A healthy body begins with healthy nails. Your nails reveal a lot about your health, so it’s important to take care of them. Healthy nails are strong and resilient, but they also tend to grow quickly and evenly, creating the best possible environment for beauty treatments such as artificial nail overlays and shellac manicures to adhere correctly and last longer than they would on unhealthy nails. Here are 10 ways to grow healthy nails.
1) Give Your Fingernails Time
Your fingernails can grow quickly if you give them enough time. Treat them like hair and leave yourself for at least two months between professional manicures, which can be drying for your nails. Also, make sure to eat a balanced diet that contains lots of fruits and vegetables (like Vitamin C). Aside from nail-biting, one of your biggest enemies is stress; using cuticle oil or putting on lotion helps moisturize the skin around your nails so they’re less likely to split or break. Drink more water: Water isn’t just good for keeping you hydrated; it’s also vital for keeping your body healthy. Your nails need ample amounts of moisture, so drink up!
2) Eat Healthy
Healthy nails start with a balanced diet. From picking out a multi-vitamin, eating vegetables and whole grains, or downing enough protein, there are many foods that can support healthy nail growth. Aside from nutrition, make sure you’re getting plenty of exercises so your nails don’t break because of too much pressure on them. Try out some new exercises like yoga or pilates—you can even do it while watching TV! And lastly, always remember to wear gloves when handling harsh chemicals or materials that could cause damage.
3) Use the Right Tools
If you’re looking for healthier nails, it’s time to put away your big clippers and get a manicure. Having your nails professionally done will keep them clean and healthy, but if you want more control over their appearance, there are plenty of at-home tools that can help. If you want beautiful natural nails, you’ll need some nail polish remover—and if they’re super thin or fragile, don’t use a stripping product! Instead, opt for a gentle polish remover that uses acetone as its main ingredient. And don’t forget about cuticle oil —this is perhaps one of the most overlooked steps in growing out your natural nails.
4) Get a Good Moisturizer
If you’re looking for a moisturizer that promotes healthy nails, look for one with vitamins and nutrients like biotin, keratin, alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), and hyaluronic acid. In fact, using products with these ingredients can help strengthen brittle nails by improving cellular health. AHAs work best on very dry skin—something that most people don’t realize until they try it.
5) Stay Hydrated
You might not think about it, but your body loses water every day. In fact, it’s estimated that you lose about two cups of water a day just from breathing and sweating. So staying hydrated is important for keeping your nails healthy. Start each morning with a big glass of water or a refreshing drink like sparkling water with lemon or lime. Dehydration also leads to morning breath—and nobody wants smelly nails! To keep your nail bed moisturized and hydrated, try massaging cuticle oil into both hands before bed.
6) Moisturize Daily (Really!)
To get your nails in tip-top shape, you’ll want to protect them from damage while encouraging growth and strength. This means using a moisturizer daily; think of it as nail food that helps promote healthy, strong nails. Choose a moisturizer with a high concentration of vitamins A and E, like Neutrogena Healthy Skin Moisturizer ($8). They’re known for their skin-repairing properties, so they’ll do wonders for your weak nails!
7) Use Base Coat and Top Coat Properly
If you want your nails to stay beautiful and chip-free, it’s important that you start with a good base coat and topcoat. To begin, apply one of these products over freshly cleaned and dried nails. This is necessary because nail polish only sticks properly to bare nails – in other words, if you put on your base coat first and then put on your nail polish, they won’t bond correctly. After applying a base coat (usually clear or colorless), wait until it dries before applying a topcoat (often colored or shaded). This extra step prevents air bubbles from forming between layers of polish, which could lead to chipping within hours of application.
8) Give Them Some Sunlight
No, not a tan (although you can still get that). Sunlight helps your body produce vitamin D, which promotes healthy nail growth. If you don’t spend a lot of time outside or if you’re in an office all day and don’t have access to sunlight, it might be worth thinking about ways you can improve your daily routine. Getting just 15 minutes of direct sunlight each day—basically about 20 minutes before noon—is often enough for most people. Or consider taking a multivitamin with added vitamin D.
9) Keep an Eye Out for Breaks in the Skin
The first sign of a broken nail is usually a white line along your cuticle. While it’s easy to ignore these minor breaks, they can lead to serious problems. If you notice these lines, give yourself at least three days before trimming back your nails or engaging in any intense activity that could put pressure on your hands (like working out). As soon as you see signs of damage, rest and apply cuticle oil! The sooner you get them taken care of, the less likely they are to turn into an infection.
10) Seek Professional Help Sometimes
The nail industry is a $7 billion market, so it’s no surprise that salons and spas everywhere offer manicures, pedicures, and even specialized treatments like shellac. While these services can do wonders for your nails, frequenting salons or having someone else take care of your nails can lead to weak nails. You should have regular professional manicures; however, if you’re trying to grow out your nails or prevent breaks and cracks at home, experts say you should avoid acetone-based polish removers as well as metal files.