Everyone wants their nails to grow fast and strong. They add beauty to your hands. Plus, healthy nail growth reflects the state of your overall health.
Nails are made of the same protein, called keratin, as that of hair. Fingernails grow faster than toenails, although growth is still very slow. On average, fingernails grow about one-tenth of an inch each month.But sometimes they grow even slower.
Each of our nails is made up of six parts. The nail fold is the ridge of skin around the nail. The part we can see and normally call a fingernail (or toenail) is called the nail plate. Beneath the nail plate is the nail bed, which nourishes the nail. That half-moon-shaped area at the base of your nail is called the lunula, and it’s part of the nail matrix. The nail matrix is at the base of each nail, although you can’t see it — it’s below the cuticle, a fold of skin made of dead cells that keeps bacteria from getting in. The matrix makes the cells needed to grow your nails.
Nail Treatment: Make Nails Strong and Beautiful
Several factors contribute to slow nail growth. These include the aging process, hormonal changes in the body, health problems, chemotherapy, medications and nutritional deficiencies. On the other hand, faster nail growth can be seen among children prior to puberty and pregnant women.
Having shining and beautifully shaped nails at the tip of the fingers enhances the overall beauty of your hands and almost all of us strive to have healthy and long fingernails which can be styled in any way we want. But the beauty of the hands is often marred by weak and brittle nails that becomes chipped and cracked easily.
Brittle fingernails is a common problem that can affect both men and women and some of the common causes of weak and brittle toenails are aging, excessive use of nail enamels and nail polish removers, overexposure to water.
It is advised not to knuckle fingers and chew off nails. Some good tips you should know:
- Don’t bite your nails.
- Don’t apply acetone based nail paints.
- File your nails. Smoothing the rough edges of your nails using a file and keeping it well-rounded prevents chipping a peeling of the nails. But it is necessary to file only in one direction, because, filing back and forth can weaken the nails.
- Avoid polish removers that contain formaldehyde. They’re terribly drying to fingernails (or toenails). Use acetate-based removers instead.
- Say no to synthetic nails. Artificial nails are glued on top of your real ones, and the gap in-between creates a breeding ground for fungus. Even worse, this is an area where you can develop a painful bacterial infection. Fake nails are the most common cause of nail fungus in women.
- Wash your hands and clean nails after kneading or mixing edible stuffs with hands.
- If your feet are sweaty when you get home, change into a fresh pair of socks right away. And if you have an office job, take along a pair of clean socks’especially on hot summer days’so you can change before you start work.
- Use mild antifungal powder that absorbs moisture and prevents fungus.
- Use an inexpensive four-sided nail buffer to buff your nails. Buffing increases blood supply to the nail matrix, the tissues present underneath the nails that produce new fingernails. Buffing also smoothes the uneven edges and adds a natural shine without the use of chemical-laden polishes.
- Stop using nail colors. Extensive usage of nail colors damages nails to the fragility.
There are numerous diseases that can also cause brittle nails like fungal infections, psoriasis, eczema, anemia and lichen planus. Therefore, it is vital to take special care of nails just like we pamper our skin with the effective glowing skin home remedies. These home remedies, in combination with a few healthy lifestyle changes, can provide you naturally strong and healthy nails.
Foods Make Nails Grow Stronger / Faster
Home Remedies to Make Nails Strong
Taking care of your nails not only improves how your hands look, but also helps you stay hygienic and healthy. Here are home remedy nail tips to help:
To promote growth, it is essential to keep your nails well moisturized. Olive oil is the best when it comes to nail care. It penetrates deep into the skin and nails and thus helps nourish your nails. Plus, it contains vitamin E which improves circulation blood circulation, helps repair damaged nails and promotes nail strength and growth.
- Before going to bed, apply warm olive oil to your nails and cuticles and massage gently for 5 minutes. Wear cotton gloves overnight. Do this once daily.
- You can also soak your nails in warm olive oil for 15 to 30 minutes once daily to promote nail growth.
For whiter and clearer nails, lemon juice or already squeezed lemon is perfect.
- Prepare a nail soak with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Slightly heat the solution in the microwave and then soak your nails in it for 10 minutes. Follow this remedy daily.
- You can also rub a slice of lemon on your nails for 5 minutes, then rinse them with warm water. Pat dry and apply a moisturizer. Do this once daily. Avoid rubbing lemon on your nails if you have any cuts or hangnails, as it may sting.
Petroleum jelly also helps in gaining shiny nails. Just rub Vaseline or any other petroleum jelly on your nails after taking a bath or before going to bath, for nourishing them.
Coconut oil works well for healthy nail growth. It contains important nutrients to keep your nails moisturized and strong. It also strengthens your cuticles, which play a key role in nail growth. Plus, it helps cure hangnails, cuticle infections and fungal nails.
