When you think about it, we really subject our nails to a lot of abuse. We paint them with chemical-laden polishes, wash dishes, and use household cleaners. We also put pressure on them whenever we carry something, grip a pen or door handle, or do any number of other tasks with our hands.
If you’ve ever had a broken or cracked nail, you know how painful it can be. Whether it’s happened to you or not, by following these tips, you can prevent it from happening in the future.
1. Keep Your Showers Short
Your nails can become weaker and more brittle whenever they’re exposed to water and/or heat for long periods of time – in the shower, in a hot bath, in the swimming pool, in a hot tub, or even in a steam room.
If your nails are prone to breaking, minimize your exposure to these conditions.
2. Avoid Biting Your Nails
Although you may feel you need to bite your nails to calm your nerves, it’s really not worth it.
Biting or chewing on your nails can not only make them more brittle and likely to break, it can also make you sick if bacteria that were under your fingernails get into your mouth. This is a bad habit for more than one reason.
3. Trim Your Nails Regularly
Like your hair, your nails’ health can benefit from regular trims. The longer your nails are, the more likely they are to become brittle and break off, so you should keep them as short as you can.
After you clip your nails, don’t forget to file them. By keeping the tips of your nails healthy, filing also helps keep your nails strong.
4. Keep Your Nails And Hands Moisturized
Just like the skin anywhere else on your body, your nails and hands need to be moisturized regularly. You should apply moisturizer to your hands and nails twice a day, every morning and evening.
Also, it’s a good idea to add more moisturizer every time you wash your hands. Getting into this habit will encourage healthy nail growth and strengthen your nails.
5. Wear Gloves While Doing Chores
The chemicals found in many common household cleaners can weaken nails and make them peel. Protect them by wearing gloves.
If you do other manual tasks that may be hard on your hands and damage your nails, like gardening, you should wear appropriate gloves for those tasks as well.
6. Eat A Healthy Diet
Your nails need specific vitamins to stay healthy. Here are some of the most important vitamins necessary for the good health of your nails:
Vitamin B – To get enough Vitamin B, eat lentils, peanuts and other legumes, cauliflower, egg yolks, mushrooms, bananas, sardines, and liver. In addition to Vitamin B, all these foods contain biotin, which thickens fingernails and makes them less prone to splitting.
Calcium – Nails are primarily made from calcium, so getting enough of it is vital to nail health. You can get it from broccoli and from dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and milk.
Soy is also a good food to eat for strong, healthy nails. We recommend soy milk, tofu, or tempeh as your go-to sources of soy.
7. Use Nail Polish
Any kind of nail polish, including clear, adds strength to the nail and helps prevent it from splitting. Some nail polishes are even specifically formulated to improve nail strength.
When your polish begins to chip, don’t remove it with nail polish remover and start over right away – touch it up first. When you do use nail polish remover (for example, to change polish colors), be sure to choose a brand that doesn’t contain acetone. Acetone dries nails out too much, and often causes them to peel and break.