Despite the reign of manicure in modern days, the natural beauty of clean, strong and shiny nails has always been considered as a classic beauty.
Glossy nails can be an indicator of good health and good self-care, but due to many factors, our nails won’t look as good as we wish them to.
Unlike nail painting, taking care of our fingernails requires patience and consistency. Beautiful and strong nails can be attained by a good diet, reasonable nail care habits and attentiveness.
Here are 10 useful tips that you can use to help strengthen your nails in no time.
10 best ways to keep your nails strong and prevent breakage
1. Take Biotin
Biotin is a B-group vitamin that contributes to the formation and strength of nails.
Like other water-soluble vitamins, Biotin cannot be synthesized naturally in the body. That’s why it’s necessary that we provide it through diet or supplements.
It can be found in foods like sardines, cooked eggs, and legumes, or you can take a B vitamin or supplement.
Check with your healthcare provider before taking a biotin supplement to ensure that it’s safe for you.
2. Minimize exposure to water
Soaking in water for too long or often leads to a lack of hydration in the body, which can cause your nails to become weak and brittle.
Wear gloves when washing dishes, and try to keep your hands out of the water while taking a bath.
After going to a swimming pool, make sure to apply your nail cuticles cream to redeem moisture.
It’s impossible to always avoid submerging your hands, of course, but this is something to be mindful about.
3. Stay hydrated
Drinking enough water is essential for health, and nail health is no exception.
When the body is fully hydrated, the cells become plumped and this shows up in the luster of the skin, hair and nails.
Without adequate moisture, nails can become brittle and break and peel easily.
Drinking enough water helps them to retain moisture and prevent from being dry.
4. Pay attention to your diet
Beautiful nails are the signs of a healthy body. When the body has a deficiency in vitamins and minerals, the most visible signs are: lackluster in hair, nails and skin. It’s trying to tell us that we should take a look at the foods we put in everyday.
Make sure you’re eating a healthy and varied diet as well as taking a multivitamin with minerals.
A diet that’s deficient in crucial vitamins and minerals can affect your entire body — including your nails.
5. Be careful about the products you use
Your favorite nail polish, polish removers or even hand sanitizer, may contribute a big role in damaging your nails and making them less healthy.
Many nail polish and polish remover are full of harsh chemicals. Using them for a long period of time increases exposure to harmful substances.
Nail polish remover that contains acetone should be avoided since it can damage nails.
Look for nontoxic nail polishes and soaks as well as acetone-free polish remover.
6. Avoid using gel or acrylic nails, if possible
While these are touted as an easy alternative for those who have trouble growing their nails, frequent use can cause your nails to peel, which weakens them.
If you must get them, don’t wear them continuously.
Exposure to the ultraviolet light required for gel polish has been identified as a risk factor for cancer, although exposure is far lower than what you get with UV tanning equipment.
Exposure also ages the skin that supports a healthy nail.
7. Moisturize Cuticles
Think of your cuticles like the protective caulking around a bathtub. If you cut them back too far or push them around too aggressively, you damage them. That, in turn, leaves your nail bed open to infection.
As part of regular nail care to maintain healthy nails, moisturizing cuticles and not even pushing them back or trimming them at all, even by professional nail manicurists.
Be aware of the signs of infection, including redness, pain, swelling, and even pus in your cuticles and the nearby skin. See a doctor for help treating any infection.
8. Wear dish gloves
Frequently immersing hands in hot, soapy water to wash dishes can weaken even strong nails, mostly because this process dries them out along with the rest of the skin on your hands.
Protective nail care calls for wearing gloves to protect your hands while you scrub.
9. Keep nails trimmed
“The fashion trend is to have neat, more natural-looking, shorter nails and not the long talons of the past”.
Trimming nails regularly helps you to maintain healthy nails and helps to avoid snagging or breaking. How frequently you trim will depend on how fast your nails grow.
Use a fine file to smooth out the edges of your nails. As part of your manicures, you can also lightly buff the surface of your nails, especially if you tend to get ridges.
10. Take infection seriously
Smoothing ragged edges and wrapping a broken nail in an adhesive bandage are fine, but if you see signs of infection, check in with your doctor for the needed nail care.
You’ll probably recognize the signs of a bacterial infection (redness, swelling, and pain), but you might miss the early signs of a nail fungal infection, such as puffy, red, irritated skin around the nail bed.
Fungal infections could improve with an over-the-counter antifungal treatment, but they sometimes require prescription medications — for optimal nail care, get medical attention when healthy nails are at risk.
11. Do your manicure at home
Going to the nail salons and getting your nails done by professionals has become a self-care treat that many women can’t live without.
Though this habit doesn’t seem to be harmful, it’s not really beneficial if you want to achieve healthy nails. Plus, this can increase the risk of infection and other contagious diseases.
Invest in a do-it-yourself manicure kit and learn to do some simple trimming at home. This is much safer, more hygienic, saves you a lot of money, and gives your nails a break after being exposed to chemicals for such a long time.
A note about manicures and pedicures
If you rely on manicures or pedicures for healthy-looking nails, keep a few things in mind.
Stick to salons that display a current state license, and work only with technicians also licensed by the state board.
Don’t have your cuticles removed — they act to seal the skin to the nail plate, so removal can lead to nail infection. Also, make sure your nail technician properly sterilizes all tools used during your procedure to prevent the spread of infection.
You might also ask how the foot baths are cleaned. Ideally, a bleach solution is used between clients and the filters are cleaned regularly.
Fingernails: What’s normal, what’s not
Your nails — composed of laminated layers of a protein called keratin — grow from the area at the base of the nail under your cuticle.
Healthy fingernails are smooth, without pits or grooves. They’re uniform in color and consistency and free of spots or discoloration.
Sometimes fingernails develop harmless vertical ridges that run from the cuticle to the tip of the nail. Vertical ridges tend to become more prominent with age. They can also develop white lines or spots due to injury, but these eventually grow out with the nail.
Not all nail conditions are normal, however. Consult your doctor or dermatologist if you notice:
- Changes in nail color, such as discoloration of the entire nail or a dark streak under the nail
- Changes in nail shape, such as curled nails
- Thinning or thickening of the nails
- Separation of the nail from the surrounding skin
- Bleeding around the nails
- Swelling or pain around the nails
- Failure of nails to grow out
Taking care of the nails regularly is often neglected since people rely too much on nail polish and such.
Healthy nails is the sign of a healthy body, so you may want to opt for a healthy approach to every aspect of your daily life: diet, water intake, self-care routine, and so on for your nails to be better.
If you have tried all of these methods and still haven’t seen any improvement, or you’ve noticed some abnormal symptoms, it’s time to see your doctor.