Your nails grow from the area under your cuticle (matrix), located at the base of the nail. As new cells grow, older cells become hard and compacted and are eventually pushed out toward your fingertips. Nails grow about 0.1 millimeter a day, which means that it takes a fingernail about four to six months to fully regenerate. Your fingernails are made out of keratin which is the same kind protein that your hair is made with, and just like your hair fingernails have to be taken care of otherwise they are easily damaged. Here are ten easy tips.
1. Try adding a glass of milk and a hard-boiled egg to your daily diet. Both are high in zinc, which is great for your nails, especially if your nails are spotted with white, a sign of low zinc intake. Calcium, iron and silica are other compounds that you need to check that you are getting enough of in your diet. These too make up the fabric of your delicate nails. Make sure that you are sticking to your daily allowance though, sometimes you can cause more harm than good by overdosing on these vitamins and minerals.
2. File your nails correctly. To keep your nails at their strongest, avoid filing in a back-and-forth motion — only go in one direction. And never file just after you’ve gotten out of a shower or bath — wet nails break more easily.
3. Massage your nails to keep them extra strong and shiny. Nail buffing increases blood supply to the nail, which stimulates the matrix of the nail to grow.
4. Try not to damage your nails by using them as tools to pry open objects, as any damage to your cuticles or nail bed can be a potential entry point for fungi and other harmful parasites. Nail biting should also be avoided at all costs as this can potentially damage your nails with constant wear and tear caused by biting of the nails.
5. Polish your nails, even if it’s just with a clear coat. If you prefer color, use a base coat, two thin coats of color, and a top coat. Color should last at least seven days but should be removed after 10 days. Going without polish is good so that moisturisers can penetrate the nail surface when applied.
6. Avoid polish removers with acetone or formaldehyde, they dry out nails. Use acetate-based removers instead.
7. Massage a cream containing Vitamin E into your hands and nails nightly before going to sleep. This will feed your nails overnight and help them grow strong.
8. Keep your nails short, square shaped and slightly rounded on top. Trim brittle nails after a bath or a 15-minute hand soak in massage oil. Then apply a good moisturiser especially formulated for the hands and nails.
9. Many dermatologists and nail technicians recommend wearing gloves when cleaning around the home or garden. Gloves provide a barrier that protects nail keratin from the weakening affects of water; collisions with hard surfaces; corrosive household chemicals; and more. Makes sense doesn’t it?
10. Rub your nails with a cut lemon to keep them extra strong, white and shiny. Drink eight to ten glasses of water every day this will help in keeping nails from drying out and peeling. Gelatine dietary supplements, available in a drinkable form, also helps in building nail strength.