Your cycle Lifestyle Hygiene and beauty Fact Checked Flo Fact-Checking Standards Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles. How to Strengthen Nails: 7 Proven Remedies Olga Adereyko, MD — Primary Care Physician, General Practitioner, Medical Consultant at Flo Your nails help you perform basic functions every day. But sometimes they can feel weak or even brittle. If you’ve ever wondered how to strengthen your nails, then read on. Why nails may become weak Nails can be in poor condition as a result of many diseases, poor nutrition, and malabsorption of nutrients. By identifying and treating the underlying cause, you can help your nails become strong again. First, let’s look at some other things that can make your nails brittle. Two of the biggest causes of weak nails come from the same source: moisture. There are two primary ways your nails can be weak: Dry and brittle nails can be caused by too little moisture. Any place with very low humidity, like the dry and arid climate of the desert, can damage your nails. Dry nails can also be caused by excessively washing and drying your hands. Soft and brittle nails come from too much moisture. Repeated or prolonged contact with water can contribute to split fingernails. Do you use a lot of nail polish remover or expose your bare hands to a lot of cleaning detergents? When your nails are regularly exposed to these chemicals, it can affect their structure and weaken them. Now that you know a few of the things that can weaken nails, we’ll explain how to strengthen your nails. How to make your nails stronger If you use a lot of cleaning chemicals with your bare hands, these chemicals are likely weakening your nails. Wearing gloves when you use strong detergents and cleaners can help. Here are some other tips you can try. 1. Moisturize If your nails are dry and brittle, you can try using a moisturizer to make your nails stronger. The best part of moisturizing your nails is that your regular hand cream can do the trick. Just use it as often as you need. Massage the cream over your hands, and use your thumb or fingers to massage the cream into your nails and cuticles as well. You can also use one or more of these ingredients to make your own moisturizer at home. Coconut oil Argan oil Vitamin E oil Castor oilMoisturizing helps your nails in two ways. Firstly, moisturizer sinks into the nails and cuticles to provide protection and moisture. Secondly, massaging the oils into your nails improves your blood circulation, which can help supply nutrients and more moisture to your nails from the inside out. 2. Stay hydrated If your nails are dry, they’re telling you that they need moisture. Dry nails act a lot like dry skin: they often flake off and sometimes break very close to the nail bed, which can be painful.A simple tip to make your nails stronger is to drink more water. Staying hydrated helps your body provide water and important fluids to all parts of your body, including your extremities. Drinking water is also a way to grow your nails fast. If your body is dehydrated, your nails won’t get enough nutrients from your body and won’t grow very fast, if at all. 3. Take supplements Sometimes your body doesn’t have the right amount of vitamins and minerals to maintain healthy nails. You can support your body by taking supplements. Whether it’s your lifestyle, living environment, or diet causing the deficiency, you can try to give your body the minerals it needs by taking daily supplements, like the following: Zinc — Nail growth happens quickly, so healthy cell division makes for healthy nails. If your body is lacking zinc, it may show up by forming indentations that run across the nails, known as Beau’s lines. Taking zinc may help your nails’ cell division, smoothing out your nails. Vitamin C — Vitamin C affects your skin, bones, and connective tissues. Taking vitamin C supplements may give your nails a boost and help you produce strong, healthy nails. Folic acid — Folic acid promotes cell growth by encouraging new cell generation and tissue growth. Iron — Spoon-shaped, curved nails can be a sign of iron deficiency anemia. If your nails are curved, thin, or ridged, then you may need more iron. Cysteine — Cysteine is an amino acid that boosts collagen and acts as an antioxidant.Only take supplements as advised by your doctor. Your doctor can check if the supplements might interfere with any medication you’re taking. Stick to the dosage guidelines. 4. Choose the right nail products Certain nail products contain chemicals that can actually weaken your nails over time. If you want to make your nails stronger, make sure to check the ingredients in your nail polishes. The five main ingredients to look out for and avoid are: DBP Toluene Formaldehyde Formaldehyde resin CamphorMany nail polishes have tiny labels, and they may not have an ingredients list. You might be able to find the full ingredients list on the brand’s website. Another nail treatment to avoid is gel or acrylic nails. The UV exposure required for these nail treatments may weaken and age the skin around the nails. As a result, artificial nails can leave your nails thin, brittle, and parched. You may want to stop these treatments to help your nails grow faster. 5. Use non-acetone nail polish removers Acetone is a chemical that’s quick and effective at stripping nail polish off your nails. It can be a bit too effective, however, and cause damage to your nails. Many nail polish removers will say on the label whether they have acetone or non-acetone formulas. Opt for non-acetone nail polish removers. 6. Keep your nails shorter If you’re noticing that your nails are breaking off at a certain length, they may be too long. Try to keep your nails shorter while practicing other tips to encourage strong and healthy nail growth. Once your nails become stronger and healthier, you may be able to grow them back out again. Some nails are healthier when they’re shorter, so listen to your body and grow them to a comfortable length. 7. Rethink your diet What you eat also influences the strength of your nails. Your body may be lacking in some essential nutrients. Eat a varied diet that includes nutrient-rich foods like the following: Salmon Eggs Oats Beans Walnuts Sweet potatoesWhen you eat a diet rich in vitamins and minerals, you support your nails and your whole body. A vitamin-rich diet can help support the normal function of your body. The takeaway If you’re noticing that they are brittle, weak, or not growing, you might try these tips to strengthen your nails.Look at the daily treatment of your nails. Are they too soft or too dry? Check the ingredients list on your nail polishes and removers for acetone. Try the tips above to find what works for you and make a nail-care schedule for maximum support. If you have any concerns, visit a doctor to rule out any possible underlying conditions that may be causing brittle nails. Updated on December 23, 2019 References https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Biotin-HealthProfessional/ https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/about.html https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17763607 https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/nails/art-20044954 https://www.aad.org/nail-care-secrets/reduce-artificial-nail-damage Read this next Your cycle Why Do Periods Change Dates? 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