Whether you’re one to stay ahead of the latest nail trends or simple need a way to battle brittle and breaking nails, healthy nails are always at the top of our beauty wish list.
Luckily, strong, durable and fast-growing nails don’t require any wishing at all. Here, we uncover the secret to healthy nails starting with the basics of nail health and maintenance and a simple routine to help you have your best nails.
The basics of healthy nails
Healthy nails are a good indicator of your overall wellbeing. A healthy nail will be durable, smooth and even in colour, free from any ridges, spots of white, brown or yellow discolouration and disruption at the cuticle. When your body is off-balance or not getting the nutrition, blood circulation or hydration it needs, nail health will decline becoming dry, brittle, peeling and easily damaged or torn.
As a keratinised structure, composed of layers of proteins, your nails rely on a healthy environment within the nail bed to grow long and strong. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and an essential protein in nail health supplying amino acids including arginine and proline that promote nail health and growth.
As we age, collagen levels naturally begin to deplete leaving your nails lacking the proteins they need. Lifestyle factors that impact the degradation of collagen also come into play with smoking, UV exposure and a poor diet all impacting fingernail health.
Tips for nail health
- Stay hydrated: Both internal and external hydration are essential for healthy nails. Drinking 1-2 litres of water daily, as well as water-rich foods, will help from on an internal level. Externally, cuticle oils and hand moisturiser nourish and protect for optimal fingernail health.
- Maintain a healthy diet: Your nails are made up of layers of proteins that need essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids to be healthy. Your diet is a great place to start. Look for foods that are rich in biotin, silica, calcium, iron, omegas, vitamin A and protein.
- Try a marine collagen supplement: By replenishing the collagen that we naturally lose with age and lifestyle factors, you’ll provide the nails with the proteins and amino acids they need to grow long and strong.
- Keep your nails clean and dry: The nailbed can be susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections that stand in the way of long natural nails. Regularly washing and grooming your nails will help, just make sure they’re dried properly afterwards.
- Limit the use of harsh chemicals: Nail products such as polishes, hardening products and nail polish remover can contain damaging chemicals that degrade nail strength. Avoid ingredients including acetone and formaldehyde and opt for natural products where possible.
- Protect your nails with gloves: everyday tasks like washing dishes, gardening or DIY tasks can put your nails at risk or breaking or expose them to chemicals that slowly breakdown nail health. Wearing gloves is an easy way to protect your nails from the risk of damage.
Natural nail growth
While a fresh manicure may be a shortcut to long, glossy and strong nails, treatments like shellac, acrylic and gel extensions don’t come without their cost to the health of your nails. From the ingredients in these products to the manual weakening of the nail bed when they’re applied, and especially when removed, the long-term impact can be hard to reverse.
Focusing on natural nail growth is the most sustainable way to achieve healthy nails that grow fast, strong and durable. If you can’t go without a fresh lick of polish, at least give your nails time to breathe between appointments by taking a break from any nail polish or extensions use. This helps to prevent the weakening and yellowing of nails.
Nail care routine
Forget costly and time-consuming appointments at the nail salon. Maintaining a few good habits is all it takes to combat the wear and tear of the daily grind and promote healthy nails.
Your nail care routine should start with weekly grooming including filing or trimming your nails, removing dead skin from around the cuticle and using a nourishing oil or moisturiser to provide hydration to the nail bed. From an internal perspective, ensure you’re drinking sufficient water to support your general health and a diet that’s rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals from plants, nuts and seeds.
While nutrition promotes a healthy environment for nail growth, adding a targeted supplement like Natural Marine Collagen allows for the better absorption of the amino acids and peptides the body needs to form collagen and support healthy nails. One sachet as part of your daily routine is shown to improve nail strength, and you’ll also have the added benefits of improved hair and skin health too.
Small daily habits like hydrating your cuticles, protecting your nails from common chemicals and adding a high-quality marine collagen supplement to your diet combine to make a big difference. By focusing on your nail health, you’ll be on your way to longer, stronger and more durable nails before you know it.