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How To Improve Nail Health

Add A Nail Strengthener To Your Routine

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Prescription topical agents, such as Nuvail and Genadur, can help to strengthen weakened nails. While OTC nail hardeners can do the trick in the short-term, prescription strengtheners are the best choice for long-term use, since they contain chemicals that both increase the strength of the nail and trap moisture in to prevent future brittleness. Consistent and dedicated use of the nail hardeners is key for successful results, says Dr. Allawh.

Strengthen Your Nails By Giving Them A Break

“While there’s no scientific evidence that keeping your nails polish-free will make a difference, anecdotally I can tell you that we totally notice a difference in the strength and health of the nails when our clients do take a break,” says Tuttle. Choi and Holford agree all three recommend keeping your nails au naturel for at least a few days after sporting a gel, acrylics, or dip.

If you really need to keep them polished, use a nail strengthener as a base coat, suggests Holford. You can also look for a color that contains strengthening ingredients.

Avoid Contact With Water

Dont stop washing your hands or shower with gloves on, but do pay attention to ways you can reduce the time your nails spend in contact with water, because excessive water contact can weaken nail structure. For example, consider wearing gloves while doing the dishes or other wet work.

You know how soft and bendy nails get after a long bath? Consider this: The nail is like a sponge. It is 1,000 times more absorptive of water than the skin, for example, and so water can easily diffuse into the nail, Dr. Stern says. Excessive water exposure can put significant strain on delicate nail cells , which can lead to brittleness, peeling, and breakage, she says.

This is also why soaking nails before a manicure is bad practice. Not only does this make your nails more vulnerable to infection, according to Dr. Green, but it also doesnt allow nail polish to adhere as well or last as long.

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Invest In A ‘soft’ Nail File

You might have heard that glass nail files are better for filing with, but while they’re pretty, longer-wearing and easy to clean, it pays to invest in a ‘soft’ file, according to Session Manicurist, Ami Streets.

‘To get the best finish from your filing, always opt for a soft file to prevent tearing or splitting your nails,’ she says. Her top picks? ‘Orly’s nail file is probably one of best I’ve used because of the durability and the way it gives the smoothest finish really fast.’

‘Pro products are always best and usually more hard wearing. I really like the Natural Nail Company because you can choose a file depending on whether your nails are soft or hard, and there are even options for acrylics.’

What’s more, you really need to nail your filing technique. Back and forth see-saw motions will only cause the nail to splinter, so always file in one direction, using long, swift but gentle strokes.

Pro Tip: ‘Start from the outside edge and move into the centre,’ advises Streets. ‘This technique will give you a smooth finish and more control over the shape you’re trying to achieve.’

Use A Keratin Treatment

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Found naturally in nails, it’s responsible for making them flexible but don’t let that word put you off. It doesn’t mean they’ll be thin, fragile or bendy, but fortified and much less likely to chip.

Pro Tip: It might sound obvious, but Quashie’s top piece of advice is actually the easiest way to keep your nails looking as good as possible. ‘Don’t use your nails as tools remember, be gentle!’

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Ten Over Ten Celery Oil

Celery juice is trending as an overall health booster, and this capitalizes on some of the same benefits…for your nails. Celery seed extract improves thickness and minimizes the look of ridges, but this strengthening treatment also touts a long list of other beneficial ingredients, such as vitamin B3 and zinc to help harden nails and antioxidant-rich meadowfoam seed oil to protect them from environmental damage.

To buy: $26 tenoverten.com

Use Cuticle Oil Or Serum

Staying hydrated is an important part of any self-care routinecuticles included. By using cuticle oil regularly, you’ll avoid breakage and picking while simultaneously keeping your nails healthy and flexible, too. Dry nails will break and chip while well-moisturized ones will grow nice and long. “Keep in mind that it takes about 12 weeks for a nail to fully grow out from cuticle to tip. Healthy cuticles lead to healthy nails ,” comments Aaron.

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How To Strengthen Nails: 11 Ways To Make Them Stronger

Strong, healthy nails look beautiful and support the lovely colors and designs that allow you to express your creativity and personal style. Nail health is also essential to overall health and wellness, so there are many benefits to strengthening your nails and protecting them for a long time to come.

Nailboo makes it easy to protect and care for your nails, no matter what your style might be. Whether you love ombre, French tips, marble nails, or a stylish bare nail look, these tips and tricks from Nailboo will help you to strengthen your nails.

Nourish Your Nail Beds

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If a bumpy, ridged nail bed is completely ruining your mani, you might need to increase your vitamin B9 intake.

Otherwise known as folic acid, this vitamin repairs and multiplies the cells that make up nails, which speeds up growth and promotes overall nail health. It has also been shown to boost strength and prevent peeling.

