How To Make Your Nails Grow Longer And Stronger
Buh-bye, brittle nails.
Maybe its been the lockdown boredom , but it seems so many of us are attempting to grow our nails longer and stronger right now.
If youve ditched the acrylics and taken a much-needed break from the gels, yet your nails are still brittle and flaky, we feel your pain.
On a mission to achieve the long, resilient talons of our dreams, weve tried out all the hacks and enlisted some of the best experts to reveal exactly how to make our nails grow longer, stronger and healthier for good. Stay with us for everything you need to know..
How To Grow Longer And Stronger Nails
Natural Ways To Strengthen Your Nails
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Ever wonder why you bother putting on polish since your nails will break or peel within a day anyway? Yep, me too. There are lots of treatments and tonics you can use to deal withdamaged nails, but here are 14 natural ways to make your nails stronger and less prone to annoying splitting, breaking, and peeling:
Choose A Healthier Nail Polish
Yep, they exist! Swapping out your normal polish for less toxic or more nutrient-embellished versions will do your nail game good in the long run.
“For nail polish, Iâm obsessed with Orly’s Breathable Treatment + Color Collection,” Hanna shares. “Itâs infused with argan oil, B5, and vitamin C. It has a base and topcoat built in, so in just two coats, you have the perfect long-lasting at-home mani that will nurse your nails back to health. My favorite color for growing out damaged nails is Sheer Luck.”
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Push Your Cuticles Back
As mentioned, cuticle care is crucial. But beyond oil, Lim mentions regularly pushing your cuticles back can keep them from overgrowing. “When becomes thick and overgrows onto the nail, it’s tough to push back. You don’t want to ever get to that point,” she says. “When that happens, your cuticles are prone to cracking and infection.” Ouch.
You don’t have to get too meticulous about it a great tip is to gently push them back every couple of days after stepping out of the shower, as the nails will be softened from the spray. Not to mention, pushing your cuticles back helps your polish last longerjust in case you’ve decided to go for an at-home mani.
Cut Back On Gel And Acrylic Manicures
They may be touted as an easy alternative for people who have trouble growing their nails, but frequent gel or acrylic manicures can cause your nails to peel, weakening them in the process. These manicures also expose your digits to excessive amounts of acetone in the soak required to remove them, which is very drying to the nail, says Dr. Klein. If you prefer to keep these types of manicures on rotation, make sure to either give your nails time to breathe between applications or save them for special occasions.
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So What Vitamin Are You Lacking When Your Nails Split
Nothing is more cringe than a torn or split nail, but thankfully, with the right foods, you can often prevent it from happening. A diet low in nutrients can contribute to short, dehydrated, broken nails, since theyre all essential for proper nail growth. Iron deficiencies are definitely a common cause of brittle nails, explains Dr. Schlessinger.
Luckily, iron supplements can improve your nail strength, preventing breakage and splitting, he says, so if you suspect your levels might be off, make an appointment with your doc or derm for a little blood test. Its fast and easy, and itll give you a proper read on your vitamin levels .
Iron Deficiency Affects Nail Growth
You need iron to manufacture hemoglobin and myoglobin, the proteins responsible for transporting oxygen to your tissues and muscles, as well as for proper growth and development and functioning of your immune system. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide and is caused by an inadequate amount of iron in your diet, poor iron absorption from your digestive tract or excessive bleeding, including heavy menstrual periods 35.
Along with fatigue, decreased body temperature and an inflamed tongue, an iron deficiency also causes brittle, splitting nails1. Iron-containing foods include chicken liver, red meat, dark turkey meat, soybeans and fortified cereals.
- You need iron to manufacture hemoglobin and myoglobin, the proteins responsible for transporting oxygen to your tissues and muscles, as well as for proper growth and development and functioning of your immune system.
- Along with fatigue, decreased body temperature and an inflamed tongue, an iron deficiency also causes brittle, splitting nails.
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How Do Essential Oils Strengthen Your Nails
Nails are prone to daily abuse which results in a weak nail structure. If you have brittle nails that are not vibrant, you can benefit from essential oil application. Keep in mind that frequent nail treatments, poor care practices and weather conditions can all cause weak nails. So, how do essential oils work to strengthen your nails? The following insight sheds more light.
Will Gel Nails Ruin My Nails
Gel manicures can cause nail brittleness, peeling and cracking, and repeated use can increase the risk for skin cancer and premature skin aging on the hands. To keep your nails healthy before, during and after gel manicures, dermatologists recommend the following tips: Be proactive with your manicurist.
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There are plenty of skincare devices and tools and at-home gadgets on the market, but this is the first weve seen for your nails. Heat, red light therapy, and gentle vibrations work together to strengthen your tips and help promote growth. The LED light therapy technology is clinically-proven to energize cells below the skin surface, and you only need to use this for three minutes a day to help make nails healthywhich in turn leads to growth, explains Elle, who is a fan.
Best Selling Nail Supplements
But wait! Dr. Hawthornes advice before reaching for a supplement: Focus on improving your diet first. When we get our vitamins from whole foods rather than supplements, we reduce the risk of ingesting toxic doses of vitamins, she says, and instead get the benefit of other naturally occurring ingredients in food, like phytochemicals, antioxidants, and fiberall of which promote optimal nail health.
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What Vitamins Help Nails And Hair
Everyone yearns for healthy nails and vibrant hair. When we experience frizzy, lackluster locks, and dry, brittle nails no matter what we try, it can be disheartening.
Most people identify Teflon nails and silky hair as a signal of health. Remaining active and eating a balanced diet are essential however, sometimes, your nails and hair may need a boost. Taking nutritional supplements can invigorate scalp function, helping your hair grow faster and thicker while also improving your nails.
There can be many factors that cause your volumeless hair or shineless nails. Thankfully, you can solve most of those issues by consuming the proper nutrients. Consuming a healthy diet and knowing what vitamins help nails and hair can give you the manicured hands and bouncy locks of your dreams.
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Drink Plenty Of Water
Being hydrated has a direct effect on the health of a persons nails.
When a person is not getting enough fluid, their nails can become brittle. When a persons nails are fragile, they break or peel more easily.
The state that most people can get enough fluids to remain hydrated by drinking water when thirsty and when eating a meal. However, if a person feels they are not getting enough fluid, they can increase their daily intake by:
- carrying a reusable water bottle
- choosing water over sugary drinks
- drinking water at meals instead of other beverages
Constantly using gels or acrylic nail polish can damage a persons nails, causing them to peel.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation , the UV light that people use to dry the polish also carries a potential risk. This is because UV light has links to both skin cancer and premature aging. The Foundation recommend applying sunscreen to the hands 20 minutes before a nail salon appointment as a preventive measure.
To help keep the nails strong and healthy, a person should take a break from gels and acrylic polishes or avoid using them altogether.
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Err On The Shorter Side
This might be common sense, but wearing your nails shorter equates to less opportunity for breakage. Shorter nails are less likely to catch on things and are then far less likely to tear, split, or crackâall unwanted side effects that don’t make good for our dreams of bend- and breakage-free tips.
“If you have damaged nails and are looking for a fresh start, your best bet is to cut them down and keep them short for a couple of months,” adds Hanna. “Short nails are super chic, and if you have an event that you want long nails for, press-ons have come a long way and are the best-kept secret in the celebrity manicure world. One of my favorite brands for natural-looking press-ons is Kissâjust make sure when you apply them that you use the glue tabs and not nail glue. And of course, donât rip them off!”
Best Nail Strengtheners To Treat Brittle Nails
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Having your nails look and feel good isn’t just important for aesthetic reasons. Their condition could also be tell-tale signs that something is amiss with your overall health. If youre suffering from thin, breaking or brittle nails, there are simple steps you can take to understand and gain control over them.
To find out why your nails weaken and how to strengthen them, Shop TODAY called in Dr. Angela Lamb, a certified dermatologist and associate professor and director of Westside Mount Sinai Dermatology, to explain more.
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Apply Cuticle Oil Daily
Cuticle care is always a good idea, problem nails or not. That’s because dehydrated, frayed cuticles can lead to damaged nailbeds and infection if they’re left untreated rehydrating and moisturizing that surrounding skin is key for top-notch nail care. Add a cuticle oil to your daily routine: Many options include fatty acids and vitamins that nourish the nails and fill in any micro-cracks in the skin.
While using the dropper daily is enough to keep nails healthy, chief educator of Paintbox Evelyn Lim says you can use a cuticle oil up to three times a day if your tips are feeling especially dehydrated . “Apply cuticle oil at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Why not?”
Use Cuticle Serums For Moisturization
Healthy cuticles are the key to healthy, strong nails. However, it is quite common to damage your cuticles or push them too far, often increasing the risk of infection in the nail bed. Your cuticles may also get damaged due to medical conditions that lower blood circulation to the extremities, such as diabetes.
To help strengthen your nail cuticles and boost blood flow to them, it is suggested to perform a quick massage. You can use coconut oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil, almond oil, double-duty ointments, hand creams, and skin protectants to massage your cuticles.
Invest in a cuticle oil that not only moisturizes the cuticles but also nourishes and repairs them, all of which contribute to improved cuticle health. You can purchase cuticle oils with a high content of shea oil.
Simply gently massage your nails with the product for 510 minutes. Wear cotton gloves once the product is absorbed and leave it on overnight. Wash your nails in the morning using warm water. Eczema-friendly creams are also available for people with eczema.
