Why they’re stressed-out: “Research has found repetitive and prolonged wetting and drying of fingernails to be a probable cause of splitting nails,” says Nia Terezakis, a dermatologist in New Orleans and a clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University. Not only are your hands more likely to get wet frequently in the summer but, because this is mani-pedi season, you may also be spending more time at the salon having your cuticles pushed back with metal instruments. Bad news here: Those tools can scrape away the microscopic protective cells on the nail surface that keep nails hydrated, supple, and strong.
What you can skip: Although it’s hard to resist those coral fingertips, says Kim D’Amato, the founder of Priti Organic Spa, a natural salon in New York City, “in warmer weather I often recommend getting a salon manicure less frequently and just buffing nails in between appointments for a quick, healthy, high-shine look.” For optimal results, buff your nails only in the direction they grow, not back and forth, using a buffer that’s soft to the touch, not gritty like a file, says Terezakis. Another quick, easy way to ensure that nails stay healthy and strong? Pop a biotin pill (try the Vitamin Shoppe Biotin, $7 for 100 capsules, vitaminshoppe.com). This B vitamin has been shown to improve nail quality. (Of course, talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.)
Spa treat: “Sugar scrubs hydrate nails and help remove dry skin from around the nail beds,” says D’Amato. Mix 2 cups sugar with 1 cup olive oil, which is high in antioxidants and nail-strengthening vitamin E. Rub the mixture all over your hands, paying special attention to your cuticles. Remove it with a warm washcloth after 15 minutes.