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Post in Nailed It
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Healthy nails

Okay so when I went to nail salons, people would always tell me I have such healthy strong nails! Well now they kinda suck. There not strong and I feel like there getting thinner! Is this normal? And advice? And yes I will admit I have a bad habit of chewing my nails but I’m growing out of it so.. I’m confused?

Re: Healthy nails

@lCFKoalal 

As someone who struggled for years with weak, peeling nails, I have some nail care tidbits that helped me get nails that are much stronger and healthier! 🙂

 

 

1. Cuticle oil is your absolute best friend. My best nails started the moment I gave up on strengtheners and started using cuticle oil daily. You can buy premade or make your own; it doesn't have to be fancy or expensive. A base of jojoba oil is best, as that mimics our own natural sebum, and is the oil most easily absorbed by the nail plate (in fact, it's possibly the only one that the nail itself can absorb). Use it as often as you can remember; I have several scattered throughout the house to help me keep it up regularly. Well hydrated nails are flexible, and that flexibility helps reduce breakage.

 

2. Avoid water whenever possible. Nails are made up of 50+ layers of keratin, and when water gets in between those layers, it pushes them apart, making your nails weaker overall, and leading to peeling. I use gloves for washing dishes and other water-intensive activities. Some folks even shower with them (though I don't go quite that far). After washing your hands or otherwise getting them wet, apply oil and/or a cream/lotion if at all possible.

 

3. Keep them polished at all times. The layers of base coat, color, and topcoat all help provide a bit of thickness, reinforcement, and water resistance. Nails are dead material and do not "breathe", so taking a break isn't necessary. I normally slather on some oil between color changes and let it soak for an hour, maybe longer if I have time, but other than that, I've always got polish on (even if it's just base and top coat because I'm super short on time). 

 

4. Nails are "jewels, not tools"! Be mindful of what you do with them. I use a knuckle to open the microwave or cabinets now, I pull out the box cutter instead of trying to pick the tape off a package, I use the top of my tweezers to pop a soda tab up, and so on and so forth. It takes a little vigilance at first, but becomes second nature over time.

 

5. Tying back in to number 1 above, avoid strengtheners. Nails should be flexible enough to bend under stress, but many strengtheners can actually make your nails too brittle, where they snap and break instead of flexing. They can make sense for some people in some scenarios, but I avoid them altogether, and my nails are so much better without them.

 

I've still got two that are weaker than the rest; I assume that boils down to genetics and body chemistry (and perhaps my less than perfect diet); for those two, I use a base coat of gel polish under my regular polish to help give them a little reinforcement, and it helps pretty well. 

 

Nails take 4-6 months to grow out from the cuticle to the tip, so if you have any current damage, it'll take that long to grow out, but regular oil usage can help keep current peeling from spreading in the mean time!

 

Re: Healthy nails

Thank you so much for sharing. I screenshot this so I can remember it all. As I aged and as I have gotten sick, my nails have gotten thin, peel, and break all the time. I used to have long and thick nails. People always thought they were fake. Now I’m lucky if I can keep them above the quick. I’m hoping your tips will help. 

Re: Healthy nails

@RGbrown   Thanks for all the great advice! I will definitely be purchasing and making my own cuticle oil and following all your tips. Thanks so much!

Re: Healthy nails

@lCFKoalal 

Yay! I'm sure you'll notice a big difference soon! While it won't reverse any current damage, I noticed a huge difference in how resilient my nails were within just a week or so of regular cuticle oil usage. It's truly amazing!

Re: Healthy nails

A treasure trove of good info, @RGbrown - I have been wanting to ask about how to improve my nail health. My grandmother’s nails were so thin and fragile, this makes me suspect it was due to her constant baking! 

I saved this post. Getting my nails back into good health is a goal of mine for the end of the year.

Re: Healthy nails

@eshoe 

I was so truly amazed at how much cuticle oil helped me, and how quickly it helped me get a little strength/flexibility going in my nails. Sure, I still had to wait for all the peeling/damaged spots to grow out, but it helped keep that peeling from getting worse, and allowed me get to the point I'm at now, where I have to file my nails down because they get too long. I still have oopsie accidents and lose one from time to time, but I've even managed to minimize those by paying more attention to what I'm doing with my hands instead of grabbing for things blindly or using my nails for things I shouldn't. 

 

Good luck on your nail journey!! ❣️

Re: Healthy nails

This is very encouraging, @RGbrown! I have not actively done anything to my nails in awhile now because I just didn’t know what the problem was. I figured all of the hand washing might be to blame, or maybe my base coat, or the occasional gel peel-off nails I was using. I am going to dig around and look for something comparable, I might just have to use olive oil for the meantime. 

I have dish gloves, I just...rarely use them🤦🏻‍♀️ 

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