Above: Sheetal Rawal, scientist (human genetics) & founder of Apsara Skin Care
By: Marty S.
Even though our nails are among the smallest parts of our bodies, it is surprising to know that they have to undergo more maintenance than expected in order to look presentable. For example, many of us cut our nails on a regular basis to avoid scratching ourselves and others. Nail polish and manicures are also a steady part of many routines to keep these tiny body parts flawless and glowing. While few people aspire to be a hand model, we think most of us will agree that taking care of our nails can correspond to good overall hygiene.
However, if your nails are weaker and more brittle than normal, you could be relying on nail polish a little too much. Nobody wants to present chipped-off, damaged nails, but you shouldn’t be using nail polish as a temporary solution. Rather, there are things you can implement into your lifestyle to help you take better care of your nails. Today, you will learn 8 habits that you should try to get strong, long, and healthy nails. With these habits, you’ll be ready to share that new manicure with the world in no time!
1. Drink Enough Water Every Day
We’ve stressed before just how vital water is to the health of your skin; to summarize, water can diminish dryness and flakiness and help you get soft, supple skin. Well, water is important for your nails, too. Some of the side effects of not drinking water include brittle nails, slower nail growth, and peeling cuticles. Therefore, make it a habit to drink enough water every day, not just to get youthful, glowing skin, but also strong, long, and healthy nails.
Related: Apsara Skin Care products can calm your skin down and make it more beautiful.
2. Use a Moisturizer on Your Nails
Drinking water is great for your internal hydration, but there will be times when your nails and cuticles will dry out and water won’t be enough. When this happens, make sure to use a moisturizer. While it might seem a little bizarre, you can deeply nourish your nails with a moisturizer to reduce dryness and brittleness. Plus, using a moisturizer can help keep your nails and cuticles sealed and protected against infection.
3. Keep Your Nails Dry
Though it might seem a little contradictory to our previous advice, you should try to limit your nails’ external exposure to water. Leaving your nails in water for too long can weaken your nails and make them more brittle. Plus, while the chemicals in tap water make it more potable, those chemicals could worsen the condition of your nails. Therefore, whenever you wash your hands, make sure that you promptly dry them after. If you need to wash the dishes or hand wash clothes, wear rubber gloves to protect your nails from water.
4. Cut Your Nails Regularly
Though each of us might have a different idea of what the ideal nail length is, it is important to get your nails cut or trimmed regularly. Long, unkempt nails are more prone to breakage and hangnails.
5. Don’t Bite Your Fingernails
On that note, you should also steer clear of biting your nails. Though our parents have tried to stop us from doing this nasty habit, biting your nails is still quite common and could be the reason for your weak, brittle nails. Nail biting can damage your nails and cuticles and could lead to hangnails, ingrown nails, and infection.
6. Don’t Use Nail Gels or Polishes with Harsh Chemicals
At Apsara Skin Care, we encourage everyone to go natural with their skin and hair care products because the harsh chemicals found in many over-the-counter products could be causing issues such as acne, early signs of aging, dandruff, and hair fall. The same is true for your nail polish. Many nail polishes on the market contain harsh chemicals such as phthalates and formaldehyde, which are not good for your overall health, let alone the health of your nails. Plus, the process of applying or removing certain nail polishes or acrylics could be reducing nail growth and weakening your nails, for example, if you are using acetone to remove nail polish.
You don’t have to stop painting your nails, but you should do your research to figure out which brands of nail polish are all-natural and non-toxic. And, if you do suspect that your nails have become weaker, more brittle, or discolored from frequent nail polish usage, give your nails a break so they have time to recover.
7. Eat Foods to Support Nails
A well-balanced diet accomplishes many things for your health, including getting stronger, healthier nails. Since your nails are made of a protein called keratin, eating more protein-rich foods, such as lentils and quinoa, can help strengthen your nails. Omega-3 fatty acids can nourish your nails and prevent cracking, and you will be able to find omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts and chia seeds. If you’re looking for better nail growth, you should consume more zinc, which you will be able to find in cashews and almonds. There are even more vitamins and minerals that we haven’t mentioned that are good for your nails, but it doesn’t have to be hard to get enough of them when you have a healthy diet.
8. Don’t Cut Your Cuticles
Getting your cuticles trimmed is common when you get a manicure, but that should not be recommended if you want strong, long, and healthy nails. Your cuticles help protect your nails against infection. Rather than cut your cuticles, make sure to moisturize them when you moisturize your hand and nails.
Related: DIY Homemade Hand Butter for Soft & Youthful Hands
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Go natural. It is good karma!