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Sheryl George
Jun 19, 2015 @ 1:00 pm

Before you slap on a fresh coat of paint, take a closer look at your digits to make they’re in tip-top condition. “Your nails can be a mirror to your health,” says N.Y.C. dermatologist Francesca Fusco. For example, if you have ridges on all your nails—bumps that can wave in a horizontal or vertical direction—it may be a result from pushing back cuticles too vigorously. "That can cause damage to the nail that is growing out from underneath it,” says Fusco. Instead of snipping or shoving, gently push back cuticles with a tool that has rounded edges (try this version from Ulta, $12; ulta.com).

Noticing a lot of breakage? You may need to consider incorporating a multivitamin into your diet to make sure you don’t have any deficiencies. "If you're lacking in things like iron or protein, it can make nails weaker, says Fucso.

If you see dark spots on the nail which aren’t from any isolated traumas, this is a sign to see a dermatologist. While there are a few potential causes, one of them could be a form of melanoma, which could be cancerous, says Fusco.

To keep tips healthy overall, moisturize with hydrating ingredients like shea butter or coconut oil. We love Yes To Coconut Protecting Hand and Cuticle Cream ($6; target.com). And if you’re a manicure fiend, opt for a non-acetone polish remover, like this soy-based version from Priti ($23; pritinyc.com). "It's not as harsh and drying to the nails and cuticles," says Fusco.

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