As temperatures drop and the air begins to lose humidity during the cooler months, you may notice your hands and nails becoming drier and more brittle. Sure, you may have developed great daily skin care routines, but it’s also important to take as much care of your nails as every other part of your body, from your lips down to your toes.
Why You Have Brittle Nails Right Now
Beyond the factors that comes with winter, there are a number of reasons why your nails might be breaking easily. These are some of the causes of unhealthy nails:
- Chemotherapy medications
- Fungal infections
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Celiac disease
- Heart, liver, lung, or kidney problems
- Biting your nails
- Too much hand sanitizer
- Too little moisturizer
- Leaving polish on for too long
- Acetone use
How to Grow Strong, Healthy Nails
If you want to keep your nails healthy so they can grow, follow these 5 dermatologist-tested tips:
1. Stop Biting Your Nails
We get it, times are stressful. You may not even realize you are doing it, but biting and picking your nails is not just a bad habit, it’s bad news for your nails and cuticles. While you can’t expect to quit overnight, try these techniques to stop biting your nails for good.
Get a Manicure
You are less likely to bite beautifully painted, trimmed nails.
Find a Healthier Habit
Get a fidget toy or stress ball to keep your hands busy.
Figure out what makes you bite, and stop it before you bite again.
Use that Nasty Tasting Polish
You can buy it online or at the drug store. It tastes terrible, but might do the trick.
Take a Gradual Approach
Try quitting nail by nail. Stop biting one, then the next, and the next until you no longer need to.
2. Stay Away from Harsh Chemicals and Cleaners
The more you expose your hands to solvents, harsh soaps, and cleaning products, the more damage you create. By removing the natural oils from your nails, they can begin to fray or split. Wear gloves when you can.
3. Eat Right for Healthy Nails
Having a nutrient-rich and balanced diet is another way to take care of your nails. These nutrients do wonders for healthy nails: Vitamins A and C, Zinc, Folate, Cysteine, and Biotin. Take a supplement if you need to.
4. Reconsider Your Mani/Pedis
Whether you have an allergy to the many chemicals in polish—like tosylamide or formaldehyde resin—or your gel manicures are causing peeling and cracking, that beauty ritual might be doing more harm than good. For one thing, repeat use of UV radiation to dry your nails has damaging long-term effects. For a smarter alternative, find a non-toxic polish or lacquer. They may advertise themselves as 5-, 7-, 9-, or even 13-free.
5. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
Regularly apply oils that will lock moisture in. Avocado, jojoba, and castor oils, or products that contain them, are good choices. Shea butter is another go-to for keeping your nails and cuticles hydrated.
If you think your nails are unhealthy due to an underlying medical condition or you want to discuss your concerns with a board-certified dermatologist, Request a Consultation with The Derm Group online or call us at (973) 571-2121.