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How to Strengthen Your Nails

Chandramita Bora
Proper nail care can not only help strengthen your nails, but can also keep several nail problems or diseases at bay. Find out some tips on nail care that can help make your brittle nails strong and healthy.
Weak and brittle nails can be a sign of some underlying health problems, or it can result from the lack of proper nail care. Like hair, the condition of nails also reflect our health and overall well-being. So, nutritional deficiencies, as well as nail infections are some common conditions that can take a toll on your finger and toenails.
Even factors like an overexposure to water, cleaning dishes everyday, as well as using the hands to wash clothes can also weaken your nails, and make them brittle and dry.

Caring for Weak and Brittle Nails

It is possible to strengthen the brittle toe and fingernails with proper nail care, and a balanced diet. The nutrients that are considered very important for the health of the nails are, proteins, biotin, calcium, and sulfur.
So, include foods that are rich in proteins, along with sulfur- and calcium-rich foods in your diet. Apart from following a balanced diet, consider the following simple ways to strengthen your nails:
  • An overexposure to water can make your nails dry, and more prone to breakage. Activities like cleaning dishes and clothes can also expose the nails to harsh chemicals, which can make them weak.
So, be sure to protect your fingernails from water and chemicals by wearing gloves while doing such activities.
  • A nail strengthener or hardener can also be employed for treating weak and brittle nails. Ideally, a nail strengthener is used once in a week. You can also use it as a base coat before applying a nail polish.
  • Avoid the habit of biting your nails, and stop abusing your nails, i.e., using them for picking at things or peeling off stickers. All such activities can weaken the nails, and make them prone to breakage.
  • Try to keep your nails trimmed at regular intervals. Keep them a bit short, but not too low on the sides. This can help give them a neat look and prevent breakage.
  • You can trim your nails after taking a bath or shower, when they are soft, and so, can be trimmed easily. After trimming, shape the nails with an emery board, and file them by using the fine side.
  • Moisturize your nails by using petroleum jelly. It can be used several times a day to moisturize your nails and the skin around them. You can also apply petroleum jelly on the nails, and then cover your hands with gloves before going to bed.
  • Apply some olive oil on your nails with a brush, and keep it for about 15 to 20 minutes. Now, apply a moisturizer on your hands and nails.
  • A mixture of honey and lemon juice is also good for brittle nail treatment. Use this mixture to massage your nails in order to make them strong and resilient.
  • Avoid the frequent use of nail polish remover. If possible, use a remover that does not contain acetone. A remover with a moisturizer added to it, can help strengthen the nails.
  • To paint your nails, use a product without formaldehyde, as it can weaken your nails and make them prone to breakage. Similarly, products with chemicals, like toluene and sulfonamide should also be avoided.
If the condition of your nails does not improve even after following a healthy diet and a proper nail care regimen, then consider to visit a dermatologist. A visit to a dermatologist is more important if you observe yellowing or thickening of the nails, or suspect nail infections, nail fungus, or other types of nail disorders.