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How to Strengthen Nails

I thank my mother for strong fingernails. She has long, durable nails, and berated me to stop biting mine when I was younger.  Although there is a genetic component for the quality of your nails, there are also strategies to strengthen and lengthen them.  Whether you have nails that bend, peel or break, these tips may work for you:

1.) Take a daily multivitamin.  Having nails that split is actually a medical condition called onychoschizia.  Weak nails can be caused by malnutrition or several illnesses including anemia, thyroid disease, and skin disorders.  By checking your vitamin intake and maintaining a healthy diet, you can nourish your nails from the inside-out.

2.) Avoid overexposure to water, especially of hot temperature.  Water softens nails, and frequent hand drying can wipe off nails’ natural oils, causing dry, brittle nails. Wear gloves when washing dishes or laundry, and try patting hands dry rather than rubbing or using hand-dryers.

3.) Avoid chemicals, including household cleaners, hand sanitizer, and nail polish remover. Again, you can wear gloves while cleaning the kitchen or bathrooms.  Buy an acetone-free polish remover or one with aloe to replenish some of the moisture that can be stripped by the chemical.

4.) Don’t bite!  There are bitter, nourishing liquids to apply to your nails to discourage biting.  Also, try to decipher the cause of your nail biting, i.e. nervousness, boredom, or oral fixation to work on overcoming the habit.

5.) Be careful how you file your nails.  Using a glass or crystal file can prevent tearing, and always file upwards in one direction instead of in a sawing motion.

6.) Avoid fake nails.  As much as they are a good temporary solution, the removal process of fake nails can further damage your already short or weak nails.  Choosing soak-off gel nails is a better solution compared to acrylic or regular, file-off gels.  Tell your manicurist to put that power sander away!

7.) Keep polish on your nails!   If you don’t like color or the hassle of upkeep, apply a base coat.  Many base coats are specific to strengthening or lengthening.  My favorite is Sally Hansen’s Complete Care 4-in-1 treatment.

Hopefully these tips will help you grow beautiful, strong fingernails to flaunt.  A final suggestion: get a manicure.  Paying for the service may help you take extra caution with your nails.  Class dismissed!

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