12 do’s and don’ts to keep your nails strong and healthy
Show me your nails and I’ll tell you who you are. Okay, I made that one up. While nails aren’t the determining thing about your person, it’d still be great to have healthy nails that make you feel good about yourself, wouldn’t you agree?
Do: Drink enough water
If your nails are looking a bit brittle, you need some H2O. Without enough moisture, your nails can break and peel easily, so make sure you’re drinking enough water each day.
Do: Take a biotin supplement
Also known as vitamin B7, biotin can reinforce your nails and also helps your nervous system work the way it should. You can cheat by taking supplements, but if you want to go natural, stock up on sardines, legumes and eat your eggs cooked.
Don’t: Grow your nails too long
It’s not a competition. And even if long nails may be your thing, you don’t want them too long, because they can be caught in things and therefore chip, crack or break. Shorter nails are far less likely to be damaged. Also, gel manicures require UV light to set, which can accelerate pre-mature aging of the skin on your hand.
Don’t: Use too much gel or acrylic nails
You don’t have to complete avoid them. But just be mindful that repeated, continuous use can cause your nailbed to thin, because each time you remove them, a bit of your nail peels off.
Do: Take a break from nail polish
Do your nails a favour and let them breathe a bit. Next time after you’ve removed your nail polish with an acetone-free polish remover, leave your nails the way they are for at least a week before applying polish again.
Do: File your nails in a single direction
Instead of sawing your nails back and forth, try filing your nails in one single direction repeatedly. And don’t go too hard – especially at the sides where your nails are weaker.
Do: Put lotion on your nails
People often forget that nails are also a part of your hand. So when you put on hand cream, make sure you also moisturize your nails. It’s best to do this each time after washing your hands.
Don’t: expose your nails to water for an extended period of time
Don’t unnecessarily soak your nails when you didn’t have to, as this can cause your nails to become weak and brittle. When doing the dishes, put on a pair of gloves, and when you take a bath, you can leave your hands out of the water.
Don’t: use drying products excessively on your nails
Drying products, like hand sanitizer, shouldn’t be over-used on your nails. Drying out your nails and hands can lead to your nails becoming more brittle.
Do: Choose a shampoo that doesn’t strip oils
If you’ve got oily hair, then pay extra attention to the shampoo you chose. If the shampoo’s designed to strip oils, you may be accidentally stripping your nails of the oils it needs, too. It’s a bit of a dilemma, having to choose between your hair and your nails, but you might want to alternate, at least for a while, so that your nails are not constantly stripped of the oils they need.
Don’t: Tap nail on your phone
In fact, just don’t tap your nail on anything or use it to pop coke cans, in general. Doing so could chip and break your nail, again weakening it.
Do: Wear rubber gloves when using cleaning products
You probably didn’t think that liquid detergent had anything to do with your nails, but it does. In fact, any household cleaning products could contain chemicals that can weaken your nails. So to avoid direct contact, it’s best to put on a sturdy pair of rubber gloves next time before doing household chores.
While you can’t tell a person from their nails, unhealthy nails, such as vertical ridges running from the edge or your nail to the cuticle, could indicate an underlying health condition. Sometimes, these are just dietary deficiencies, and sometimes they could be something a bit more sinister. Whatever may be the case, if you’re regularly following the tips above and are still noticing something odd with your nails, you may want give your dermatologist a visit to find out more.
Got a top tip that I missed out and you want to mention? Share it in the comments below!
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