Do you love having long natural nails but fail to achieve them, as they break easily? This is because you might have weak nails. When your nails are strong enough, achieving and maintaining long nails becomes easy. Continue reading this article to learn how to strengthen nails.
Strong, clean, and healthy natural nails are less likely to break or split, reducing the risk of painful nail injuries and boosting your self-confidence to make a positive first impression. Also, they indicate good overall health and hygiene. There are fewer chances of risks for fungal and bacterial infections.
Not only do you require strong and healthy nails to grow them long, but also to avoid various disorders. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, around 99% of people will experience nail disorders once in a lifetime. The major cause of nail disorders is a fungal infection.
A few changes to lifestyle habits and a well-balanced nutrition intake will help you keep your nails strong and healthy and grow them long naturally.
If you are experiencing fragile, uneven, cracked, and brittle nails, here are some ways to fix these problems and maintain your nails healthy, shiny, and strong. But before that, let us understand a few significant signs of healthy and unhealthy nails.
Signs of Unhealthy Nails
The common signs of unhealthy nails are as follows:
- Brittle, dry, or thin nails that break easily or peel.
- Discoloration, such as yellowing or darkening of the nails.
- Spotting or streaking in the nails.
- Red and swollen skin around nails.
- Peeling or splitting nails are symptoms of vitamin deficiency.
- Changes in the shape of the nails, such as curling or abnormal contours.
- White, cloudy, or yellowish patches or lines on the nails.
- Lifting of the nail from the nail bed.
- Spoon-shaped nails may indicate anemia or iron deficiency.
- Increased thickness or texture changes in the nails.
- A foul odor or discharge from under the nails.
Some of these symptoms can be indicative of various problems and conditions, such as fungal infections, vitamin deficiencies, and autoimmune diseases. Therefore, we recommend you consult your doctor to know the exact cause and get proper treatment if you experience any of these symptoms.
Signs of Healthy Nails
What do healthy nails look like? Well, here are some signs you must know:
- Smooth, even texture.
- A slight pink or flesh-colored hue.
- A semi-glossy or matte finish.
- Have healthy cuticles.
- Strong and resilient, with minimal breakage.
- Straight, with a consistent shape and size.
- A well-defined lunula (the half-moon shape at the base of the nail).
- No visible horizontal ridges, spots, or discoloration.
- No separation from the nail bed.
- No unusual bumps, dents, or curves.
A slight variation in the appearance of your nails can occur due to genetics, age, and other factors. However, if any visible change in the appearance of your nails stays for long, you need to consult a dermatologist to rule out any underlying health issues.
How to Strengthen Nails? 15 Tips to Avoid Fragile Nails
The following are some effective nail care tips that help ensure your nails’ health and prevent frequent breakage:
1. Keep Your Nails Dry and Clean
Clean your nails regularly to make them dry and stop germs and bacteria from breeding. It will also prevent the accumulation of dirt under the nails. You can use an acetone-free remover to clean nails and avoid dryness in them. Also, you can try gently scrubbing your nails with soap and a clean toothbrush to remove desk skin and debris. Ensure avoiding the use of harsh chemicals.
Additionally, you should avoid submerging your hands in water for a long time as it can make your nails weak and brittle. If it’s necessary, you can wear gloves to minimize exposure.
2. Don’t Bite Your Nails
Some people have the terrible habit of biting their nails every day. This habit can damage nails in various ways, putting a lot of pressure and force on them. This can cause the nails to split, crack, or even break.
Nail biting can also cause the nails to become misshapen (unnatural or wired shape), which can be unsightly and difficult to correct. It can also introduce bacteria and germs into the mouth, leading to infections.
Additionally, continuous nail biting can damage the nail matrix, which is part of the nail that produces new nail cells. Over time, this can result in thin, brittle nails prone to breaking and splitting.
3. Moisturize Them Regularly
It is best to moisturize your nails every day without fail. Also, use a gentle moisturizer without too many harmful chemicals, as they may cause an allergic reaction. It keeps them hydrated, prevents brittleness, reduces the risk of cracking, improves flexibility, and promotes a healthy, shiny appearance. Regular moisturizing also helps prevent fungal infections, promotes stronger nails, and helps the nail polish last longer.
4. Give Your Nails Some Rest
An occasional rest from nail polish will allow your nails to breathe. Too much of its use can lead to discoloration. Also, using a nail polish remover regularly can make your nails brittle. It would be best not to use nail polish remover more than twice a month. Once you remove the nail polish, remember to moisturize it with a gentle cream.
5. Trim Your Nails Regularly
Just like your hair, you need to trim your nails regularly in a straight line now and then to keep them healthy. Also, keep your nails shorter, as long nails are more likely to be chipped or cracked. Long nails can also harbor dirt, bacteria, and other harmful substances, leading to infections. (This is for people who want healthy nails and do not grow them longer). Once you cut your nails, ensure to round the edges with a nail file.
6. Leave Cuticles Alone
The cuticle is an area at the bottom of a nail that seals it and protects it from bacteria. Avoid breaking or cutting your cuticles, as they keep your nails protected. If you do so, you will be vulnerable to bacterial and fungal infections.
