Tips for stronger nails

Splitting, peeling fingernails can not only be unattractive, but unhealthy. Improving your nail health requires special care and attention on both the inside and out. Following these tips on both diet and nail care can make your nails stronger and help keep them that way.

Good Nutrition

Experts will say that one of the most important keys to proper nail health is a healthy eating plan. A diet rich in vitamins A, E & Biotin is believed to make nails stronger. Vitamin A can be found in green, yellow and orange vegetables, while good sources of vitamin E include nuts and leafy green vegetables. Biotin is a B vitamin found in eggs, almonds, soybeans and sweet potatoes. Drinking the recommended allowance of eight to ten glasses of water each day will help keep nails from drying out and peeling. Gelatin dietary supplements, available in a drinkable form, can also help build nail strength from the inside out by thickening weak nails. 

Nail Treatments and Care

There are a variety of nail strengtheners and treatments on the market today. Each uses different ingredients to build a strong nail surface to protect against breaks. Nail “fortifiers” made with protein and calcium, are meant to infuse the nail with supplements, making it stronger. Strengtheners with panthenol are designed to lock moisture into nails so they will be more pliable and less likely to break. Nail treatments are even available with a Teflon additive, creating a hard nail surface to withstanding peeling and splitting. These treatments all tend to prescribe a daily use regimen. Make sure to follow directions and apply only a thin coat each day — too much can cause a heavy buildup that will actually backfire and weaken the nails. 

Using a daily moisturizer specifically designed for hands and nails will help keep nails properly moisturized. Cuticles should also be well-cared for – keep them moisturized with a cuticle oil and in good shape. Don’t pick at nails, cuticles or the skin around them.

Occasional buffing gives nails a healthy shine and can stimulate growth. Place a small drop of conditioning cream on the nail bed and buff until shiny with a chamois cloth or special nail buffer. Don’t use any other type of file on the nail bed as it can wear down the nail surface. 

Some experts will even recommend tapping your nails on a table regularly to increase blood flow and circulation, thereby stimulating nail growth. 

While regular manicures can help keep nails and cuticles in a healthy shape, take care to follow proper nail care guidelines. Don’t file down the side of the nail too much or keep them in an unnatural shape, as this make your nail tips prone to breakage. To avoid infection, don’t allow cuticle to be totally removed, only trimmed. Never pick at chipping nail polish — peeling polish layers can take off layers of protective coating from the nail itself. Heavy layers of nail polish and treatments used in manicures can actually weaken nails, so take a week-long break from nail color once a month to let nails “breathe.”

Good Habits

Protecting your nails during everyday tasks will go a long way in keep your nails strong. Although moisture can help keep nails pliable, water itself can actually weaken them dramatically when your hands are soaking in it. Household cleaners can be just as damaging, as most chemicals can be drying to the nails and hands. Wear rubber gloves when washing dishes or using harsh cleaners. 

Don’t use your nails as tools to pry open lids or packages or scrape labels – this will almost always result in a nail break. Don’t clean underneath your nails with any sharp object – orange sticks or specific nail tools are rounded and less likely to split your nails. Use a pencil or pen to dial a phone or push buttons to avoid cracking your nails on impact.



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