‘Folic acid is responsible for healthy cell growth in skin tissue as well as hair and nails,’ explains Griggs. ‘A true deficiency in folic acid may cause discolouration and contribute to brittle and weak nails.’If you think you’re lacking, foods like beans and whole grains are rich in folic acid but you can buy folic acid supplements over the counter, too.

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Beans And Legumes Like Lentils And Lima Beans

If you prefer a plant-based diet but want to keep your nails looking flawless, there are plenty of nutrient-rich sources of protein and biotin that aren’t meat-based. Beans, for example, are packed with biotin, which is a proven powerhouse for nail health, helping them to grow longer and thicker in time.

Legumes, like lentils, are are packed with “nine essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins and biotin,” according to Eat This, Not That!, so you’ll want to enjoy them in soups and stews year-round to reap their nail-enhancing benefits.

Always Keep A Nail File On Hand

If your job or workout routine exposes your nails to potential damage, Dr. Prystowsky advises keeping a nail file handy for on-the-spot buffing of any rough edges. For the smoothest finish, work in one direction with the grain of your nail.

Instead of an emory board, which can cause nails to peel and snag, try a glass nail file. “A glass file will create an even edge to the nail and can be used on the weakest, brittle, and damaged nails,” Dr. Stern says.

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Consider The Use Of Supplements

If weak nails are caused by an underlying nutrient deficiency, such as an iron deficiency, you can consult your doctor on the use of supplements.

The following supplements are often suggested to improve nail health and can be taken upon consultation with a doctor:

  • Vitamin B9. Also known as folic acid, vitamin B9 can be found in legumes and whole grains and is essential for cell repair and therefore in restoring nail health. Consumption of vitamin B9 supplements can help strengthen your nails and lower the chances of peeling or breakage.
  • Keratin. As discussed above, keratin is a protein needed for nail strength. Therefore, the use of keratin supplements and even keratin oil can boost your nail health.
  • Biotin. This water-soluble vitamin has been shown to boost nail strength. It is suggested to consume about 30 µg of biotin every day, and the requirement can be met with the help of supplements. Biotin supplements can improve nail health in 49 months of use.

Other Veggies Including Sweet Potatoes Carrots Tomatoes And Bell Peppers

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If you like a little more color on your plate, worry not there are tons of veggies that give equally strong staying power to nails without being totally boring.

Tomatoes and bell peppers are chock full of Vitamin C, which is great for collagen levels, and sweet potatoes and carrots are high in Vitamin A, which provides necessary antioxidants to keep nails protected and strong.

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Try The Following Home Remedies

Various home remedies have been shown anecdotally to improve the health of nails. However, when trying these remedies, keep in mind that they are not backed by scientific evidence.

Since the remedies are generally safe, you can use them as an adjunct to other self-care measures and see if they work for you.

The following home remedies may aid in strengthening your nails:

  • Mix one egg yolk with 2 tbsp of milk or cream, and apply the mixture to your nails. Wash it off after 1015 minutes. This remedy can help nourish your nails and make them stronger.
  • To 1 tbsp of warm olive oil, add 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar and 1 tbsp of beer and mix well. Soak your nails in this mixture for about 15 minutes.
  • Dilute apple cider vinegar with equal amounts of water, and soak your nails in the solution for up to 10 minutes.
  • Mix green tea, a few drops of wheat germ oil, and a pinch of salt. Soak your nails in the mixture for 5 minutes, and wipe them with a dry cloth.
  • Add 1 tsp of lemon juice to 3 tsp of warm olive oil. Dab this solution on your nails using a cotton swab. Once the mixture is dry, cover your hands with soft, cotton gloves, preferably overnight.

Global Attention To Nail Health And Esthetic Appearance

Throughout history, women have enhanced their beauty with nail cosmetics. The use of nail cosmetics dates to 5000BC when women in India, China, and Egypt used henna to dye their fingernails . Currently, 85% to 90% of women worldwide use nail care products .

Nail cosmetics including nail polish, acrylics, silks, gels, and extensions, are a global, multibillion-dollar industry, the primary consumers of which are woman. In 2018, nail cosmetics became an $8.36billion industry in the United States . Globally, the retail market for nail polish increased from $3 billion in 2007 to $45billion in 2012 .

Clearly, the esthetic appearance of nails is important to women. Awareness of how to maintain a healthy nail, safe practices for the use of nail cosmetics, and the early identification and treatment of nail disorders should help patients use nail cosmetics and maintain functional nails throughout their lives.

