How to quickly strengthen and grow nails

Strong, smooth, shiny nails are an indicator of overall health. But sometimes they lose strength. Most often this happens for one of the following reasons.

  • Lack of nutrients. You may not be getting the vitamins and minerals you need from your diet.
  • Contact with aggressive chemicals. It could be poor quality paint. Or too frequent use of nail polish removers containing acetone. Or the habit of washing dishes without gloves.
  • Nervous strain and stress.
  • Some diseases.

We will not touch on the last point. Lifehacker has already written about what health problems chronic changes in the color, shape and texture of nails can signal. Let’s hope this isn’t your case.

Let’s analyze simpler options, when the nails seem to have become brittle, burrs appear on them every now and then, and indeed: I want to grow the length already, but it doesn’t work out. There are two ways to restore strength to the nail plates – from the outside and from the inside.

How to strengthen nails from the inside

The authoritative medical resource Healthline has listed the main vitamins and minerals that make nails stronger and healthier. Make sure they are included in your daily diet.

1. Biotin

The elasticity and strength of not only nails, but also hair and skin depend on this vitamin of group B (B7). For biotin to do its job effectively, the WHO recommends eating around 30 micrograms per day. But more may be required.

In one small study , volunteers complaining of brittle nails were treated to a daily supplement containing 2.5 mg of biotin. After a few weeks, two-thirds of the participants (63%) reported that their nails were significantly stronger. This is not the only such study with similar results, so biotin can be trusted.

Where to get it

Here are a few foods that are rich in biotin:

  • offal, especially liver;
  • egg yolk (boiled);
  • fermented milk products – yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream;
  • salmon;
  • almond.

You can also take pharmaceutical supplements with biotin. Just be sure to consult a therapist: he will help you choose the most effective concentration of B7.

2. Other B vitamins

In this case, we are talking about folic acid (B9) and vitamin B12. They play a crucial role in the production of erythrocytes – red blood cells that deliver oxygen to all organs and tissues, including the nail plates. Sufficient oxygen is necessary for nails to grow at a normal rate and be strong.

Where to get it

The best natural sources of folic acid:

  • leafy greens, especially spinach;
  • strawberries, black currants, citrus fruits – oranges, lemons, grapefruits;
  • legumes – peas, beans, lentils;
  • nuts – almonds, forest, walnuts, cashews;
  • seafood – oysters, clams, mussels;
  • avocado.

The best natural sources of vitamin B12:

  • liver, especially beef;
  • oily fish – salmon, trout;
  • beef;
  • chicken eggs.

Just like biotin, these vitamins can be found in pharmacy supplements. But there is an important nuance here. If the benefits of biotin supplements for nail health are scientifically proven, then supplements with other vitamins and trace elements are not so studied. So spending money on buying them is probably not worth it. A healthy diet rich in nutrients is enough.

3. Iron

This trace element is critical for the production of hemoglobin , a blood protein that is responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to tissues, including nails. If you don’t have enough iron in your diet, your body won’t be able to produce enough hemoglobin. With obvious consequences for nails (and not only).

Where to get it

Here is a list of foods that are especially rich in iron:

  • meat and fish;
  • liver and other offal – kidneys, hearts, cow’s udder;
  • spinach, kale and other green leafy vegetables;
  • broccoli;
  • beans and lentils;
  • chicken eggs;
  • nuts and seeds;
  • dried fruits.

Pharmacy supplements with iron are also kept in mind. But remember to consult with a therapist.

4. Magnesium

Participates in more than 300 biochemical reactions, on which the state of the organism as a whole depends. Including protein synthesis critical for nail growth.

Magnesium is available and can easily be included in the diet. Despite this, for example, in the US, the recommended daily dose of magnesium (400–420 mg per day for men and 310–320 mg for women) is received by less than 60% of the population.

Where to get it

Magnesium is abundant in the following foods:

  • whole grain breads and cereals;
  • spinach, kale and other green leafy vegetables;
  • nuts – almonds, cashews, peanuts;
  • quinoa .

5. Omega-3 fatty acids

It is known that their deficiency can lead to dryness and brittle nails.

Where to get it

Omega-3 fatty acids are rich in:

  • fatty fish – salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna, sardine;
  • walnuts;
  • eggs;
  • chia seeds;
  • linseed oil.

6. Vitamin C

Necessary for the production of collagen, a protein that provides elasticity and strength to all body tissues. And nails as well.

