Tips and Tricks for Strong, Healthy Nails

Having nice nails isn’t completely left up to having good genetics. There are many natural remedies you can try if you want to build strong, healthy nails.

First, let’s start by understanding what nails are and what elements are used in creating them, and then we’ll cover what you can do to make them strong and healthy. Let’s get into it!

Understanding Nails

Your fingernails and toenails are made up of a substance called alpha-keratin. Alpha-keratin is a fibrous protein also found in the outer layer of skin and hair follicles. This protein creates the hard outer layer known as your nail.

Originally, our nails were used for picking things up and gripping tightly onto objects. However, we’ve evolved to use our nails as more of a fashion statement and a signature of good health. Well-trimmed and manicured nails give off the impression that you are looking after your health and wellness and take pride in your physical appearance.

Common Signs of Unhealthy Nails

While many of us try our best to maintain healthy nails, there are some telling signs that indicate our nails are in poor health. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of unhealthy nails are:

  • Bleeding around the nail.
  • Thinning or cracking of the nail.
  • A slowed growth rate of the nail.
  • Discoloration of the nail.
  • Changes in the overall nail shape and size.

Tips and Tricks for Strong, Healthy Nails

Properly Trim Your Nails

Keeping your nails properly trimmed helps keep them looking neat and tidy. On top of the enhanced physical appearance, trimming your nails helps to prevent deformities in shape and size as overgrown nails can take on a mind of their own and become quite uncomfortable.

Make sure to always use sharp nail clippers or nail trimming scissors that are disinfected regularly to avoid the build-up of bacteria, and to achieve a clean trimmed look.

Clean Your Nails Regularly

Life gets busy and sometimes you need to get your hands dirty. If you don’t clean out the dirt from underneath your nails, this can lead to a build-up of harmful bacteria leading to nail degeneration. You can utilize the pick tool attached to your nail clipper to clean under your nails.

Dirt isn’t the only culprit to look out for. Make sure you are properly cleaning your fingernails and toenails daily as sweat and other germs become trapped underneath your nails. Keeping them clean will once again avoid bacteria formation and also unwanted odors coming from your nails.

Moisturize Daily

A simple trick is whenever you are moisturizing your hands and feet, make sure to moisturize your fingernails, toenails, and cuticles as well. This will help ensure healthy skin surrounding your nails and it might even help prevent the dreaded hangnail from occurring.

When moisturizing, you can use any generic moisturizer. Ensure that you properly clean the skin first and then gently massage the cream into the skin surrounding each nail.

Regular Manicures and Pedicures

Receiving regular treatment on your hands and feet will almost guarantee healthier and stronger nails. A professional will provide you with hand and feet treatments to ensure the skin surrounding your nails, and the nails themselves stay healthy, clean, and disinfected.

More women than men tend to book in for these appointments, however, it’s important men utilize these services too. Especially if they’re wearing footwear and standing for most of their day. Proper care and hygiene are essential for feet, hand, and nail health.

Do Not Bite Your Nails

This is a bad habit many people take part in daily. Whether it’s from boredom or nerves, biting your nails is never a good idea.

Not only are you ingesting bacteria that are living under your fingernails, but you’re also creating hangnails because when you bite your nails, you inevitably tear off pieces of skin surrounding your nail. Do your best to kick this bad habit to the curb and watch your nails grow healthy and strong.

Get Blood Work Done

If you’re noticing that your nails are becoming brittle and thin, it’s best to go and get some blood work completed before you go out and purchase a heap of supplements and vitamins. Blood work will tell you exactly what you’re deficient in so that you can purchase the correct products to help create healthy and strong nails.

Often, a protein and iron deficiency will cause your nails to become thin and brittle but it’s always best to confirm this with the proper medical testing. And don’t forget to consult your doctor before taking new supplements.

The Takeaway

In closing, I find it’s best to take a holistic approach when looking after the health of your nails. Focusing on maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle will help you to continue building strong and healthy nails.

If you’re noticing signs of unhealthy nails as listed above, seek advice from your general practitioner so that they can recommend the proper tests and products to help you.

Eric Leckie, PT

Eric Leckie, PT

Eric Leckie is a men's health Physiotherapist specializing in prostate cancer treatment. He completed his studies in Australia earning his Doctor of Physiotherapy from the University of Melbourne. He currently works in a private practice, in addition to owning his own Telehealth Physiotherapy clinic which focuses on treating men with prostate cancer.

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