6 Handy Tips To Enhance Your Nails
Do you ever find yourself a little embarrassed by your chipped fingernails? Or wish they would grow faster? It seems that it’s only the lucky people that have healthy, perfectly shaped nails. But there are simple ways to give your nails some encouragement towards healthy growth!
WHY AREN’T MY NAILS GROWING?
There is a myriad of reasons why your nails don’t grow in the best condition. There are things that are in our daily control, but here are a couple of other reasons that could have had a long-lasting effect on your nails.
Nail biting is said to be a habit that up to 30% of people in the US struggle to quit, and it damages the tissue that makes nails grow. If you used to be one of those people who chronically bit their nails, even after quitting, your nails could struggle to grow properly.
If you have suffered from an injury, even a minor one, the oxygen and nutrients that were once serving that nail well, can no longer reach it because of damage to the tiny microscopic connectors that feed the nail. When the nail suffers from this trauma, they may experience discoloration or struggle to grow. In some cases, the nail might fall off. Eek! (But, don’t worry, those ones tend to grow back with a brand-new nail).
Your nails are one of the first visible indications of your health, so it’s important to make sure you look after yourself if you want the best-looking nails around. And sometimes, you can improve them more directly. Here are some simple tips for improving your nails.
1. HEALTHY DIET
What we eat can have an effect on the appearance and health of our nails. Much like our hair and skin, your nail’s health depends on your blood flow and the oxygen that reaches them.
With the right foods, and by that we mean foods that aren’t full of sugar and fats, you can improve the quality of oxygen and blood flowing through your body. Healthy diets, ones that contain plenty of vegetables and protein are not only best for our insides but also our outsides! Without the right nutrients, our nails can’t grow long or strong.
2. UP VITAMIN B9 INTAKE
Vitamin B9, also known as folate or folic acid, is one of the main nutrients needed for healthy nails. Have you ever noticed the pigment of your nails looks a bit…off? Or they have strange ridges in them? Well, that could be down to a B9 deficiency. Folic acid is responsible for cell reparation, which is essential for nail growth.
The foods which contain folate include beans, lentils, nuts, avocado, and dark green vegetables – having a healthy diet should prevent a B9 deficiency, but if you struggle to get all these into your weekly diet, there are supplements you can take to get the vitamin.
3. BIOTIN SUPPLEMENT
Research suggests that there is a correlation between biotin deficiency and brittle nails. Increasing your intake of biotin could encourage healthy nail growth – helping to make them stronger and thicker, which will lessen the chance of nail breakages.
In fact, biotin has endless advantages! To find out more, read our blog on ‘The Surprising Health & Beauty Benefits of Biotin’.
Biotin can easily be found in supplement form, but there are foods that contain the B vitamin as well, to get your dose of it from. Some of these foods are bananas, carrots, mushrooms, legumes, salmon and egg yolks.
4. CUT DOWN ON ALCOHOL
Excessively drinking alcohol can damage the condition of your nails! You see, alcohol is a diuretic, and nails are one of the first body parts to suffer from dehydration. Why? Because nails aren’t that important, according to your body’s functioning – so with low vitamin and mineral levels, the nails are one of the last areas the body prioritizes.
In addition, hydration is key to our overall health, and you guessed it, also to our nails! With a good amount of hydration, it keeps our bodies full of moisture, which stops parts of our bodies becoming dry. So seeing as alcohol dehydrates us, its best to ensure you're drinking enough water to keep your nails strong and to prevent brittle, dry nails.
5. CUTICLE OIL
The cuticles of the nail have a purpose, and that is to seal the moisture and keep out harmful bacteria. So, if you like to cut your cuticles, stop! We need to take care of our cuticles, for health reasons.
One of the best ways to keep the cuticles intact, which will keep the whole nail in good health, is by using cuticle oil. They moisturize the nail and helps to protect your nail from infection. Dermatologists recommend that you use cuticle oil daily for best results.
6. LET NAILS BREATHE
Nail polish, although pretty, doesn’t let the nail breath and stops it from getting sunlight. Even overuse of polishes that don’t contain harmful chemicals, such as formaldehyde, could be stopping your nails from getting the oxygen and nutrients they need to grow and fight off infections. So constantly keeping them painted can dry them out and make them discolored.
Not only is the polish damaging, but nail polish remover contains a chemical called acetone, which is a perpetrator of dry nails! We know that changing up the color of your nails is appealing, but the repeated removal of polish is drying your nails out, leaving it open to breakages and chipping.
And what about acrylics? Well, there are two things to be aware of. In order to apply the gel or acrylics onto the nails, they often need to be buffered. Although this leaves a lovely, smooth finish, when done excessively, it can lead to thin nails which are more likely to break. And the removal of gels or acrylics requires you to soak them in acetone fueled nail polish remover, which, as we now know, dries out the already vulnerable nails.
Sometimes our nail growth is down to genes, but there are certain steps we can take to encourage strong and healthy nails. Take matters into your own hands! Ensuring you’re getting all the right nutrients needn’t be a difficult task, with both food and supplements easily available. Having bare nails every now and then will honestly be worth it – without the polish and remover drying your nails out and blocking the nutrients from feeding the nail, they’ll be able to grow. If you follow these tips, they will flourish into those nails you so envy on other people.