Additionally, don’t clip your cuticles. When you do this, you’re removing your nail’s protective barrier. Fungi and bacteria find it easier to get a grip around the base of the nail after the cuticle is removed.
- Massage your nails and hands with warm extra-virgin coconut oil daily at night, before going to bed. Massage in circular motions to improve blood circulation.
- You can also prepare a nail soak. Mix 1/4 cup of organic coconut oil, 1/4 cup of honey and 4 drops of rosemary essential oil. Warm the solution in the microwave for 20 seconds. Soak your nails in it for 15 minutes. Follow this remedy one or two times a week.
Butter sounds odd, but it is the best remedy. Use melted butter for getting natural shiny nails.
Lukewarm baby oil will also work great for your nails.
Sea salt soak
What better way to strengthen weak and brittle toenails and finger nails that with a soothing a relaxing soak made of sea salt and warm water? This healing soak not only softens the nail cuticles and adds a brilliant shine to the nails but is also the ideal solution to the question of how to get rid of dead skin cells from feet. The minerals present in sea salt have healing and rejuvenating properties which make it a common addition to baths. Take some warm water in a big container in which you can dip your toenails comfortably.
Avocado & rosewater
Avocado & rosewater are two great things that can be applied to get pink nails at home.
Apple cider vinegar soak
This is a useful and inexpensive brittle nails treatment that is readily available in the pantry. Apple cider vinegar is a widely used ingredient in DIY skin and hair care remedies, and it is undoubtedly the best natural way to treat dandruff and scalp itching. Organic apple cider vinegar is loaded with minerals like iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium along with vitamins – all of which are essential for developing stronger and thicker nails.
Either a thin slice of cucumber or juice of cucumber both works wonderfully for your nails.
Tea tree oil drops
The power antiseptic properties of tea tree oil makes it a popular natural medicine for a wide range of skin problems and the use of tea tree oil for ringworm in humans is well known. Tea tree oil also helps in treating brittle nails caused by fungal infections and it is one of the unsurpassed nail fungus home remedies that provide prompt results. It also helps in treating discolored nails. But tea tree oil should always be applied in diluted form, mixed with water or some other oil because it is strong in nature.
Applying cuticle oil can also help in getting shiny nails.
For nail care dip all your fingernails and toenails into lukewarm mustard oil as for 8-10 minutes. Then rub each of them slowly and gradually to ensure that circulation of blood is as usual. This really should be executed each day to help make all of your fingernails and toenails fit and strong.
Nail Care Preventive Measures
Gloves, ladies, gloves — get your mind to use! Whenever you’re cleaning with harsh chemicals, gardening, or doing anything that involves soaking or dirtying your hands, Dr. Prystowsky insists that wear rubber, vinyl, nitrile or plastic gloves, preferably with a cotton liner. Cleaning dishes in hot, soapy water sans gloves can weaken the nails, while getting them caked with dirt from gardening will require a level of cleaning that you want to avoid wherever possible. Similarly, now that the weather is getting chilly, remember to wear a pair of mittens or gloves so that the cold air and wind don’t undo the hard work you did moisturizing, leaving you with dry, flaky, scaly skin.
Your fingernails are made of a protein called keratin, so just as with the clarity of your skin or the shine of your hair, you can improve your nails by tweaking your diet. Falcone advises adding vitamins and supplements like biotin, Vitamin E, and fish oil to your daily regimen, while Dr. Palmer recommends protein-rich foods like beans, fish, and nuts. The one thing every expert agrees on: Once you hit on the combination that works for you, you’ll be rewarded with stronger, clearer nails.
Do not use polishes containing toxic chemicals like dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, and toluene, as these toxins can contribute to brittleness, splitting, and cracking.
Keep nails short
Long nails are beautiful, but if you’re someone who has struggled with snags or breakage, Dr. Shamban recommends that you keep your nails short — at least to start out with. A shorter style with a rounded edge tends to be easier to manage and looks neater, so you can focus on building strength without worrying about anything else. As long as each nail is uniform in shape and matches its nine neighbors, you won’t miss the added length.
Trim toenails regularly. Keeping them short will minimize the risk of trauma and injury.
Wear flip flops at the pool and in public showers. This reduces the risk of infections caused by a fungus that can get in your toenails.
Avoid “digging out” ingrown toenails, especially if they are infected and sore. If you are suffering from an ingrown toenail, see a dermatologist for treatment.
Wear shoes that fit properly. Also alternate which pair of shoes you wear each day.
If your nails change, swell, or cause pain, see your dermatologist because these can be signs of serious nail problems. If you have diabetes or poor circulation, it’s especially important to seek treatment for any nail problems. If you have questions or concerns about caring for your nails, see a dermatologist.
