This site was designed for the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer (version 10+). Some features may not work correctly in your browser. OK
Strengthen Your Nails with These 7 Tips

Healthy nails are an integral part of a neat, well-groomed appearance; chipping, tearing and peeling nails can be a huge source of frustration. Fortunately, these seven small changes to your lifestyle can help you achieve long, strong, beautiful nails.

strengthen nailsTake your vitamins

Biotin is a trusted standby used to toughen up horse hooves — and it works for people, too. While you can find this B vitamin in foods like cauliflower and peanuts, you’d have to eat a lot of them to see results. To fortify your nails, dermatology professor Boni Elewski recommends a 3-milligram daily biotin supplement. Of course, check with your healthcare provider before starting any supplement regimen.

Use a better emery board

Toss out those old-fashioned rough orange emery boards. Their sandpaper-like grit is too harsh for nails, inflicting small cracks and tears each time you file. Instead, dermatologist Margaret Ravits recommends using a fine, smooth file. Your technique matters, too — file your nails in one direction. Filing with a back-and-forth sawing motion will create tears that can lead to breakage.

Lather up

According to Ravits, moisturizing your fingernails, nail beds and cuticles with a good-quality hand cream can help your nails grow strong. Try to find one that contains lactic acid and has a scent that you enjoy. Keep it available at your desk, in your car or in your bathroom so you can use it each time you wash your hands. However, dermatology professor Dr. C. Ralph Daniel III recommends avoiding lotions that contain alcohol, because its drying effects can make your brittle nails more vulnerable. You’ll want to cut back on alcohol-based hand sanitizers for the same reason.

Guard with gloves

Many household cleaning products, like dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent and glass cleaners, are meant to strip away oils. While that’s great for your streak-free shiny stemware, it’s harsh on your fingernails. Before washing dishes or scrubbing the bathtub, use gloves to protect your nails from harsh chemicals.

Rethink daily tasks

Repeated trauma can weaken your nails. Before you use your fingernail to pull the tab on a pop top can of soup or soda, consider using a tool to lift the tab instead. Similarly, if you’re itching to scratch off a lottery ticket or scrape off a price sticker, grab a coin to do the job.

Care for your cuticles

Although cuticle cutting and shaping is a typical part of a manicure, dermatologist Dana Stern explains why this step should be skipped. Since the cuticle is the nail’s natural defense against bacteria and fungi, damaging the cuticle makes your fingernails vulnerable to infection. Infected nails tend to peel and split, so skip the cuticle cutting for healthier hands.

Manage your manicures

While acrylic nails can be a fun fashion accessory, frequent usage can lead to brittle, peeling nails. Also, long nails can get caught on something and tear. If you’re a fan of traditional nail polish, resist the urge to pick and peel when the varnish starts to chip — it can damage the top layer of your nails. When it’s time to say goodbye to a coat of polish, reach for an acetate-based remover. According to Daniel, it’s less damaging than acetone-based nail polish removers.

With a few easy lifestyle changes, you can be on your way to healthy, beautiful nails. If you have underlying health concerns or if your nails show no sign of improvement, consult with your healthcare provider for advanced treatment options.

This article is presented by Jennings Chevrolet in Glenview, IL.
- + Disclaimers