails healthy, while polished, we got the low-down from Priti NYC nail guru Kim D’Amato about some of the consequences that come from constant manis and how you can avoid them.

Always wearing polish on your nails.
“A well-manicured hand gives you that boost of confidence and is always lovely to look at — and it adds a pop of color to your day,” D’Amato says. However, your nails do need a break between manis, so be sure to let your nails go naked periodically. Nails are made of layers of dead keratin, so they do not “breathe” so to speak, but they will weaken if they are constantly covered in polish.

Forgetting the base coat.
Always be sure to wear a clear protective base coat, D’Amato advises, to avoid yellow-nail-syndrome. Yellowed nails can be caused by a number of things, including nail fungus, smoking, or an underlying medical problem, but excessively wearing nail polish without a base coat can also be a major cause.

Constantly changing your color— and using acetone between shades.
Traditional nail polish removers can really dry out your nails,  leading to peeling and splitting (which can increase your risk of contracting a nail infection). Avoid remover with an acetone base at all costs, D’Amato warns, to keep nails healthy. She suggests using Priti NYC’s soy-based remover instead.

Peeling your polish off.
Peeling nails can be caused by many different factors, such as dietary deficiency of vitamins, minerals, protein, amino acids, side effects from medication, weather changes, and exposure to chemicals, and psoriasis. But you up your risk for weak nails when you decide to forgo the remover and pick at your chipping polish — a major no-no. The cells on your nail grow in a slanted direction, like fish scales, and pushing them in the wrong direction can cause breakage.

Focusing on just the color.
Taking biotin and vitamins can help keep your nails healthy, D’Amato says, as will using gloves while doing housework. However, the act of “doing your nails” needs to entail more than simply slapping on polish. Keep your nails healthy by trimming and  lightly buffing them in one direction — from the cuticle to the tip — then rubbing  oil onto and under the nails to seal in moisture, she advises.

Read more: Weird Things You Didn’t Know About Nail Polish