Diet / Daily Routine for Stronger Nails and Skin
Common Nail Disorders
Chloronychia aka “Greenies” (Pseudomonas Aeruginosa)
Consider a scenario of you being a nail expert. Your favorite clients walks into the salon. You are chatting while you remove her nail polish and she is telling you how she was gardening all weekend and now has a bunch of zucchini and she asks if you would like her to bring you some. You say “That would be great!” and look down at her nails……one of which is as green as the zucchini she was talking about! What in the world happened and how do you fix it?
What are Nail “Greenies”?
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common bacteria that can cause disease in plants and animals, including humans. It is found in soil, water, plant, pets, skin flora, and most man-made environments throughout the world. When it grows, it’s waste produces pigments that impart the green color of chloronychia (the technical term for green nails caused by p. aeruginosa bacterium).
Normally, nail plate and nail bed are not hospitable places for the bacteria, but if they have become compromised in some way, then the pseudomonas can find a home. It feeds off the dead tissue in the plate of the nail and this is what causes the separation of the nail and nail bed. Chloronychia can occur between the natural nail plate and the nail bed or between an artificial nail coating and the natural nail plate. Some people mistakenly categorize chloronychia as a mold, but in reality mold is not a human pathogen.
How Do You Get Chloronychia?
This bacterium flourishes in wet environments, such as Jacuzzis (where it can cause a rash), swimming pools (where it can cause swimmer’s ear), contact lens solution, sinks, and bath sponges. Because it thrives on moist surfaces, this bacterium is also found on and in medical equipment, including catheters, causing cross-infections in hospitals and clinics.
In a salon environment, the vast majority of infections that occur on nails with no signs of lifting are often caused by the nail tech, according to Doug Schoon. For example, if a client touches her nails to her face and the nail plates aren’t re-cleaned the chances of an infection go up tremendously. That’s why it’s important for both nail techs and clients to wash their hands before every service. Nail techs should also individually clean the nail plates just before applying product. If you get rid of surface moisture and oils (and the bacteria) before product is applied, it will be highly unlikely for your client to get infections. “They’re all over us,” explains Schoon. “We typically carry hundreds of species of bacteria on our skin at any time, depending on what we’re in contact with.” Improper application can lead to lifting, which can allow bacteria to get under the area where the product has separated.
“On rare occasions pseudomonas aeruginosa can cause serious infections, particularly of the eyes, so good sanitation and disinfection practices are important for more than just cosmetic reasons,” says Vicki Peters. “An untreated greenie can turn into a black/brown nail and can cause the client permanent [nail] damage.”
Treating Chloronychia under the Natural Nail: If the infection is under the natural nail it is usually a secondary infection and the client must be referred to a medical doctor who can treat the bacteria and clean up the nail.
Treating Chloronychia under Nail Enhancements: It is best to keep nails short and free from enhancements if a Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection is suspected. Instruct your clients to come to you if they experience lifting and not to attempt to take care of the problem themselves by gluing down the lifted area which will trap any bacteria present.
It is possible to work on a client with pseudomonas. According to Dr. Phoebe Rich, the infection is not easily transmitted from person to person in a salon. However, as a precaution, once you use a file on an infected nail, don’t use it on another nail. Wrap it in plastic wrap and toss it in the trash.
To help rid the nail plate of the infection, remove the enhancement, lightly buff the stain to open up the nail plate cells, and remove all moisture and some of the surface oils. Instruct the client to keep the plate clean and dry at all times, and wear gloves when having her hands in water or using household cleaning solutions.
“Pseudomonas will often spontaneously disappear when the underlying nail problem is cleared up. There are several home remedies that will treat pseudomonas very effectively. The simplest treatment is to use diluted white vinegar soaks (1 part vinegar to 2-4 parts water) for several weeks. You can store the solution in a dropper bottle and apply one drop under the nail twice a day. To remove the discoloration, the nails can be rinsed in a diluted bleach solution (1 part bleach to 4 parts water) once or twice, but not for prolonged periods. If these simple remedies fail, a doctor can prescribe antibiotics for resistant cases.” — Dr. Phoebe Rich
Ultimately, the nail but be cleaned, disinfected, and have any enhancements removed. But remember, you are a nail tech, not a doctor. If it looks like there is an infection present, do not risk trying to rectify the clients’ problem. In most cases, it is actually illegal for a tech to work on nails that appear to be infected. Instead, at this point, you must refer your guest to a medical doctor who can treat the bacteria and clean up the nail
What If Pseudomonas Infections are Not Treated?
All pseudomonas infections can make you very sick if they spread through the bloodstream. A serious infection can cause symptoms of high fever, chills, confusion, and shock. If the infection spreads to critical body organs, such as the lungs, the urinary tract, and kidneys, the results can be fatal. The infections are hard to treat because the bacteria can resist many types of antibiotics.