Did you know one of the main factors in maintaining healthy nails is moisture? This may not sound like rocket science, and it may possibly be obvious to many, but It never really crossed my mind.
Although my nails can grow fast, long, and are very strong, I had very dry nails. And when I say had, I'm only talking about a week ago. I started researching the problems I had with my nails. 1) Some of my nails would curve and 2) Several of my nails were (minor) peeling.
So with a little research, I realized my nails need moisture. So, I started applying unrefined shea butter to my hands and nails and night and then going to bed, letting my nails absorb the moisture. I've had this problem with my nails for a couple of years now (curving and peeling) and within a week, my nails have minimal, if any curving and minimal, if any peeling. I was staring at my nails the other day in confusion. None of my nails were curving. They looked the beautiful way they look after I've taken a long shower. Then I quickly realized that what I've been doing has been working.
How to recognize if your nails lack moisture:
1) Your nails break easily/they seem brittle.
2) "Splitting"or "Peeling" of the nail - separation and breaking of the protein layers due to depletion of natural oils and moisture content.
3) Your nails look dull and dry
4) Your nails curve inward at long/medium lengths
There are many reasons why your nails can be dry. If you use an acetone nail polish remover, although it takes your nail polish off faster than any other remover, it can dry out your nails. If you do a lot of housecleaning, wash your hands often and expose your hands to lots of chemicals, it can be damaging to your nails. If you do none of these things, and your nails are brittle, it could be a vitamin deficiency.
Nails are made up of keratin, a protein, which is produced by the skin cells too. As proper nutrition is an important part of skin care, nails too need adequate nutrition for its healthy growth. Vitamin deficiency can lead to brittle nails, along with many other conditions. A deficiency of the following vitamins, like, vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin D, may result in brittle nails.
- Vitamin A deficiency can adversely affect the health of the nails, as this vitamin aids the body to process proteins. As protein is one of the main constituents of nails, a deficiency of vitamin A affects the nails and makes it brittle and dry. It is also said that retinoid (a derivative of vitamin A) deficiency may also cause brittle nails.
- B vitamins are also essential for the nails, especially biotin or vitamin B7 and vitamin B12. B vitamins strengthen the nails and prevent dryness of nails, darkening and the occurrence of curved ends.
- Vitamin C deficiency can lead to hangnails, swelling of nail tissues and brittle nails. These conditions may be painful and cause infections too.
- Vitamin D and calcium are also needed for healthy and strong nails. Vitamin D deficiency affects the absorption of calcium ion in the body, which in turn results in brittle nails.
Start out by making a goal for yourself to take in more vitamins a day. Try drinking a full glass of juice a day that contains all of the major vitamins. If you would like to limit your sugar intake, there are lower calorie/sugar options available. If you don't care for juice, try out Vitamin water! It contains most, if not all of the same vitamins as juice. There are also low calorie options available. If you want to ditch both, take a daily multi-vitamin (if you are not eating a well balanced diet).
As always, drink lots of water. This goes not only for your nails, but your overall health.
If your hands are dry, most likely your nails are too. Apply a moisturizing lotion to your hands a few times a day. If you're too busy throughout the day, apply lotion to your hands in the morning and at night - as a part of your skincare routine.
Moisturizing Treatments for your nails:
There are so many different treatments you can use, and they will all be effective. Try using a heavier, emollient cream at night on your hands and nails. Make sure to rub the cream with small circular motions on your nails. A favorite of many is Petroleum jelly, Aquaphor (jar), Pure Cocoa Butter, Unrefined Shea Butter, etc. After you have applied the cream to your nails, go to sleep and let your nails absorb the moisture. If you'd like, you can wear thin, cotton gloves so it won't rub off on your bed sheets.
Pour a little olive oil into two small (or one medium) sized bowl and let your nails rest in the oil for 10 minutes. Then, rinse. (You aren't only limited to olive oil!)
Continue moisturizing your nails as much needed. You can see improvements in as little as a few days to a week.
The most important thing to remember is to ALWAYS replenish the moisture in your nails once you have removed moisture.
For other nail tips, check out my Nail Routine post here!