It has been established that vitamin C deficiency leads to brittle nails and slower growth.

Where to get it

Foods richest in vitamin C:

  • kiwi;
  • citrus fruits – oranges, tangerines;
  • Strawberry;
  • black currant;
  • sweet red pepper;
  • green vegetables – cabbage, spinach, cucumbers;
  • greens – parsley and dill;
  • tomatoes.

7. Zinc

Nail growth is provided by cell division. And zinc is one of the key elements that are necessary for this division. In order for nails to grow at a normal rate and at the same time be strong and healthy, the body needs a supply of zinc.

Where to get it

Sources of zinc are:

  • animal proteins – meat (especially beef), poultry, fish, eggs;
  • legumes – soybeans, chickpeas, black beans;
  • nuts – in particular, almonds and cashews.

How to strengthen nails from the outside

Plates can also become brittle due to lack of moisture . The causes of dryness are various: low air humidity, contact with aggressive chemicals, such as the habit of washing dishes with detergent without gloves.

Accordingly, in order to restore the fortress to the nails, it is necessary to take care of their moisture content. There are many ways to do this, we list the most common.

How to strengthen nails at home

1. Use oil baths

Any base oil is suitable – olive, coconut, jojoba, wheat germ, castor. Heat it in a water bath to body temperature and dip your fingertips into the oil for 5-10 minutes. Then take it out and blot with a tissue. Not dry: let some oil remain on cuticles and nails. Repeat every day for one and a half to two weeks. Such courses should be held every 2-3 months.

You can add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil to the base oil, for example, lemon, lavender, ylang-ylang, rosemary, tea tree oil.

2. Do an oil massage

Massage of the area in the lower part of the nails, where the nail matrix is located, improves its blood supply. So, it increases the chances that the future nail will grow strong and healthy. Massage can be combined with oil baths (rub your nails after blotting them with a napkin) or done as an independent element of care (drip a little of your favorite base oil on the cuticle and rub it until it is absorbed).

Repeat the massage for 1-2 minutes for each nail. For the effect, it is enough to perform it once a day or two.

3. Rub beeswax on your nails

Wax polishes the nail plate and creates a thin film on it, which does not allow moisture to evaporate. Rub softened wax into your nails (or cuticles and regrown part if you wear varnish) every evening for a week and a half to two weeks.

How to strengthen nails with store products

In supermarkets and pharmacies, you can find many products that promise to strengthen nails. Most of them solve exactly the same problem as the home methods listed above: they moisturize the nail plate and cuticles.

Such funds are usually sold in two forms.

  • Moisturizing oil (mask) for nails and cuticles. The oil can be used even if you wear varnish or gel polish: just treat the cuticles and overgrown areas of the nail with it.
  • Hard coating for nails. In addition to moisturizing, these varnish-like products also mechanically strengthen the nail, creating a dense layer for it on the outside. Hard coatings can serve as an alternative to varnish.

The composition of strengthening agents often includes other elements. As a rule, this is:

  • Keratin. This protein is the main building block not only of nails, but also of hair. Even artificial keratin is able to fill small cracks in the body of the nail, making it more uniform and dense.
  • Glycerin and hyaluronic acid. These substances have the ability to attract water molecules, which means they increase the moisture level of the nail and cuticle.
  • Vitamins A, C, E. They will no longer help an overgrown nail. But to improve the work of the nail matrix – that is, to ensure the accelerated growth of stronger and healthier nails – may well be.

What to do to keep nails strong

Experts from the American research clinic Mayo Clinic give some tips on how to keep nails tight and healthy.

  • Get less in the water. An excess of moisture is just as dangerous as its lack: prolonged contact with water can lead to splitting and brittle nails.
  • Use gloves when doing household chores. This is necessary to protect the nails from the harmful effects of detergents.
  • Get rid of the habit of biting your nails or tearing off hangnails. In this way, you can introduce an infection, including into the nail matrix. Because of this, the nails will grow thinner and weaker.
  • Use a moisturizing hand cream daily. Rub it on your nails and cuticles as well.
  • Do not abuse manicure, even professional. One study found that color changers were more likely to suffer from dry and brittle nails.
  • Avoid acetone-based nail polish removers.

And remember. If your nails remain brittle despite your best efforts, or if they change color, shape, or texture, you should see a dermatologist. Perhaps we are talking about a lack of important substances in your body or some other serious malfunction.

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