Your hands do a lot of hard work, but they are also one of your greatest beauty assets. Beautifully manicured fingernails add drama and an artistic element to your hands, and are a great vehicle for self-expression. However, dry brittle nails that break and snag can be unsightly and a nuisance.
Weak dry nails can be the result of too much product application and excessive exposure to water. They can also be caused by poor diet and negative lifestyle habits. Just like your hair and skin, your fingernails can reveal a lot about your health. They can even signal the onset of serious diseases like hepatitis, jaundice, lupus or heart disease. The good news is that your fingernails are highly responsive to healthy lifestyle interventions and the proactive use of nail strengthening products. With a little patience, you can restore your nails to their natural strength and beauty.
Nutrition and Nail Health
Your fingernails and bones are rigid structures that rely on continual nutritional support for optimal health. Since your nails are mainly made of protein, getting adequate dietary protein is critical for strong healthy nails. Animal sources of protein like meat, eggs and dairy will give you all the amino acids you need to form the building blocks for strong nails. When well combined, plant sources of protein will also do the trick. Biotine, a B-vitamin found in legumes, is an important nutrient for nail health. Calcium and magnesium are minerals that promote strong bones and nails. There are many nutritional supplements on the market that provide essential micronutrients to support nail health. Staying well hydrated by drinking plenty of water will help prevent nail dryness.
Stress and Weak Nails
Symptoms of lifestyle related stress often show up in your hair and nails, making them weak, dry and brittle. Stress may cause you to fidget with your fingers or bite your nails and cuticles, creating ridges and weak spots. Chronic inflammation due to stress can cause nails to be dry and weak. Reducing and managing stress are critical to your overall health, including nail health. Deep breathing, meditating, doing yoga, spending time in nature and listening to soothing music are all stress management strategies that work. Getting adequate sleep reduces circulating stress hormones and helps you cope with daily challenges. Taking time out for personal self-care will reduce stress and make you more aware of negative habits that harm your nails.
The Perils of Water Exposure
One of the most common causes of brittle nails is excessive exposure to water. Nurses, bartenders, swimmers, kitchen workers, homemakers and other professionals who frequently submerge their hands in water are particularly vulnerable to splitting and broken nails. Protecting your hands from water is one of the most proactive measures you can take to improve your nail health. Apply a cuticle treatment throughout the day like Duri’s French Herbs Cuticle Oil or Duri’s Herbatherapy to restore moisture to your cuticles and nail bed after water exposure.
Avoid bathing in extremely hot water and use natural detergent-free soap to reduce moisture loss. Moisturize your skin and nails immediately after bathing. Wear protective gloves when doing work like gardening, washing dishes, or any chores or activities where your hands will be submerged in water for extended periods of time. Avoid using your nails as tools to open packaging, remove staples or perform other tasks that might damage them.
Care and Interventions for Strong Nails
If you love to accent your nails with color and rarely go natural, there are many things you can do to reduce damage that leads to weak nails and breakage. Since your nails grow from beneath your cuticles, using a good cuticle treatment daily, like Duri’s Herbatherapy, can help ensure that new nail tissue gets adequate moisture and nutrients. Herbatherapy is an extremely effective organic remedy that safely softens damaged cuticles and revitalizes the living part of the nail plate to promote healthy nail growth and appearance. You may also like Duri’s French Herbs Cuticle Oil, a blend of natural extracts and oils enriched with vitamins and micro elements to help soften your damaged dry cuticles while nourishing and moisturizing your nail plate for new strong nails.
Some salon practices can also weaken and dry your nails. Make sure your salon uses sterilized tools to avoid fungal infections. Pushing back your cuticles can cause ridges and make nails vulnerable to infection, and sanding nails before polish application can make them thin and weak. To strengthen nails during your salon visit, ask your manicurist to use Duri’s Rejuvacote 2. It is formaldehyde, toluene and DBP free, and contains keratin and calcium to mend split, weak, brittle, peeling and cracked nails. Use it as a base coat beneath polish and then again as a top coat. You can also use Rejuvacote 2 by itself, without polish, to keep your nails looking great while they heal and grow stronger.