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Foods For Strong Nails

We dont, however, eat nutrients. We eat food. So, a nutrient-rich diet that provides an array of the nutrients above would logically help support strong, healthy nails. Top foods for strong nails include:

  • Eggs, which are one of the best foods to consume for the nails as they provide protein, biotin, vitamin D, and sulfurall vital nutrients for healthy nails.
  • Avocado, berries, coconut, cauliflower, cheese, legumes, mushrooms, salmon, and sweet potatoes, which are all rich sources of biotin.
  • Protein-rich foods like eggs, fish, quality meats and poultry, and beans.
  • Wild-caught fish, like salmon and mackerel, provides protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and biotin to help prevent nails from splitting and breaking.
  • Beans and legumes are also high in nutrients that support strong, healthy nails, including protein and biotin.
  • Another good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids are chia, hemp, and flaxseeds.
  • For nail-nourishing iron, B vitamins, silicon, cysteine, phytochemicals, and more, look for 100% whole grains. Oats may be especially helpful as they also provide minerals like copper and zinc.
  • Because they provide iron, folate, and calcium, green leafy greens, like kale, spinach, and broccoli, are another nail-promoting food.
  • Folate can be found in asparagus, Brussel sprouts, black-eyed peas, and spinach, to name just a few sources.
  • For vitamin C, look for citrus fruits as well as bell peppers and tomatoes.
  • Choose A File With A High Grit Number

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    Did you know every nail file has an accompanying grit number? It’s typically a tiny number stamped either on the packaging or on the file itself, and it conveys how coarse the board will be against your nails. The higher the grit number, the softer the file.

    In terms of maintaining strong nails, you’ll want to go with a file that has a higher grit number . “You want something that’s just a little bit more coarse than a regular buffer,” says Lim. No need to go scratching up the nail plate, here. If you can’t find a specific grit number on your file, Lim says you can just take your finger and run it across the board: “You shouldn’t feel much friction.”

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    Nail Biting Can Be The Result Of Other Health Issues

    I know there are probably a lot of you that dont have issues with this so you may be thinking nail-biting isnt so bad or its not that serious. But this is a serious issue for many. Mainly because there are a lot of medical and psychological reasons surrounding nailbiting. Lets dive into them.

    An article in Psychology Today describes Onychophagia , as the visible damage to fingernails. They list the common causes & effects of nail-biting as:

    • distressful feelings of unease or tension prior to biting
    • feelings of relief or even pleasure after biting
    • feelings of shame, embarrassment, and guilt, often related to the appearance of physical damage to skin and nails caused by biting
    • tissue damage to fingers, nails, and cuticles
    • mouth injuries, dental problems, abscesses, and infections
    • in some cases, onychophagia may lead to complicated family and social relationships

    Nail-biting is associated with anxiety and tends to begin in early childhood and adolescence. I believe that my issue began shortly after a childhood trauma and has been a way of comfort for me for many years.

    My Tips To Stop Nail Biting

    As a lifelong nail biter, I feel that Im the perfect candidate to help those like us with tips on what works. So, heres what has worked for me during my times of plenty and now.

    • Deal with your traumas and issues that perpetuate nail biting
    • Dedicate to giving yourself consistent weekly or bi-weekly manicures. Even if you just have nubs to begin with lol.
    • Keep your hands away from your mouth at all costs
    • Congratulate yourself for every bit of nail growth no matter how small
    • A clear base coat is your friend
    • Massage your nail beds and cuticles with nail serum or cuticle oil as often as you can
    • Regularly massage your hands and nails with hand lotion throughout the day. Youd be surprised at what a good hand lotion can do to help heal the entire nail area.
    • Take daily vitamins and rotate between a good womens daily and a Calcium supplement .
    • Keep a top coat on the surface AND on the underside of your nails at all times
    • Find things to stimulate your hands and distract you during idle times
    • Always use non-acetone polish remover, unless youre removing gels/acrylics.
    • Continue to play with nail polishes and nail art, even if you backslide.
    • Keep yourself busy with hobbies or even small projects around the home to help to settle your mind

    Are you a nail biter or have you overcome nail-biting?

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    Use Nail Hardeners Sparingly

    “The take-home message here is that a lot of them do more damage than good,” says Stern. She reminds us that these products are not studied clinically, so most claims are not backed up by science. Unless nails are exceptionally weak and fragile, she says, most people don’t benefit from a nail hardener.

    Healthy nails are flexible nails, she says, so to keep yours from breaking, avoid anything that makes them more brittle.

    Choose Nail Tips Over Full Extensions

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    All our experts told WebMD that, in general, nail extensions are bad news for nails, frequently leading to fungal or even bacterial infections — and, says Stern, sometimes to permanent damage. If you must wear nail extensions, she says, opt for just tips. While they can still cause problems, the potential for damage is less since the surface area covered is smaller.

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    Give Your Nails A Break From Polish From Time To Time

    While having freshly painted nails looks great, its important to occasionally go polish free to give your nails a chance to breathe. Constant use of polish can cause your nails to become fragile, so theres no shame in ditching the polish from time to time.

    If youre a manicure fiend and the thought of going polish free sends a shiver up your spine, treat yourself to an Urban polish-free manicure and pedicure. You get all the benefits of a usual mani pedi , just minus the polish. This will help to boost the health of your nails and provide you with some well earned self care time too!

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