You may only take notice of your nails when it’s time to have them trimmed or, if you are the artsier and fashion-forward person, you’ll often see look at your nails as part of your daily hygiene and beauty requirements. However, your nails, like other parts of your body, have an important job to do. They are pretty good at it, too. The surface of your nails protects your fingers and toes. Nails also make scratching an itch a lot easier as well. And like all other parts of your body, you need to take care of your nails so they will remain healthy and strong.
Your nails are made of layers of a hard protective protein known as keratin. Fingernails and toenails grow from the root under the cuticle. New nail growths slide along the nail bed (the flat surface under the nails). They lie above the matrix, the part of the nail bed that contains nerves, lymph and blood vessels. It is the matrix that produces the cells that become the nail plate. It continues to grow as long as it remains in a healthy condition.
Your fingernail is one of the indicators of your overall health. Healthy nails are smooth and hard, pinkish, and free of any dents or grooves. Any changes in the condition and color of the nails may indicate an infection and other illnesses. Most of the time, discoloration of the nails is caused by fungal infection. Proper grooming and hygiene should be observed to ensure that your nails will grow as they should.
Your nails will continue to grow, hence, should be trimmed regularly. Note, however, that fungal infection can be transmitted any time you use a nail grooming tool that is infected. Making sure that everything that touches your nails is thoroughly clean and safe is a sure way to keep fungus at bay.
Fingernails usually grow about one-tenth of a millimeter every day. Toenails, on the other hand, grow about one-half or one-third the rate of the growth of your fingernails. Factors, such as aging and diseases may cause a decrease in the blood flow to the hands and feet that may lead to a slower nail growth.
If you notice that your nails are growing slower than they should and you’d like them to grow quicker, you may want to consider these home remedies and grooming techniques.
Home remedies to make your nails grow faster
There is no scientifically proven method to make your nails to grow faster. Taking good care of your body by providing it proper nutrition and following our recommendations will help your nails grow strong and long after a while.
1. Take biotin
Biotin (also known as vitamin B7) is a water-soluble type of B vitamin found in small amounts in eggs, milk, bananas, and other foods. It helps turn carbohydrates, fats, and protein from the foods that you eat into energy. Biotin is a highly recommended supplement taken to help boost the strength of the hair, nails, and skin.
Many health experts recommend taking a biotin supplement every day as it can help strengthen the nails and it is the Best Vitamins for Nail Growth. The recommended daily dosage is 30mcg of biotin for females who are aged 19 years old and above. Biotin is not stored in the body, hence it can easily be released from your system when you urinate. Here are foods that contain biotin:
- cooked eggs
- nuts and nut butter
- whole grains
- soy and other beans
- sweet potato
2. Use nail hardeners.
Soft nails make them prone to breaking, splitting, and cracking. These increases the need for your nail to regrow. To help prevent nails from breaking, experts would normally recommend using nail hardeners. They are a well-accepted nail treatment. When applied on the nails, the substance in the hardener bonds with the natural protein in the nails. These bonds make the nails harder.
Nail hardeners may contain calcium and nail conditioners that also help strengthening the nails and prevent them from breaking. However, they may also contain toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde that can be harmful to the nails. As such, experts recommend using nail hardeners sparingly as they can cause nails to become weaker and more prone to breakage.
3. Say, “NO,” to glue-on nails and unsafe nail coatings.
Artificial or glue-on nails, as well as some nail polish brands, can weaken natural nails, hence making them more prone to breaking. If you love to color your nails, make sure that you use nail polish alternatives that do not contain or have little harmful chemicals like the following:
- dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
- formaldehyde resin
Look for five-free or three-free or water-based formulations that indicate they’re free of toxic chemicals. Some popular brands include Zoya, Essie, Acquarella, Opi, and Suncoat.
4. Practice proper nail grooming.
Regular nail grooming can strengthening your nails. It also encourages growth and helps reduce breakage. To keep your nails healthy, develop proper nail care health habits, such as those mentioned below:
Keep your nails dry and clean. This will prevent bacteria and fungus from growing on and underneath them.
Make sure that you use sharp manicure scissors or clippers to trim your nails. Keep your nail grooming tools thoroughly clean and sanitized if needed.
Moisturize your hands and nails with a lotion regularly.
Avoid nail-biting (if you’re used to doing this) or cutting your nails too short.
Do not ignore any unusual changes in your nails.
Poor nutrition and hygiene can cause your nails to grow abnormally. You should pay attention to these nail growth issues and consult a nail expert if you experience these problems and changes on your nails:
- changes in color
- changes in the form or thickness of the nails
- nail separating from the surrounding skin
- swelling or pain around the nails
- slow-growing nails
Hormonal changes also play a vital role in the growth of your nails. Don’t be surprised to see your nails growing healthier and quicker if you are pregnant or are entering adolescence. That’s normal and you don’t have anything to worry about.
As pointed out at the beginning of this post, your nail condition reflects your overall health. It’s important that you stick to a proper diet and maintain good grooming habits to ensure that your nails will grow longer and stronger.