How to Grow Stronger, Healthier Nails, According to Dermatologists
From manicure tips to diet tweaks, these expert-approved remedies will strengthen weak, brittle nails fast.
Weak nails are a total buzzkill. But as tempting as it is to hide your thin and peeling nails under a permanent gel manicure, there are plenty of lifestyle tweaks that, collectively, can bring your nails back to their former glory.
So, what causes our nails to weaken in the first place? “Our nails are made up of layers of keratin, a protein that’s also found in our hair and skin,” says Rhonda Klein, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Westport, Connecticut. “As we age, the cells in our bodies produce keratin at a slower rate, which can cause the nails to weaken and appear dry and dull.”
1. Moisturize your hands and nails regularly.
2. Keep them on the shorter side.
“If you’re having trouble with weak nails, consider cutting down the length while you build up their strength,” suggests Dr. Solomon. “Shorter nails are less prone to breaking because there are fewer exposed edges to tear, and less surface area where water and chemicals can be absorbed.” Once trimmed, prevent snags by gently rounding the edges with a nail file.
3. Become a nail filing master.
Go with a soft nail file to keep the edges of your nails smooth, says Dr. Klein. With rougher grains, you run the risk of making tears in the nail, which can lead to peeling and hangnails.
File your nails in one direction, using long and swift (but gentle) strokes. “Back and forth see-saw motions will cause the nail to splinter,” says Dr. Solomon
4. Ditch nail polish removers that contain acetone.
A nail polish remover loaded with acetone (the solvent responsible for dissolving nail polish lightning-fast) is harsh on weak nails and can dry them out something fierce. “This can cause peeling, splitting, and those unsightly white, mottled marks,” says Dr. Solomon.
5. Don’t overdo the hand sanitizer.
Because hand sanitizers are typically alcohol-based, constantly applying the stuff can dry out your nails and leave them super brittle. “If you have to use hand sanitizer, try not to get it on your nails, and don’t overdo it,” says Dr. Solomon. Using hand sanitizer wipes can make it easier to avoid the nail area during application—or if you prefer the liquid variety, make sure to slather on moisturizer afterward to balance the scales.
6. Eat more foods that promote strong nails.
Avoid yo-yo dieting, which can lead to vitamin deficiencies that may put the strength of your nails in jeopardy. Make sure you eat enough protein and calcium too, which are thought to promote nail health, says Robin Evans, MD, Connecticut-based board-certified dermatologist and clinical instructor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Loading up on biotin-rich foods, such as veggies, eggs, and nuts, may also help.
7. Stay hydrated.
“Drinking enough water is essential for health, and nail health is no exception,” says Dr. Solomon. “Without adequate moisture, nails can become brittle and break or peel easily.” Staying hydrated will help your nails retain moisture and stay strong.
8. 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.
9. Choose non-toxic nail polishes.
“I recommend avoiding polishes that contain formaldehyde, DBP, and toluene, which are harsher chemicals to already weak nails,” says Dr. Evans. Look for polishes that say “3-free” on the bottle, which means they don’t contain these iffy chemicals. (There are also brands that call themselves “5-free” and “7-free,” where in addition to the big three, their polishes don’t contain formaldehyde resin, camphor, TPHP, and xylene.)
DEMIblue is 21-free!!!
10. Always apply base and top coats.
Base and top coats are especially helpful when your nails are on the weaker side because they provide your nails with an additional protective barrier from things like dehydration and breakage, says Dr. Evans.
By: Krissy Brady | Sep 23, 2019
Visit this blog to learn more about nail care routine: