How to Strengthen Weak Nails
HEAD / How to Strengthen Weak Nails
EXCERPT / Although most of us pay attention to our nails when it comes to ensuring they’re primped, polished and sporting the latest nail art trends, they’re often overlooked from a health perspective. If you’re suffering from weak or damaged nails and are looking for a long-term solution then don’t worry, help is, ahem, at hand.
What causes weak nails?
Just as our oral and eye health are strong indicators of our overall general health, the health of our nails is closely associated with how well the rest of our body is functioning. In other words, it pays to keep a close eye on our fingertips. Although poor nail health can sometimes be a sign of more serious health conditions such as liver and lung disease, in most cases, weak, brittle and discoloured nails are usually a sign of a poor diet and nutritional deficiencies, as well as overexposure to certain cleaning detergents or nail treatments.
What do normal nails look like?
While nails that change significantly ought to be checked out by a healthcare professional, it’s totally normal for everyone’s nails to go through changes at various stages in life. As we age, nail plate growth slows right down resulting in thinner, more brittle nails. It’s a similar story for pregnancy too, whereby hormone fluctuations cause nails to change, becoming harder, softer or more prone to breakage. Damage to or loss of nails after an injury is another common occurrence. Although it’s usually nothing to worry about and will sort itself out in due course, it can take up to 6 months for fingernails to grow back and around up to 18 months for toenails.
How to care for weak nails
If you do notice that your nails are peeling, splitting or are weaker than usual, avoid using harsh treatments and chemicals like acetone and cleaning agents. If that’s impossible, try to wear rubber gloves to minimise contact and step up the TLC with regular application of hand cream or cuticle oil; Margaret Dabbs’ Nourishing Nail & Cuticle Serum Pen is a great everyday option. Containing intensely hydrating emu oil to strengthen and tea tree oil to protect against infection, keep it by your bedside table and apply every evening. If you struggle with upkeep and love the look of groomed nails, then a fortifying clear polish is both pretty and practical. We love OPI’s Nail Envy Original Formula which contains hydrolyzed wheat protein and calcium for stronger, natural nails pus it leaves a gorgeously glossy finish behind. Always keep nails clean by using a soft nail brush and trim them regularly to avoid snagging them when they’re most vulnerable. Because metal files can often be too harsh for compromised nails, look for a soft emery board instead which will get the job done but without weakening damaged nails further. Frequent nail biters might also notice they’re more susceptible to weak, brittle or painful tips; that’s because saliva can dissolve nails and cuticle skin, causing a broken and ineffective barrier between your nails and bacteria and fungus, which if left unchecked can cause infection.
What to eat for strong nails
The good news is that you can fix a lot of nail issues through reinstatement of a healthy balanced diet; weak nails are usually associated with a deficiency in B vitamins, iron, calcium and fatty acids, so ensuring you regularly include plenty of rich sources such as fish, eggs and dairy in your diet is a great first step. Supplementing your intake of crucial vitamins and minerals known to promote nail growth and repair is also a must. Manifesto hair, skin & nail gummies are a great first port of call for anyone suffering as they contain a high dose of biotin, otherwise known as vitamin B7. Known for supporting cell reproduction and optimum absorption of nutrients, it also plays a crucial role in fatty acid production, which can moisturise nails from within and improve their integral strength. Also key in any good vitamin for healthy nails like Manifesto is a hefty dose of zinc, which is proven to help maintain a healthy immune system and support nail growth by nourishing cells. Selenium, another miracle mineral that features in our vitamin gummies, is important to include in your daily vitamin supplement too because it helps your body maintain adequate thyroid function, which is responsible for proper nail growth.