Home Treatment for Stronger Nails
Just like a new haircut and glowing skin, well-manicured and healthy nails remain an important part of a neat appearance. Unfortunately, not all women and men may boast good nails. Bad lifestyle choices, irregular visits to professional nail salons, chemical-stuffed nail polishes, nail extensions are the most common causes of weak nails. You may fix this problem with a little effort.
What is normal nail growth?
A nail is not a solid sheet; it contains many layers made of Keratin – a protein that also builds your skin and hair. The visible part of a nail is dead. The only “live” section of the nail is its base – called the matrix. This is the place where the new cells stimulate the nail growth by pushing the old cells further. This is how your nails become longer.
According to WebMD experts, the normal nail growth is 3 millimeters per month. However, this average rate may vary in some people. It is okay if nails grow faster, the reason for anxiety appears when they grow in a slower way or have stopped growing at all.
Expert tips for solving the major nail problems
There are simple guidelines that you may follow, even without professional nail salons, to support the health and beautiful look of your nails. The experts from Mayo Clinic and Cosmopolitan joined their efforts to give some useful tips for a home nail care:
Forget about emery boards!
The beauty experts assure that a good emery board isn’t rough. For example, the use of a metal emery board may cause small cracks and fissures of nails, making them tear eventually. Instead, consider opting for smoother emery boards that can gently file the nails down to the desired shapes.
File the nails in a healthy way!
Not just a proper emery board but also how you use it matters. Delicate nail filing is essential. Opt for filing the nails only in one direction, with a small amount of pressure.
Protective gloves are essential when coming into contact with chemicals!
Have you noticed that your nails became opaque after house cleaning with chemical products? This is no surprise – most chemicals in cleaning products have a negative effect on the nail’s strength, by drying and damaging them out. The same they can do with the skin on your hands. That is why don’t forget to do the cleaning in protective gloves for keeping your nails and skin pretty.
Push, but do not cut the cuticles!
Do you want to get fine-looking nails? Then forget about cutting the cuticles. A cuticle is nothing more than the skin layer covering and protecting the matrix of nails. If to remove this protective skin layer completely, you may leave the nail base exposed to different bacteria and fungi. Instead, you need to push the cuticles gently. The simplest way to do this is when the cuticles are soft after taking a shower. Also, the cuticles are to be nourished and moisturized daily using creamy nail products.
Your nails are not tools!
Love to scratch stickers with nails? Well, your nails may not agree with you. The nails are made of delicate layers that can be easily damaged despite the visible strength. If you stop using the nails as tools, you may prevent their flaking and splitting. If you can’t resist the urge, then keep your nails as short as possible.
Keep your nails far away from water!
After a hot bath soak or taking long pool swims, your nails may look softer and more flexible. If it happens occasionally, you don’t need to worry. However, if you need to spend a lot of time near or in water, your nails may split soon. Try wearing gloves or, at least, regularly massage your nails with a special nail oil to restore their strength.
Give your nails a rest from polishes!
Another common reason of having weak nails is the excess use of some nail care products like polishes or acetone-based removers. The chemicals in synthetic polishes and varnish removers can’t do any good to your nails, particularly if they are already brittle. On the contrary, they can only worsen their poor condition. Choose chemical-free polishes and removers to make your nails beautiful and healthy at the same time.
Nail extensions should only be used for tips!
It is probably not a surprise to you that nail extensions may be bad for your nails. Wearing them all over the nail surface can only speed up the development of fungi and some nasty bacterial infections – sometimes, leading to the permanent damage. If you can’t live without the extensions, at least, use them only on tips to reduce the possible damage.
A balanced diet for strengthening nails
One of the essential ways to get naturally fast-growing and thick nails is getting enough keratin, magnesium, zinc, biotin through foods or supplements. According to WebMD, the problem of weak, thin and dry nails may be fixed by adding foods rich in these vitamins to your diet:
- Consume no less than 0.8 grams of Keratin per each kilogram of your body weight throughout the day in order to have healthy nails, skin, and hair. Most vegetables and fruits contain Keratin, especially carrots. Other sources of Keratin are Jello, animal gelatin, canned ham, yogurts, thickeners for gravies and soups;
- Pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate may work as all-natural sources of magnesium. Magnesium may not only help grow nails fast but also prevent stress;
- If you want to strengthen nails, consider eating more zinc-rich seafood;
- The most available natural source of biotin (the essential nail hardener) is chicken eggs.
When should you see a doctor?
Sometimes, weakened and thin nails can be symptoms of serious health problems demanding an urgent medical treatment. Check if your nails want to “say” something about the work of your internal body organs:
- White nails may point at a severe liver condition;
- Half white/half pink nails may be the symptom of a developing kidney disease;
- Pale nail beds can be one of the anemia symptoms;
- Thickening and yellowing structure with the slowed natural nail growth may be a sign of a lung disease;
- Yellow-tinged nails with slightly blushed bases may point at type 2 diabetes.
Don’t hesitate to visit a doctor if you have any of these symptoms longer than a few weeks. You may save yourself from a lot of possible health troubles.