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What Do Nail Strengtheners Do
Most strengthening treatments include proteins and nourishing oils to help relieve any brittleness and peeling, leaving nails looking and feeling stronger.
Weve also noted whether the below products contain formaldehyde, phthalates and toluene. Theyre most commonly found in industrial cleaning products, so its understandable to be weary of applying them to your skin, but in beauty products theyre used to prolong shelf life. While they do have a bit of a bad reputation, they dont cause any damage at this low potency or in this format.
Consider Popping Biotin Supplements
Its yet to be proven without a doubt, but biotin may help to strengthen hair and nails. Because its water-soluble, it isnt stored by the body, so you have to ensure that you consume it daily, says Dr. Solomon.
Generally, most adults should be getting 30 micrograms of biotin daily, according to the National Institutes of Health. The typical recommended supplemental dose is roughly up to 3,000 mcg daily for six months, according to the Cleveland Clinic, but your doctor may recommend less or more, depending on your personal health.
If theres no improvement in nail strength by that time, odds are biotin is unlikely to be helpful. But if your nails do become stronger and you decide to make biotin supplementation a regular thing, make sure you stop taking them a few days before getting any lab tests done, as large amounts of biotin in your system can skew test results.
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Moisturize Your Hands And Nails Regularly
Frequently moisturizing your nails and the surrounding skin with a hand cream can prevent further impairment of the integrity of the nails, says Philadelphia-based dermatologist Rina Allawh, MD. Ointments, such as Aquaphor Healing Ointment and Vaniply Skin Protectant, pull a double-duty by nourishing your nails and protecting them from future damage by locking in moisture.
Cuticle oil helps to repair, nourish, and moisturize weak nails as well, says North Carolina-based board-certified dermatologist Sheel Desai Solomon, MD. I recommend LOccitane Shea Nourishing Nail & Cuticle Oil, she says. Its formulated with a high concentration of shea oil to help soften cuticles and nourish nails.
Rethink How Often You Use Polish
Beyond altering the look of your nail, nail polish can help serve as a protective layer. “You want to have a coat on the nails a color, clear polish, or some sort of strengthener so that your nails can be protected by a barrier,” says Yankee. “Water can penetrate your nail plate because it’s porous, and this can make the nail softer and weaker. You want to add almost like armor or shield on top of it with polish.” For this reason, she recommends having a coat on at all times, except for when you’re doing the above overnight soak on your natural nails. Not a fan of color? No problem a clear strengthener such as OPI Nail Envy will do the trick. And one more tip: Make at least a week off every month from heavier enhancements like gel polish and acrylics, she advises.
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Dermatologists 3 Simple Tricks To Treat Cracked And Splitting Fingernails
#1. Hydrate your nails and add oils.
Do this by using creams, oils and ointments on your nails every day after theyve been wet. My favorite remedy is good old fashioned Bag Balm which is made with wool alcohol . Know that the thicker the cream, the better. Oil-rich products or ointments are best. The trick is to use something that stays put for a while and does not rub off right away.
One of my other favorite hydrating ingredients for nails is glycerin. It is in my Dry Skin Hand Cream. This is a great product to apply to your hand and nails numerous times a day after washing. It is non-greasy and convenient making it easy to use. Its important to moisturize skin and nails immediately after water exposure: applying moisturizers to dry nails is not nearly as effective.
Always apply moisturizer within minutes after your bath or shower, or after washing your hands. Do it as often as possible.
I love this hand cream I wash my hands so many times during my work day that they would be chapped and cracked if it werent for my Dry Skin Hand Cream. I keep it in my lab coat pocket! Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey
Use the Hand Cream many times during the day and the Bag Balm at bedtime to create an intensive healing treatment to help keep your nails from splitting. If your nails are really bad, you may want to even apply Bag Balm to them numerous times a day after washing your hands.
#2. Clip and file your nails when theyre wet.
How Long It Takes To Strengthen Your Nails
No matter what intervention you end up taking, don’t expect to see any differences overnight. “Changes can take many months longer for toenails than fingernails because they take longer to grow to become noticeable,” says Dr. Kim. “People tend to give up too quickly. Unfortunately, there are no super-quick solutions if the end goal is to have truly healthier nails.” Again, it could take up to several months depending on your personal growth rate, so stick it out.
Part of it comes down to your genetics. Your genetic makeup and the presence of conditions such as psoriasis or thyroid issues can affect nail growth.”Because some people will genetically be more prone to weaker nails, any intervention may take even longer to reap visible results and the degree of improvement may be somewhat diminished, unfortunately,” says Dr. Kim. “But with patience and perseverance, it is still possible.”
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