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How to grow strong and healthy nails

Posted on: July 30th, 2015 by Olena No Comments

If you always cut your nails short because you never manage to grow them, or if you hide your nail problems with a nail polish, or you just forgot the last time when your nails looked strong and healthy, this post is for you.

When I was in my early 20th I did have awful nails because of overusing nail polishes, I was lack of knowledge how to take care of my fingernails, etc. I left all the nail problems how they were, just hoping everything would pass by itself, but with time nail problems only got worse. Those were bad times… Nowadays things have changed, I’ve learnt how to have my nails healthy. And today I’m happy to share this knowledge with other people and explain how to treat the most common nail disorders, such as:

1. Flaking and peeling nails

2. Brittle nails

3. Damaged and bitten nails

1. Flaking and peeling nails

This is a very common problem every person faces once in a while. But as long as it is not health related (caused by a nail disease, a poor blood circulation or illness) it is very easily treated. The cause of peeling nails is lack of moisture. That’s why the best you can do is to apply a good moisturizer on the regular basis. Check here how to choose a moisturizing nail care product.

How to use a moisturizing nail care product:

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1) Even the best moisturizing nail product is not able to glue the flaking layer back to your nail plate. That’s why before you start using it, I would advise to cut all your nails short, so to get rid of all flaking free edges.

2) For the best results a moisturizing product has to be applied at least once daily (preferably at night before you go to bed). But if chemicals, such as hair treatment products, chlorine in the swimming pool or others have to be used in a normal day at work, apply a moisturizing nail care 2-3 times a day.

3) In a matter of days the lost moisture will be replenished and with time your nails won’t flake any more, as the moisture will bond all the layers of your nails together.

4) To keep the results apply a moisturizing product every other day or more frequently if needed.

To reinforce the moisturizing effect of a nail care product, it is important to make sure that your nails do not loose moisture on every day basis.

Here are the most common causes why it happens and how to solve a problem:

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Cause: detergents and chemicals incredibly dry out your nails, causing them to flake.
Solution: if you want to have healthy and strong nails do not ignore gloves while washing the dishes or when doing the house work. I personally prefer long rubber gloves for washing the dishes and latex gloves for housework, as they are thinner and more comfortable to work in. Put latex gloves just on top of your detergents under the sink, it will help you not to forget to use them.


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 Cause: a harsh nail polish remover, containing acetone.
 Solution: acetone strips the nails of natural moisture, that’s why a non-  acetone nail polish remover is a better choice. Look for ethyl acetate in  the ingredients list; it is gentler than acetone but still effective. Also,  conditioning ingredients like glycerine, lanolin, castor oil, panthenol and  others counteract the drying effect of the nail polish remover.



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Cause: a cuticle remover
Solution: any cuticle remover contains aggressive ingredients to break down the cuticles. That’s why if it is left for longer than 1-3 minutes on your nails it dries them out. Always follow the instructions and never leave a product for more than needed.



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Cause: overuse of nail polishes or false nails
Solution: choose any 2 days a week when you won’t wear any nail polish, because if you wear nail polishes for long periods of time, the nails usually tend to be drier. The same applies for overusing of false nails; once in a while give your nails a break.




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Cause: overzealous buffing and incorrect filing
Solution: very often women “saw” the nails instead of filing and buffing them in the right way, and such overzealous actions dry out the nails. The excessive friction causes heat, which dehydrates the nails, causing them to flake. That’s why it is best to file and buff in one direction only. File from the side to the centre and opposite side to centre. The shape of your cuticle is a guide. As for buffing, do it in the direction in which the nail grows – from the matrix to the free edge.
Also, if you still owe a metal file, throw it away, as it damages the nails. It is such a shame that metal files are still included in so many manicure sets. Invest in a good emery board. For natural nails 180, 220 or 240 grit are the best, the higher the grit the smoother the file and the better it is for damaged nails.



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Cause: no-fat or low fat diet
Solution: a moderate amount of fat is essential for the layers of the nails to be bond together. Do not go into extremes when following a diet.





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Cause: cold weather
Solution: protect your hands with gloves in winter and apply a nourishing cream 20 minutes before going out. It is very important to give your moisturizer time to be absorbed before you leave the house.





2. Brittle nails

Brittle nails usually break and crack very easily. But as long as brittle nails are not caused by anaemia or any other illness, it is very easily treated.

Causes of brittle nails and how to solve a problem:

1) Cause: the most common cause of brittle nails is overuse of nail strengtheners. Many women think that a nail strengthener makes their nails strong. That’s why even when the result is achieved they keep using a product, thinking it will maintain good looking appearance of their nails. But in the long run it results in brittle nails. Why? The thing is that the main purpose of any nail strengthener is to make your nails hard. And if you keep making your nails harder and harder, they become so much thick and inflexible that it causes them to break.
Solution: do not overuse nail strengtheners. As soon as you get the results, stop using a product.

2) Cause: another cause of brittle nails is loss of moisture. It frequently happens with age, especially if the lost moisture is never replenished with nail care products. (Check other causes of moisture loss in the section “Flaking and peeling nails” above).
Brittle nails


Think of it: when you touch a fresh leaf, it is very flexible in your hands as it is full of moisture, but when you touch a dry leaf, it cracks easily. The same is with our nails: they are flexible only when they are well moisturized, but as soon as the moisture is lost, the nails tend to break.



Solution: the lost moisture should be replaced by using a moisturizing nail care product on the regular basis. It will significantly improve flexibility of your nails. All the above advises for flaking nails also apply. Check here how to choose a good moisturizing nail care product.

3) Cause: if you follow a low fat diet, it may also influence the condition of your nails.
Solution: do not fall into extremes when following a diet. A moderate amount of fats is essential for the nails to be healthy and flexible.

3. Damaged and bitten nails

Damaged nails are thin, soft and sensitive to the touch, very easily peeled. Usually it is impossible to file them and they grow extremely slowly.

As long as your nails are not damaged as a result of illness or medication, the disorder can be treated, though keep in mind it takes time. Your nails were not damaged in a day, so they won’t recover in a day either.


1) The most common cause of damaged nails is the overuse of false nails and poor techniques of the application or removal of nail extensions.

2) Incorrect or overzealous buffing weakens the nails, making them too thin and in some cases even sensitive.

3) Another cause of damaged nails is nail biting. It breaks my heart every time I see a person ripping a tip of a nail or biting a nail instead of cutting or filing it. It makes the nail look ragged and in some cases the fingertip becomes even sore.


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1) Take your time to choose a good nail technician and once in a while give your nails a break to recover from false nails or gel applications.

2) Use a nail strengthener, containing protein (keratin), to improve the condition of your nails. Stop using the treatment when your nails are not soft and thin any more. Some nail strengtheners, which contain conditioning ingredients, may also promote nail growth.

3) Check how to buff correctly the nails in the section “Flaking and peeling nails”.

4) Try not to immerse your nails in water for a long time, as it softens the nails and also may dehydrate them. Replace the lost moisture.  Apply a nail balm before bed time. It will promote healthy growth of your nails.

5) If you suffer from nail biting, start making manicure on the regular basis. I believe if every week you spend some time and efforts making your nails look nice, or even pay money for a professional manicure, next time you may think twice before ripping the nails with your teeth. Remember, everything is in your mind, just try hard enough to get rid of this habit once and forever. It will incredibly change the appearance of your nails for better.

P.S. If you decide to grow healthy nails, be consistent in your nail care. It is not only about getting the results, it is also about maintaining them. Make the list of things you need to do to have strong nails and implement new habits in your life. Why not to start with a moisturizing nail product on your bed-side table? ;)

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