7 Ways to combat damaged nails

Amelia Thorpe helps us get to grips with the best ways to care and maintain the health of our nails.

Amelia Thorpe
14th March 2020
pixabay : niekverlaan
If you’ve ever had gel or acrylic nails you’ve been there; sat in the operating chair at the nail technicians, staring down at your (once beautiful) now paper thin and lifeless scratchers, wondering if a few weeks of having ‘girl hands again’ was even worth the bitter disappointment your own fingernails now provide.

Of course, it sucks being in that situation but there are many ways at hand (pun intended) to reverse the damage gels and acrylics inflict on your nails so you can say ‘bye-bye’ to your brittle nails once and for all. So, here are some small, but insanely effective, lifestyle and habit changes, as well as tips, that can help salvage, strengthen and lengthen your nails.

1.) Use your nails less!
Although it’s a given, the more you use your nails as tools, the more stress you put on them and the weaker they’ll become as a in turn, resulting in breakage and splitting. Instead try and use the pads of your fingers to complete everyday tasks such as opening a can of pop and resist the urge to peel the price tags off new purchases with your nails.

Instagram @opi

2.) Cuticle Oil
Cuticle oil is a holy grail when it comes to nail care! Cuticle oil is best known for its moisturising abilities but regularly massaging it into your cuticles also stimulates blood flow under your nail and the surrounding areas. This enhances the growth process of new cells which subsequently aids the growth of long and strong nails. Plus, it is available from most drugstores averaging around £3-£7 so there’s no excuse not to give your nails a little bit of TLC today!

3.) Stay hydrated
Drinking enough water is essential for your nail health. Dehydration can cause your nails to become weak and brittle, therefore making sure you drink about 2 litres of water a day is essential in order to have a healthy set of nails as well as maintaining a healthy body and mind.

Pixabay @dbreen

4.) Vitamins and Minerals
Much like the rest of your body, nails and cuticles require inner nourishment from vitamins and minerals. Key vitamins for nails include vitamin B2, biotin and vitamin A, which can all be found in foods like bananas, certain dairy products, eggs and pretty much any vegetable. However, if for some reason you can’t eat these foods, I’d recommend taking a daily multivitamin supplement to ensure you are getting the vitamins you need to revitalize your nails.

5.) Minimize exposure to water
Overexposure to water can (ironically) dry your nails out, causing them to become weak and brittle. Even though it’s impossible to keep your nails totally dry 100% of the time, there are ways you can minimize exposure to water such as wearing gloves when washing the dishes and by taking shorter baths or showers.

6.) Avoid certain products
Avoiding products that dry your nails can greatly improve your nail health. For instance, only use hand sanitizer when it is necessary (which unfortunately feels essential amidst the coronavirus outbreak) as it dries your nails out. Also avoid certain shampoos used for oily hair as they are designed to strip the moisture out of keratin, which is what both nails and hair are made from.

Biting your nails does not allow them to grow properly. Whether you bite your nails out of stress or just pure habit, there are always ways to stop such by distracting your mouth and hands (e.g. Chewing gum) or wearing gloves. There are also special polishes designed to deter nail biting, through an awful taste, that are available online and at many drugstores.

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