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Grow Long and Healthy Nails

Updated on January 1, 2018
Hard as Nails
Hard as Nails | Source

The Importance of Having Healthy Nails

Having beautiful nails is important when you want to look presentable. Your nails can be noticed on any occasion such as a job interview or your wedding day.

Showing that you have attractive hands can help with your confidence and show others that you take pride in your appearance. Even shorter nails can look nice if they are well maintained. Looking after yourself and keeping up a beauty regime could promote strong nails and limit breakage as they grow.

Start with a Good Diet

Nails are made of cells and layers of keratin which is a protein that makes them flat and hard beyond the cuticle. They grow from the root with the cuticle protecting the newly formed nail. Newly formed cells push up the old ones, making the nail hard. The nail bed is the pink skin underneath the nail and needs the right nutrition to help with healthy growth.

Nails should grow straight and smooth with a minimal amount of ridges. Cracked or discoloured nails may be infected by a fungus and need to be medically treated. Horizontal ridges could also be a sign of infection or illness, whilst vertical ridges occur because of a bad diet. Other discolourations, spots or brittleness could indicate that there is an under laying health problem

In order for nails to be nourished, looking at what is going into your body should be addressed first. Having a balanced diet enriched with vitamins, minerals and good fats help to form healthy cells for the skin and body. Calcium and protein are essential for strong bones and very important for nails.

Having a long term diet of food full of saturated fats, sugar and alcohol minimises nutrients getting to important areas of the body. Equally, not having enough to eat can have a similar effect. Smoking can prohibit the absorption of some vitamins and minerals, such as zinc. Ensuring a good balance of foods from the main food groups are consumed each day will help with vitality, as well as keeping hydrated with water and herbal teas.

Maintain a healthy diet
Maintain a healthy diet | Source

Feed Your Nails

Unsaturated fats are the good fats which are great for skin, hair and nail growth. These are found in olive oil, fish and nuts. The omega 3 and 6 contain fatty acids for strength. Cakes, cream and red meat contain saturated fat, and these need to be eaten in moderation.

Calcium can be found in milk and cheese, so having the lower fat versions will help with the promotion of a good diet. Calcium is also present in herbs and leafy greens. Some foods contain multiple amounts of vitamins and minerals, so by eating cabbage will up your intake of calcium, iron and vitamin C.

Zinc deficiency can lead to fungal infections as it can affect the immune system. Nuts and seeds and shell fish are high in zinc so need to be included in the food group. Cereals are often fortified with vitamins, minerals and iron, so eating a cereal which is low in sugar and salt will give you a head start each morning. The milk in the cereal will increase you calcium intake.

Other important vitamins include B vitamins, vitamin A and vitamin E. Without these, ridges or discolouration may become present on the surface of the nail.

Keep hydrated to prevent spitting and dryness. Fruit, vegetables and salad are high in water content, as are soups and smoothies. Drink around six glasses of water each day, or alternate plain water with or herbal teas which are full of antioxidants.

Good Circulation

Blood circulation helps with many things including the healthy growth of nails. By having a poor diet or becoming overweight may cause a risk of bad circulation. High blood pressure and being low in vitamin E can also contribute to poor circulation.

Exercise is the main way to get the blood flowing, so by doing simple and gentle exercises for thirty minutes each day could prove to be significant. Lowering the amount of toxins in the body will help the lymphatic circulatory system. Eating fresh fruit and vegetables and limiting stimulants such as caffeine and tobacco can clear the system. Massage will also improve circulation, so try this on your hands for glorious nails.

Nail Accessories
Nail Accessories | Source

Get Gorgeous Nails

Maintain your nails with a whole new beauty routine. Keep your nails all at the same length so that they look even and grow together nicely. Trim them with nail clippers and file them to get rid of jagged edges. File them in one direction rather than sawing away at them. Use a wooden or foam emery board as metal can cause damage. Start from the outside of the nail and work inwards.

If it is easier, soak your hands in warm soapy water beforehand. Put a few drops of baby oil in the water for added softness. When the skin is soft, gently push back the cuticle using an orange stick. This makes the nail appear longer, but be gentle. The cuticle protects the root from bacteria.

Always remove traces of old nail varnish. As soon as it becomes chipped, remove it and prepare you nails before applying a new coat. Use a nourishing nail varnish and moisturise beforehand. Get into the habit of applying hand cream to hands, nails and cuticles every day and after every hand wash. Use a clear base layer before applying your varnish, especially if it is colour that could stain the nail and keep your nails filed and shaped so that they are strong as they grow.

Use rubber gloves before cleaning or gardening to protect them from dirt and chemicals.

It is also important to avoid biting your nails. This makes them look unsightly and nails harbour bacteria. Invest in an anti biting varnish which has a bitter taste if you cannot break the habit.

If your nails are brittle it may take some time to build up the strength of them. Keep them quite short by trimming and filing, and maintain good hand care and healthy diet.

© 2013 Emma Kisby


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    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Kisby 4 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thanks always exploring. My son keeps getting into the habit of his nails. We broke it once a few years ago with nail biting prevention varnish, so I must try it again.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This is a really good article. I used to bite my nails when i was a kid, i can't imagine doing that now. Thank you, interesting hub...