Believe it or not, our fingernails say much about our health and daily routine. From typing on a keyboard all day to washing the dishes, our nails can take a beating. But don’t worry, there are simple steps you can take to keep your nails healthy and looking fabulous.
Tips and Tricks on How To Keep Your Fingernails Healthy
Whether you’re a DIY nail enthusiast or a busy mom on the go, these tips and tricks will help you maintain strong, healthy nails and avoid common nail problems.
1. Keep your nails clean
It may be tempting to skip the nail-brushing step during your shower routine, but cleaning underneath your nails is crucial for maintaining healthy nails. Dirt and bacteria can easily accumulate underneath the nail bed, which can lead to infections and other nail problems. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently clean underneath your nails and avoid using harsh chemicals or sharp objects that can damage the nails.
2. Moisturize your nails and cuticles
Just like our skin and hair, our nails need moisture to stay healthy and strong. Use a moisturizer with vitamin E or jojoba oil on your nails and cuticles to prevent dryness and cracking. Massaging the cuticles with oil or lotion can also promote healthy nail growth and prevent hangnails.
3. Avoid harsh chemicals
Cleaning products, nail polish removers, and even some nail polishes can contain harsh chemicals that can damage your nails. Opt for natural or organic nail products that are free from harmful chemicals, such as formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate, which can cause brittle and yellow nails.
4. Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated is important for our overall health, and our nails are no exception. Drinking plenty of water can prevent dryness and brittleness, which can lead to split nails. You can also incorporate biotin-rich foods, such as almonds, eggs, and spinach, into your diet to promote nail growth and strength.
5. Don’t forget to take a break
Our nails need a break from polish and artificial nails. Leaving your nails without any polish or acrylics for a week or two can promote healthy nail growth and prevent discoloration. If you’re a chronic nail polish wearer, take a week off every few months to prevent any nail problems.
The Role of Diet For Healthy Nails
Your diet plays a crucial role in maintaining the health and appearance of your fingernails. Consuming the right nutrients can help strengthen your nails, prevent breakage, and promote healthy growth. Here are some essential nutrients for strong and healthy nails, along with the foods you should incorporate into your diet to ensure optimal nail health.
Essential Nutrients for Strong and Healthy Nails
Nails are primarily made of a protein called keratin. A diet rich in protein can help provide the building blocks necessary for strong, healthy nails. Include lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds in your diet to ensure adequate protein intake.
Biotin, also known as vitamin H, is essential for healthy nail growth and may help improve nail strength. Foods rich in biotin include eggs, almonds, sweet potatoes, spinach, salmon, and whole grains.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These essential fatty acids help maintain the natural oil barrier of your nails, keeping them moisturized and preventing brittleness. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, as well as flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.
Vitamins A, C, D, and E
Vitamins play a vital role in nail health by promoting collagen production, aiding calcium absorption, and providing antioxidants to protect against damage. Incorporate colorful fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, citrus fruits, berries, leafy greens, and bell peppers, into your diet to ensure you’re getting an adequate supply of these vitamins.
Minerals like zinc, iron, and calcium are essential for maintaining strong nails. Zinc helps with protein synthesis and cell division, which are crucial for nail growth. Iron is necessary for collagen production, while calcium helps keep nails strong and prevent brittleness. Include foods like spinach, legumes, nuts, seeds, lean meats, and dairy products in your diet to get these essential minerals.
Foods to Incorporate for Better Nail Health
To improve your nail health, try to include a variety of nutrient-rich foods in your daily diet. Some examples of such foods are:
- Leafy greens like spinach and kale
- Colorful fruits like berries, oranges, and kiwi
- Vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers
- Whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat bread
- Lean proteins like chicken, turkey, and fish
- Nuts and seeds, including almonds, walnuts, and chia seeds
- Dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and milk
Choosing the Right Nail Products
The products you use on your fingernails can significantly impact their health. To choose the right nail products:
- Avoid products containing harmful ingredients such as formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), which can weaken and damage nails.
- Opt for non-acetone nail polish removers, as acetone can be very drying to the nails and cuticles.
- Consider using nail polishes and treatments that are free of harmful chemicals and contain nail-strengthening ingredients like biotin, keratin, or vitamin E.
- Look for natural and organic nail care products, as they tend to be gentler on your nails and less likely to cause irritation or damage.
Professional Nail Treatments and Services
Sometimes, professional help is necessary to address nail problems or maintain healthy nails. Seek a reputable nail salon or technician for services such as manicures, pedicures, and nail treatments. Ensure that the salon follows proper hygiene practices, uses quality products, and employs well-trained technicians.
Common Nail Problems and Solutions
Common nail problems include brittle nails, yellow nails, hangnails, nail fungus, and ingrown nails. Identifying the cause of these issues and adopting appropriate remedies can help improve your nail health.
For instance, brittle nails may be due to a lack of moisture or essential nutrients, while nail fungus often results from prolonged exposure to moisture and warmth. Consult a healthcare professional if you’re unsure about the cause of your nail issues or if they persist despite your efforts.
With these simple tips and tricks, you can keep your nails healthy and strong. Taking care of your nails is just as important as taking care of your skin, hair, and overall health. Incorporating these steps into your daily routine doesn’t have to be time-consuming or costly. So, go ahead and treat yourself to a DIY at-home manicure knowing you are taking the necessary steps to keep your nails in tip-top shape!