At one time or another, most of us have experienced the unique embarrassment of having bad nails. Whether your nails are prone to chipping, you never could break the habit of biting them, or they don’t look as healthy as they could, it can sap your confidence every time you notice your own hands.
Conversely, having beautiful, healthy nails can be a huge confidence booster. Even if they’re not as noticeable to those around you, you’ll be feeling generally better put together all on your own.
And the first step to getting healthy natural nails is to take care of them. Here are some healthy nail tips to give your nails the clean, radiant look you’ve always wanted.
Minimize Your Nails’ Exposure to Water
It’s impossible to avoid getting your nails wet from time to time. After all, everyone should especially be washing their hands frequently right now. But you want to spend the least amount of time immersing your nails as you can get away with.
Overexposure to water can make your nails brittle and prone to cracking. To prevent this, wear gloves when you do the dishes and avoid submerging them in the bath.
Drink Enough Water
While you want to avoid getting excess water on your nails, at the same time you want to ensure that you’re taking enough water to keep them healthy.
Proper hydration, or the lack of it, affects every aspect of our body, from our skin health to our energy levels, to our brain function. And nails are no exception. Without enough moisture in the body, the nails once again risk becoming brittle or peeling.
Give Your Nails a Break From Harsh Products
Whether it’s a daily habit or an occasional indulgence, most of us treat and polish our nails now and again. But those treatments could be making our nails weaker.
Many polishes contain harsh chemical ingredients that weaken nails with frequent use. Polish removers in particular are guilty of this since many of them contain the harsh solvent acetone.
Looking for polishes, soaks, and removers that only contain non-toxic ingredients can help prevent this. But be aware that even non-toxic polish will weaken nails over time, they’ll just do it slower.
For maximum benefits, it’s best to just give your nails a break from the treatments every now and again.
Avoid False Nails Whenever Possible
Gel and acrylic nails are often used as a quick solution for those of us who have trouble growing our nails. However, overuse of them can actually make the problem worse, creating a feedback loop where you keep relying on them because they’re preventing natural nail growth.
Further, the Ultraviolet light (UV) needed for gel treatments which recognized as a risk factor for cancer, albeit much less so than the UV light used in tanning beds. What it will do, though, is age and weaken the skin that supports the nail, which will again make natural nail growth more difficult.
Feed Your Nails With the Right Vitamins
Your nails are a part of your body like any other. So just like your skin or your hair, in order for them to look their best, they need proper nutrition.
Specifically, they need to get all of their essential vitamins.
But it can be difficult enough for us to get the right nutrition for our vital systems, never mind our nails. By some estimates, as many as 92% of Americans are deficient in at least one important vitamin or mineral.
So for most of us, this means turning to supplements to meet our needs. And nails are no exception.
Fortunately, there are purpose-made supplements containing all over the best vitamins for nails to maintain healthy growth. Specifically, they’re full of biotin, folic acid, and Vitamin D, three essential nutrients that many of us lack and which are essential to keeping your nails healthy.
Moisturize Your Nails
It’s not just what’s on the inside that counts. Besides making sure your nails are being fed from within, you want to make sure that they’re being moisturized at the surface level as well.
Basic hand cream will do the trick, so if you moisturize after washing your hands just be sure to cover the nails as well. And especially do this after removing nail polish.
Avoid Breaking Nails
This seems like a no-brainer, but honestly, there are a few simple prevention tactics that we could all be better about doing.
For one, try keeping your nails on the short side. We know how beautiful long nails can be. But the longer they get the further removed they are from the support of the finger, and the easier it is to break them.
For another, avoid using your nails to do things. For instance, always use the pads of your fingers and not the nails to open a soda can. Small habit changes like that can prevent damaging chips and breaks.
Avoid Drying Products
This can be difficult since lately, we’ve all been using hand sanitizer a lot more than we normally would. However, most sanitizer uses either alcohol or another harsh chemical as its active ingredient. And just with acetone, these chemicals will weaken your nails through repeat exposure.
While we need to remain sanitary, it’s usually better to wash your hands in soap and water whenever possible. Alternatively, carrying a small tube of lotion along with your sanitizer to moisturize your nails each time can help mitigate damage.
Re-Think How You File Your Nails
The usual technique for filing nails has you taking the file back and forth across the nail like a saw. But this way of doing it can weaken your nails.
Instead, try to file your nails only in one direction. And go easy on the sides of the nails, since these areas are vulnerable to damage from too much filing.
Health Nails Are Essential to Bring a Look Together
While nails aren’t as noticeable as say, healthy skin or well put together hair, they are still a noticeable part of our appearance. And growing healthy nails on your own will help save you trips to the salon to have them touched up.
And besides, you would want every part of your body to be healthy regardless. So to help keep you feeling and looking your best, be sure to keep up with all the latest from Beyond The Magazine.