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Nail Health & Maintenance: Common Problems & Solutions

Nail Health & Maintenance: Common Problems & Solutions

Research shows that 99% of people will experience a nail disorder during their lifetime. Despite this staggering statistic, nail health often takes a backseat in our daily hygiene and grooming routines. 

Unfortunately, what many dismiss as minor nail issues can indicate serious underlying medical problems. 

In this blog, we tackle the causes and symptoms of common nail health problems, from minor hangnails to more troubling issues like fungal infections. Discover valuable nail tips that not only help prevent these conditions but also enhance your overall health and well-being.

1. Onychomycosis

Onychomycosis occurs when fungi enter through cracks in your nail or the skin nearby. It commonly targets toenails and is easy to overlook since symptoms typically do not appear in the early stages. However, if left untreated, the infected nail may thicken, crumble at the edges and turn black, yellow or green. Onychomycosis can cause significant pain and make it difficult to walk comfortably. 


  • Not wearing well-fitting shoes
  • Failing to keep your feet clean and dry 
  • Walking around barefoot in communal places, such as public pools and locker rooms, where fungal infections can easily spread


  • Thickening and discolouration
  • Pain or discomfort when placing pressure on the affected nail
  • Brittle or crumbly nails
  • In some cases, the skin surrounding the nail can be red, itchy and swollen

Treatment and prevention:

  • Take over-the-counter or prescription antifungal creams
  • Undergo laser therapy
  • Removal of the infected nail material using various nail care tools and methods like filing, trimming or debriding 
  • Practise good foot hygiene — wash your hands and feet regularly with soap and water and dry them thoroughly. Wear shoes that allow your feet to breathe. 

2. Hangnails

When you observe a small piece of skin that's torn or detached at the nail's side, you may be dealing with hangnails. Despite their size, hangnails can cause severe pain and discomfort. 


  • Dehydrated skin due to excessive hand washing, cold weather or exposure to harsh chemicals
  • Improper or aggressive nail clipping 
  • Habits like nail biting or picking at the skin around the nails 

Treatment and prevention:

  • Gently clip the hangnail with sterile nail clippers or cuticle cutters and moisturise the affected area.
  • Use protective gloves when working in harsh conditions.
  • Practise proper nail care. Trim your nails carefully, avoiding cutting too close to the skin.
  • Keep your skin hydrated using high-quality hand lotion or nail oil.

3. Ingrown toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when the edge of a toenail grows into the surrounding skin, resulting in pain and discomfort. You may see redness and swelling in the surrounding area.

People with diabetes should be especially vigilant about foot care, as they face a higher risk for complications from ingrown toenails. Diabetes may lead to impaired blood circulation and nerve damage in the feet, so even minor issues like calluses or ingrown toenails may be infected and fail to heal properly.


  • Wearing tight-fitting footwear
  • Injuries from stubbing your toe or dropping something heavy on it
  • Using improper nail care tools and practices, such as cutting toenails too short or rounding the corners 
  • Cutting toenails too short or rounding the corners 


  • Pain and tenderness
  • Inflamed skin
  • Swelling
  • Liquid or pus coming out of the toe

Treatment and prevention:

  • Perform at-home care, such as soaking the foot in warm water three to four times daily.
  • Take antibiotics if infection is present.
  • Undergo partial nail removal procedure.
  • Prioritise safe and effective nail care. Avoid cutting toenails too short, and always cut straight across rather than rounding them.

4. Onychoschizia

Onychoschizia is a common condition characterised by the splitting or peeling of the fingernails. Nails are made of strong layers of keratin. However, external injuries or underlying health issues can cause these layers to separate and your nails to peel.

Affected nails become excessively brittle, making them prone to chipping, breaking or flaking. Peeling nails may also exhibit discolouration, such as white spots or yellowing.


  • Frequent hand washing or soaking in water
  • Nail injuries
  • Neglecting nail health
  • Excessive use of nail products, such as nail polish and polish removers
  • Underlying health conditions like dehydration and mild iron deficiency

Prevention and treatment:

  • Moisturise with nail creams or cuticle oils.
  • When getting a manicure, ask your nail tech to leave your protective cuticles in place and avoid buffing too much.
  • Avoid overuse of nail products. Give your nails time to breathe between manicures.
  • Use nail products that contain nail-strengthening ingredients like biotin, vitamin E and coconut oil.

5. Onycholysis

Onycholysis occurs when the nail separates from the nail bed, beginning at the tip of the nail and gradually progressing towards the base. It may be a symptom of a potentially serious illness.


  • Physical trauma or injury to the nail
  • Contact with harsh chemicals, including nail polish removers and detergents
  • Fungal infection
  • Psoriasis
  • Reactions to chemotherapy and certain medications that cause light sensitivity
  • Improper nail care practices, such as excessive filing


  • Discolouration
  • Changes in nail shape or colour
  • Bending of the nail edges

Treatment and prevention:

  • Take oral antifungal treatments.
  • Keep nails properly trimmed.
  • Moisturise with cuticle oil.
  • Take prescribed medications for underlying conditions.

Shop premium nail products at NSI Australia

Healthy nails are a sign of vitality and wellness. By making nail care a priority, you enhance your overall appearance and protect yourself from potential infections.

For optimal nail health, use only the highest quality nail care tools and products. At NSI Australia, we provide a wide range of nail products and accessories perfect for both DIY enthusiasts and professional nail technicians.

From cuticle prep kits to rejuvenating nail oils and polish remover pads, we've got you covered. Shop our manicure supplies now designed to keep nails healthy and hydrated!
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