Everyday activities can cause chipping and breaking when your nails are weak. And dry, brittle nails don’t look or stay polished, ruining an otherwise polished look.
It’s pretty clear – if you want to look your best, you want to pay attention to the details and make sure your nails appear strong and well cared for.
Give your nails a helping hand with these tips to help them look healthy.
Care for Your Cuticles
According to dermatologists, cutting your cuticles is a major no-no.
That extra little bit of skin acts as a protective barrier for the nail’s growth matrix, so cutting it makes it susceptible to irritation or infection.
If you want nails to look longer, instead of cutting your cuticles, keep them well moisturized and gently push them back with a wooden orange stick.
Dry nails are prone to chipping, cracking, peeling, and even breaking, but moisturizing the nail bed and the cuticle with a thick, rich cream will help improve the way they look.
An added benefit is that well-hydrated hands and cuticles will also help to prevent unsightly and painful hangnails.
If your job requires you to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer often, make sure you moisturize well afterwards to prevent drying out.
Supplement With Biotin
Veterinarians have long been supplementing horses with the B vitamin biotin to strengthen their hooves, and similar benefits can be seen in people and their nails.
Multiple studies over the years have found that taking biotin can help strengthen and improve the appearance of brittle nails, with one showing that taking 2.5 mg daily helped to increase nail thickness by 25%.
You might also consider supplementing with 10-30 mg of silicon daily since it’s also been shown to improve nail strength.
Value health over length
Long nails are beautiful, but if you’ve struggled with snags or breakage, keep your nails short at least to start out with.
A shorter style with a rounded edge tends to be easier to manage and looks neater, so you can focus on building strength without worrying about anything else.
This common ingredient in nail polish remover may do more harm than good. Because it acts as a paint stripper, it dries out the nail bed and causes it to become brittle.
And as a solvent, it can make the pigment in nail polish migrate and leach, which can in turn cause yellowing of the nails.
Instead, look for a non-acetone nail polish remover, and remember to wash up and moisturize after taking the polish off.
Take a Break
While updating your mani-pedi regularly might seem like the best way to keep your nails looking great, it turns out taking a breather might be good for nail health.
Nails can actually absorb the nail polish we apply, and by keeping polish on too long, the pigment can penetrate the top layers of our nails and dry them out. Even worse – this can lead to yeast, bacteria, mold, and mildew growth underneath.
Having bare nails for a few days at a time allows them to “breathe” and stay healthy.
Exercise Chemical Caution
Most cleaning products – soap, dishwashing liquid, detergent, and even shampoo – contain ingredients meant to strip oils, so it’s no surprise that they’ll dry out and weaken your nails. Add hot water to that equation and it’ll happen even faster.
When doing housework or laundry, wear rubber gloves to protect your hands and minimize contact with harsh chemicals.
Remember toenails count, too!
Everything that applies to your fingernails applies to your toenails, which experts say may be even more prone to problems due to careless pedicures.
“Because feet are more often inside shoes a dark, moist environment fungus can grow more easily.” If you get regular pedicures, experts say take your own instruments and never let the tech dig under the nail or around the cuticle.
Moreover cutting toenails at an angle instead of straight across increases the risk of ingrown toenails, which can be painful and sometimes develop into an infection
Nails are the most frequent place where fungi grow in human body, so make sure to protect them from such growth.
One good way to dispose of grime and fungi is to add some baking soda to your old toothbrush and scrub your nails with it.