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Growing Healthy Strong Nails

Updated on May 12, 2009

Healthy, beautiful nails is something a lot of people want. In fact, they pay a lot of money to get beautiful nails that aren't real. You can have the real thing with a little knowledge and a lot of care. Sure you will still get the occasional broken nail, but you can have beautiful nails that make other women jealous!

Aim For a Healthy You

While not all nail problems can be fixed with a healthy lifestyle there is a lot to be said about a healthy you. The healthier you are the less likely you will have nail problems. Here are a few things to consider to work toward a healthier you and a healthier lifestyle.

  • Diet- What you eat is important. You should have a well balanced diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains and lean protein. You should also avoid a lot of sugar and a lot of saturated fats. Watch what you eat and how much you eat of it!
  • Water- I just can't say this enough. You need water for a healthy body. It isn't enough that you count the other drinks you consume. You need to have lots of water for healthy skin and healthy nails. Aim for 8 to 10 glasses of water a day.
  • Exercise- Sure exercise isn't going to make your nails stronger, but it does help make you healthier which is good for your nails. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise three times a week.

You will be amazed what all a healthy lifestyle can do for you. It can give you better skin, hair, and NAILS!

Take a Multi-vitamin

Many adults don't take a multivitamin, but there are lots of benefits to doing just that. First of all it does a body good. Second it does your nails good. Many nail problems are caused from lack of certain vitamins and nutrients. When taking a multi-vitamin you make it less likely to have such deficiencies.

Clean and Dry

Keep your nails clean and dry. To do this you will want to use rubber gloves when doing household cleaning (besides the chemicals do terrible things to your hands). You will also want to dry your hands well after washing them. To keep your nails clean use a soft bristled nail brush on them. You will want to do this often to remove dead skin, dirt, and even to kill bacteria. Just add a little hand soap and gently scrub them clean making sure to get under them as much as possible.

Moisturize

That may seem a little odd after telling you to keep your nails dry, but the truth of the matter is your nails need a little help with the moisture category (and not water). You will want to moisturize at least once a day. Here are some helpful hints that can make your nails more moisturized and less dry.

  • Lotion- Your daily body or hand lotion can be great for your hands and nails. Gently massage into your hands and cover your nails massaging it into the cuticles.
  • Petroleum Jelly- While not a product I like to use because of how it feels it can be good because it is thick and easy to apply. Add a little to each nail getting it from the tip to the cuticle.
  • Oils (jojoba, hemp, or even olive oil)- Your favorite oils can also be used to moisturize your nails. Just add a little and massage into the skin. You can also warm a little in a small pan and soak them for a few minutes.
  • Vitamin E oil- You can buy vitamin E oil as an oil or as a gel cap. You can then puncture the gel cap and let the oil out. Rub a little into your nails and cuticles.

Treat Yourself To a Manicure

There are several parts of a manicure that make your nails healthier and stronger. Being careful to follow them will make your nails beautiful and desirable. You can do them at home and have great nails without a lot of expense.

  1. Clean your nails. While you should be keeping your nails clean and dry, it is a good place to start. Wash your hands and nails before you begin.
  2. Gently file your nails. You will want to file them from the right side to the middle and then from the left side to the middle. Never saw back and forth because that weakens the nail. It is a good idea to shape your nails into an oval because it is a stronger shape then a square or rectangle.
  3. Clean under nail gently. The underside of the nail will collect dust and "nail skin" from filing. It is a good idea to clean this out.
  4. Buff the tips of your nail in a down stroke. This will help to seal the edges.
  5. Gently push back the cuticles with a q-tip or an orange stick. Be gentle. If your cuticle is stuck to the nail gently apply a drop of lemon juice to help remove it.
  6. Buff your nails from front to back in one direction. Do this until they shine and are pretty pink. This brings the blood forward and helps stimulate growth and strength.

It is also a good idea to consider the length of your nails. While long nails are often considered desirable and beautiful they are also more likely to be weak, to show imperfections, and to break. Trimming them to a medium length is often helpful. Use sharp trimmers and carefully shape before you begin your manicure.

Polish Tips

Polish is often something we enjoy. It can add personality, match out outfits, and show who we are on the inside. With a few polishing tips you can continue to grow beautiful nails!

  • Always, always use a base coat. This is a clear polish that puts a barrier between your nail and the harsher colors that you want your nails to be.
  • Give your nail color at least 4 days before removing it. The chemicals in nail polish remover and nail polish itself are bad for your nails, so it is a good idea to keep it to a minimum.
  • Make the fewest amount of touch ups possible. Your polish will last longer if you top with a top coat, wear rubber gloves for cleaning, and use a top coat to touch up rather then real nail polish.
  • Alternate your light and dark colors. The darker the color the harsher it is on your nails. So, if you choose a light color one week and a dark one the next it will be healthier on your nails then if you always wear dark colors.
  • Use a nail polish remover without acetone. In fact choosing one that is supposed to be gentle, hypoallergenic, or moisturizing will be best for your nails.
  • Every few weeks give your nails a break. Let them go four to ten days without polish so they can breath! 
  • Use a nail strengthener. You can get several versions and it doesn't really matter which one you choose. Find one you like and apply it regularly. Use it between polishes and whenever you want your nails to be natural colored. 
  • Never wear false nails. Okay, so some are going to look at me crazy, but false nails promote a number of nail health problems. You are more likely to have weak, brittle, and falling apart nails if you wear false ones. You can also get bacteria and fungus infections!

Add Green Tea To Your Life

Green tea has a lot of health benefits. One of them is beautiful nails. Adding a cup or more each day can help make you have stronger healthier nails. You can also soak your hands and nails in green tea for a relaxing hand soak. Do it for 15 minutes once or twice a week.

Hot Wax Treatments

Paraffin wax can be very relaxing and great for the hands and the nails. Whether you have a kit or are doing it in a double broiler coat your hands with a little oil (olive oil works well) and then dip in the hot (but cool enough to touch) wax a few times. Let the wax cool while your hands are wrapped in mits or a towel. Wait about 30 minutes. Then peel off the wax and enjoy the soft hands and moisturized nails.

A Note About Fungus

Nail fungus is never fun to deal with. It causes the nails to be discolored (usually yellow but could also be brown, black, or even green) and dry and brittle. It can be itchy, burning, or otherwise uncomfortable. If you think you have nail fungus it is a good idea to talk to your doctor who can diagnose it for you. Here are some treatment suggestions that can be done at home if you have a problem. You should know that it will take a few months to get rid of it and you shouldn't wear polish during this time (I know it is something most people want to cover up).

  • Soak your nails in a solution of one or more of the following mixed with 1/2 water: Listerine, apple cider vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, Epsom salts, or rubbing alcohol. Soak for 15-30 minutes each and every day.
  • Dry thoroughly after each time your nails get wet. Fungus thrives in moisture so make sure you dry your nails after they get wet. You can even make sure they are really dry by using a blow dryer. 
  • Wash your hands and nails in anti-fungal soap. This will help kill the bacteria.
  • Apply one of the following on your nails each night before bed: Tea Tree Oil, Vitamin E Oil, or Vicks VapoRub. 
  • It is also a good idea to cut your nails short to get rid of as much of fungus as possible. As you kill the fungus and your nails grow out they will grow healthy and strong.

Strong healthy nails can be yours. You just need to take a little time to care for them and to produce great results. Start with a healthier you and move on to taking care of your nails each and every day. It will be worth it with great looking nails that can be designed to match your outfits and that will get comments from other people!

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • Efficient Admin profile image

    Efficient Admin 5 years ago from Charlotte, NC

    Great hub, thanks for sharing this useful and informative hub. Voted up.

  • mysisters profile image

    mysisters 7 years ago

    Nice Hub. These are some great tips on how to grow healthy strong nails. I agree that diet and drinking lots of water daily helps. I take Fish Oil Pills 3 times a day with meals. My nails and hair have grown tremendously.

  • lilly_dens profile image

    lilly_dens 8 years ago

    thanks for the tips, nice hub! =)

  • mlozinski profile image

    Mellisa L 8 years ago from Canada

    Thanks! This is an awesome hub, I'll be using these tips.

  • Nail Technician profile image

    Nail Technician 8 years ago

    Wow, This is just an all around great hub for anyone looking for healthier nails. Great job and thank you.

  • LowellWriter profile image

    L.A. Walsh 9 years ago from Lowell, MA

    Such great tips. Thank you for answering my request! :o)

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