7. Take a supplement
Some studies suggest that biotin helps improve brittle nails. It is also called vitamin H and vitamin B7. It is water-soluble, and the body does not store it. Hence, it is necessary to consume Biotin every day. Foods like legumes, cooked eggs, and sardines contain biotin. Else, you can opt for biotin supplements.
Consult a doctor to know which supplements you can include in your diet.
8. Take Care of the Base and Top Coats
From giving texture to your nails to preventing the polish from staining them, the base coat should always be noticed. It is equally as important to seal the deal with a top coat. It acts like a barrier that protects your nail paint from peeling and chipping.
9. Don’t Scrape off Your Nail Polish
Never scrape off your nail polish if you are running late or can’t find a nail paint remover. It makes the surface of the nail rough and prone to chipping. Keep some nail paint remover tissues to avoid the chipped nail polish look.
10. Include Garlic in Your Diet
Garlic has amazing properties to improve the blood flow to the nail bed. Thus, it will enhance the growth of nails. Adding garlic to your diet will also help cure fungal infections on nails.
11. Wear Gloves
While doing the household chores like washing and cleaning, always wear gloves. Detergents can be harsh on your hands and nails, so wearing gloves will protect your nails from getting weak and breaking.
12. File Your Nails
Filing your nails every time you cut them is essential. If you leave the edges as it is, there is a risk of getting tears in the nails, leading to peeling and hangnails. While doing so, ensure to file in one direction with gentle, long strokes.
13. Stay Hydrated
Doctors generally recommend everyone drink water every now and then to stay healthy. This even helps you keep your nails healthy. If there is not enough moisture, nails become brittle, leading to unexpected breakage. So, staying hydrated is one of the most underrated ways to strengthen your nails.
14. Eliminate the Use of Gel and Acrylic Manicures
Avoiding gel and acrylic manicures is among the best ways to keep your nails and cuticles strong and healthy. Gel manicures mean applying a gel-based polish to nails and hardening it under UV or LED light. On the other side, acrylic manicure is applying a mixture of liquid monomer and a powder polymer to create a long-lasting nail manicure.
These manicures peel off and weaken your nails. Even if you opt for them, ensure to take long breaks between consequent manicures, allowing nails to breathe.
15. Opt for Non-Toxic and Harmless Nail Polishes
Many nail polishes contain harmful chemicals, such as formaldehyde, DBP, and toluene, that weaken your nails. Choose a nail polish that is free from these 3 harmful chemicals. Nail polish bottles come with ‘3-free’ written on them.
Weak and brittle nails may often take down your confidence. Fortunately, there are a few effective ways you can make your nails healthy and strong. Maintaining healthy nails involves proper nail care and a balanced diet with essential nutrients such as biotin and vitamin E. Follow the above-discussed tips to keep your nails strong and healthy.
If the above tips for nails do not work, we strongly recommend you see a doctor, as there may be a possibility of an underlying situation that needs proper treatment and care.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the home remedy for making nails stronger?
Soak them in apple cider vinegar, a sea salt mixture, and olive oil to get rid of brittle nails. This will also push back your nail cuticles and strengthen the skin around your fingernails. If you have healthy cuticles, your nails and skin will be protected from infection.
2. What should I eat to strengthen my nails?
To strengthen your nails, keep yourself adequately hydrated, diet properly, and use biotin supplements. Natural biotin supplements include eggs, fish, meat, seeds, nuts, mushrooms, and certain vegetables such as cauliflower, and fruits like avocados, bananas, and raspberries.
3. How can I make my nails stronger and thicker?
To make your nails stronger and thicker, include dark, leafy greens such as spinach, broccoli, kale, and collard greens in your diet, as they are rich in calcium, iron, and antioxidants to boost nail health.
4. How can I stop fragile nails?
Avoid prolonged exposure to detergent, cleaning fluids, nail treatments, and nail polish remover to prevent your nails from becoming fragile. Also, include food rich in Vitamin B, Calcium, Iron, or Fatty Acids.
5. Why is the skin around my fingernails cracking?
The main reason behind the cracking of the skin around nails is dryness. Cracked skin around fingernails is quite common during winters. If it is not treated, it can lead to eczema, which is a dry skin condition. Therefore, keep your hands hydrated and moisturized to combat and control the dryness of your hands.
6. How can I make my nails stronger naturally?
You need a few changes to your lifestyle and proper nutrition intake to make your nails stronger naturally. Keep your nails clean, don’t bite them, moisturize them frequently, trim them regularly, don’t cut cuticles, take biotin supplements, apply base and top coat, include garlic in your diet, file your nails when you trim them, stay hydrated, and avoid toxic nail polishes and gel and acrylic manicures.
7. Which vitamin is best for nails?
Biotin, or B-complex vitamin, is also called vitamin B7, coenzyme R, and vitamin H, the best nail vitamins. It strengthens your brittle fingernails.
8. Does low iron cause weak fingernails?
Yes, iron deficiency, usually called anemia, causes weak fingernails.
9. Which are the signs of biotin deficiency?
Brittle nails, skin rashes, and hair loss are the signs of biotin deficiency.