11 tips to grow strong nails

July 28, 2015

Nails provide an external sign of health: weak, brittle nails often signal a nutritional deficiency. Ignore them and you could end up with painful ingrown nails or a fungal infection. Follow these tips to ensurethey're healthy.

11 tips to grow strong nails

1. Moisturize

  • To keep your nails hydrated, rub a small amount of petroleum jelly into your cuticle and the skin surrounding your nails every evening before you go to bed or whenever your nails feel dry.
  • Not a fan of petroleum jelly? Substitute castor oil. It's thick and contains vitamin E, which is great for your cuticles.
  • Or use olive oil – it also works to moisturize your nails.

2. Wear rubber gloves

  • Wear rubber gloves whenever you do housework or wash the dishes.
  • Most household chores, from scrubbing the bathroom to washing the dishes, as well as gardening, are tough on your nails.
  • To protect your fingers from dirt and harsh cleaners, cover them with rubber gloves at chore time.
  • For extra hand softness, apply hand cream before you put on the gloves.

3. Trim straight across

  • Trim your toenails straight across to avoid ingrown toenails.
  • This is extra important if you have diabetes.

4. Dry thoroughly

  • Dry your hands for at least two minutes after doing the dishes.
  • Also dry your toes thoroughly after swimming or showering.
  • Leaving them damp increases your risk of fungal infection.

5. Keep boots dry

  • Air out your work boots and running shoes.
  • Better still, keep two pairs of each and switch between them so you're never putting your feet into damp, sweaty shoes, which may lead to fungal infections.

6. Cotton socks

  • Wear 100 per cent cotton socks.
  • They're best for absorbing dampness, thus preventing fungal infections.

7. Take vitamins

  • To make your nails as strong and resilient as horse's hooves, take 300 micrograms of the B vitamin biotin four to six times a day.
  • Long ago, vets discovered that biotin strengthened horses' hooves, which are made from keratin, the same substance as human nails.
  • Swiss researchers found that people who took biotin every day for just over five months had firmer, harder nails.
  • In a study, 63 per cent of people who took biotin developed stronger nails.

8. File right

  • File your nails correctly.
  • To keep your nails strong, avoid filing in a back-and-forth motion – go in one direction only.
  • Never file just after a shower or bath – wet nails break more easily.

9. Massage nails

  • Massage your nails to keep them extra-strong and shiny.
  • Nail buffing increases blood supply to the nail, which stimulates the matrix of the nail to grow.

10. Use polish

  • Polish your nails, even if it's just with a clear varnish. It protects them.
  • If you prefer colour, use a base coat, two thin coats of colour and a top coat.
  • The colour should last at least seven days but should be removed after ten days.

11. Avoid acetone or formaldehyde removers

  • Avoid polish removers containing acetone or formaldehyde.
  • They're very drying to the nails. Use acetate-based removers instead.
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