Tips for Healthy Fingernails and Toenails

I like to keep my nails long. Not too long, because I don’t want to poke my daughter’s eye out, but I definitely don’t like the chewed-down look. I used to have problems with cracked nails that were constantly breaking off. In fact, they would break down so far I’d be in pain for a few days.

I learned to alter how I care for my nails and I have stronger and healthier nails as a result. If you are looking for longer nails, but can’t seem to grow them, you can opt for fakes. While these can look great, they also can burn a hole through your wallet. If you just can’t justify spending the time and money on fake nails, take heart; there are a few things you can do to get your natural nails longer and healthier.

Vitamins

I know there are a lot of products on the market that claim you can brush the product on your nails to promote nail growth and healthy nails. I personally cannot say whether these work or not. I do know that in order for vitamins to help your hair or you skin, they must be taken internally. I would guess the same would go for your nails.

Taking a multi-vitamin each day will not only help you get longer, healthier nails, it will boost your overall health and well-being. If you would like to try to apply a polish that boasts nail-enhancing vitamin content, there are plenty to choose from. I just can’t say they will help much.

Polish

Polish is great for helping you get longer, healthy nails. It’s not the polish itself that helps, though. When your nails are polished, you are less likely to bite them down. So if you can’t grow your nails simply because you bite them down too much, polish will at least help eliminate that problem.

For healthier nails, remember to give them a break from polish. Go polish-free for one day at least once or twice a week. Nails are made of dead cells, but they still need to breath. If you have polish on all the time, your nails will not be getting the oxygen they need.

Grooming

Take care when cutting and filing your nails. For fingernails, you should use an emery board to keep them filed down to a length you can live with. A harsh metal file is not recommended, as it may tear your nails. Use a gentle one-way motion when filing. Do not go back and forth like you are sawing away at the nail.

Don’t forget to care for your cuticles. This is the skin around your nail that sometimes grows over the nail. It is not a good idea to trim dry cuticle skin with scissors. Instead, soak your fingers and then gently push them back off your nail with a toothpick or other nail tool.

Ingrown Nails

When nails are cut too short, you run the risk of developing ingrown nails. If you’ve never had one, let me just say, “Ouch.” When trimming your fingernails, look first to see where your skin meets the nail. Quite often when your nails grow long, the skin underneath grows up under the nail. You don’t want to trim any lower than that.

When trimming toenails, you want to cut straight across. You can file the corners to a slight rounded-shape, but don’t try to make them into too much of an oval shape. It’s very easy to cut too far down and end up with a painful ingrown toenail.

When They Break

As hard as you try, and no matter how long and healthy your nails are, you are going to break one once in a while. You can try nail glue or other remedies to temporarily fix it, but that won’t last long.

You’ll have to trim the nail down slightly below where the break was and file it smooth. If the break has gone down into the sensitive part of your nail, file down some and let it grow out before you trim the broken section off completely to avoid pain.

Nail Fungus

Toenails are especially susceptible to nail fungus. If you notice your toenails are thick and discolored (usually yellow or brownish) you will need to get rid of the fungus. There are over-the-counter remedies and prescriptions you can try, or your podiatrist can help. There is no quick fix, because it takes a few months to get rid of it, and even then, it may never completely disappear.

Final Thoughts

You don’t have to pay for longer, healthier nails if you take the time to care for them. There are people who simply can’t grow healthy nails. This is in part to diet or heredity. Nails don’t have to be long to be beautiful as long as you care for them and keep them tidy.

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