Growing nails that are strong and healthy takes more than a trip to the nail salon. It takes special care and grooming of your nails, as well as eating a healthy diet and having a little patience.
You’ve no doubt heard that “beauty comes from the inside.” It turns out that it’s true. Your outer beauty is directly affected by your internal health and wellness. And if you have unhealthy looking nails, it can be a tell-tale sign of a more serious health problem. While more often than not, nail abnormalities are nothing to worry about, the appearance of your nails may indicate an underlying health condition. For instance:
- Pale nails or white nails can be a sign of aging, but it may also be a sign of heart problems, anemia, liver problems or poor nutrition.
- White nails with darker edges may be a sign of a liver problem like hepatitis. If your fingers are also jaundiced, or yellowish, this may be another sign of a liver condition, and you should see your doctor.
- Yellow nails may indicate a fungal infection. In some cases, yellow nails may indicate a more serious health issue such as a thyroid condition, lung problems, diabetes or psoriasis. If you’re concerned about your yellow nails, you should see your doctor.
- Blue tinted nails may be a sign of a lack of oxygen and could indicate a lung infection like pneumonia, or may be a sign of diabetes.
- Ridged or pitted nails may be an early indication of psoriasis or inflammatory arthritis.
- Dry, brittle nails that easily crack or split may be a sign of a thyroid condition. If your nails are also yellowish, it may be due to a fungal infection.
- Inflamed, red nailsfolds—the skin around your nails—may indicate lupus or a connective tissue condition.
- Dark lines beneath your nails could be a sign of melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, and you should see your doctor right away to rule out any serious problem.
While there is no fountain of youth or magic thing you can do to grow nails that are perfect, there are some simple steps you can take to grow nails that are stronger and healthier:
- Moisturize nails and cuticles throughout the day and before you go to bed. Some experts even suggest you wear cotton gloves at night while you’re sleeping.
- Apply a nail hardener to strengthen nails and avoid breakage. However, make sure your nail hardener does not contain formaldehyde or sulfonamide since these harsh chemicals can irritate your skin. Instead, choose products that contain digested or hydrolyzed protein or collagen, which give your nails a protective coating and help prevent drying of your nails.
- Take a nail supplement to fortify your body with vitamins and nutrients that have been proven to be beneficial for healthy nails. Choose a supplement that contains at least 1000mcg of biotin, a vital ingredient for strong nails, as well as multiple vitamins and MSM, another necessary ingredient to produce healthy collagen and keratin in the body, which are essential for healthy nails.
- File your nails every couple of days to keep edges smooth and less prone to snagging and tearing.
- Wear rubber gloves when doing the dishes, cleaning the house and gardening to protect your nails and hands from damage caused by water, harsh chemicals, and bacteria or fungi exposure.
- Use colored nail polish to keep the focus on your nails and make broken nails easy to spot and fix right away.
- Don’t use your nails as tools which can easily cause nail breakage. Instead, to dial the telephone, use the eraser end of a pencil, and to open a can of soda, use a butter knife or letter opener.
- Don’t bite your nails. It’s a bad habit that not only looks bad, but can be painful and cause an infection.
- Eat a protein-rich diet since nails are made of keratin, a protein that is comprised of the amino acids cysteine and methionine and the mineral sulphur. Good sources of these vital nutrients are poultry, beans, eggs, beef and pork. An iron deficiency may cause weak, brittle nails, so take a daily multivitamin with iron and include plenty of green, leafy vegetables, fresh fruits and whole grains in your diet.
- Don’t wear fake fingernails or nail wraps since these can slow nail growth and can leave behind damaged, rough and weakened nails that can take up to 6 months to grow out.
By following these steps and having some patience, you should be able to grow nails that are strong and beautiful in 3-6 months. When choosing a nail supplement, try Healthy Choice Naturals Hair, Skin & Nail Essentials, which provides 2600mcg of Biotin plus Collagen, MSM and all the vitamins proven to be beneficial for healthy nails, as well as healthy hair and skin.