Healthy Nails Equal Strong Nails
The appearance and strength of your fingernails are good indicators of their overall health. Healthy-looking nails are usually strong nails.
Are your nails everything you want them to be or are they brittle, do they break easily or never seem to grow? If they are not up to par, then you are not alone. Sure, there are ways to camouflage the condition of your nails with polish, gels and even acrylics. But, did you know that there are a few habits that you can develop to truly make a difference in your nails?
Here are a few simple tips to get your nails in top shape:
Eat right for strong nails.
Just like our skin and hair, nail health is also tied to diet. If your nails are brittle and weak, then you want to evaluate how much protein you are eating. Your nails are comprised of protein so, if you aren’t getting enough in your diet, it will be reflected in your nails. Protein shakes are great for adding necessary protein to your diet, as are eggs, meat, fish, beans and legumes. Be conscientious of the foods you are eating if your nails are weak and brittle. There can be other reasons, of course, why nails might not be strong. Remember to check with your doctor if you are concerned about your circulation or chronic problems with your fingers and nails.
Regular maintenance is key.
Trimming your nails on a regular basis will help to keep them strong. When you allow your nails to constantly grow without trimming, they tend to get rough and jagged in appearance. When this happens, they are more likely to get weak or break. Think of your nails in the same way you think about your hair. A regular trimming will help remove the weaker, damaged areas that develop at the tips, encouraging the rest of the nail to strengthen. They will look fresher and healthier as a result. Here are a few trimming tips:
• Be sure to you have clippers or nail scissors that are sharp and meant for fingernails. In other words, a plain old pair of scissors is not the right tool.
• Don’t trim your nails too short. When you go too short, you run the risk of developing hangnails and we all know that they are not fun. They are just too tempting to pick or bite and unfortunately, if you do this, you run the risk of infection, not to mention haggard-looking nails.
• Let the white edges of your nail be your guide and never trim past this area. You should always have visible white edges post-trimming.
There is a right way and a wrong way to file.
Yes, something so simple as filing your nails can actually weaken them when not done properly. It’s important to select an emery board for nail filing. They are available in fine or course textures, similar to sand paper. When you file your nails, you should never file back and forth, as if you’re sawing your nails. You should always file in one direction. And do this in a gentle way. Remember, your goal is to strengthen the nail by removing the ragged areas so they don’t split or fray. When you file too hard or in a back-and-forth motion, you run the risk of damaging the fibers in your nails, which only causes them to weaken more. A little regular and gentle filing will keep your nails in top shape and they will be less prone to tearing.
Moisturize and condition.
Just like your hands, your nails can become dry, too, and will benefit from a good conditioning. Hand creams and lotions are great for both your skin and your nails. Remember to apply hand cream on a regular basis, especially after washing them. Take a few extra seconds to massage your cream into your nails and surrounding cuticles. Ingredients like aloe, shea butter and olive oil are great when it comes to conditioning. Keep your favorite hand cream on your nightstand and apply before you got to sleep. You will wake up with hydrated hands and nails that will not only look good, they will feel good, too. Remember, when your nails get dry, they can become brittle and more prone to breakage.
Sure, most women love to get their nails done. But, if strong nails are your goal, then it’s good to go au naturel once in a while. Think about it, filing, buffing, base coats, color, topcoat, gels, acrylic fills and more definitely affect your nails. Give them a break. Again, similar to your hair when you take a break from your styling aids and heating devices, your hair will flourish. Same rule apply to your nails. Give them a break so they can stay strong and not break.
Protection is key.
When doing household chores, especially those that involve hot water or harsh chemicals, wear gloves. You want to keep your hands and nails protected from being exposed to damaging and drying chemicals at all costs. Wearing gloves when you are washing the dishes or cleaning your house is the best way to keep nails from becoming weak and damaged due to exposure.
Everyone wants healthy-looking nails and by following these simple steps, you too will have fabulous nails in no time. Remember that what you put in and on your body is equally important. So, take care of your nails and they will be stronger in no time.
Written by beauty expert, Jacquie Carter – Director, Worldwide Outer Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife.