Learn what you are doing that is killing your nails, and what to avoid to make them healthy again. Written from experience by a professional nail technician.
Aging can cause the nails to become thick and spotted with white nail spots. Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done about these issues. The majority of men who come to a nail salon do so when they get older, simply because they can no longer clip their thick nails with clippers.
9. Nutrient Deficiency
Vitamins A and D are vital to healthy nails but they are only part of the story. Are your nails getting everything they need to grow? If not, they will stop growing as fast, and they will become thin and brittle. This can be best corrected not by taking vitamins orally, but through any cream (what we use at the salon is Mavala’s Nailactin) formulated for nail growth that is applied right below the cuticle on the skin right above the nail (which is where your nails grow from).
8. Harsh Filing
An emory board is an exceptionally harsh surface. It is good at what it does: filing down nails, but it can split open the three layers of your nails. You want to “re-seal” the edges of your nails with a polishing stone (they last practically forever and are made of aluminum oxide). If your nails are not sealed, then dirt and water can enter through the edges which makes the nails brittle.
7. Cuticle Breeches
There are nail biters, and there are cuticle pickers. Whenever your cuticle is damaged, there is a chance it will not grow back perfect, so instead of having a clean half-circle of cuticle at the top of your nails it will look jagged. Also severe damage to this area can cause the nails to grow wavy because the nail bed itself has been damaged right where the nail begins to grow from.
So since we’re talking about habits, biting your nails causes dirt to get inside the nail. Your nails will look literally rough around the edges, and not have length because you’ve chewed it all away. Time to use one of those sour-tasting brush on polishes that are made to stop that nail biting habit!
5. Lots of Chemicals
Specifically, avoid using high chemical polishes (high in toluene and formaldehyde) and dehydrating “nail hardener” products directly on the nails. Base coats are made to go under these products to protect the nails. Polish will not only dehydrate nails when put on directly, but the formaldehyde will turn them yellow.
4. Not Buffing
Ridges form when you don’t buff your nails. Buffing simply removes any dead nail that is building up at the base of your nails, because as they grow it just keeps moving down in a line, and that line is a ridge! By buffing regularly (not any more often than once every two weeks though, you don’t want to remove too much nail) in several months the ridges in your nails should go away.
3. No Protection from the Elements
MANY many women fall into the category of not doing anything with their nails because they have given up on not chipping their polish. You want to keep something on your nails however, because your nails do not breathe through the nail, only through the cuticle surrounding the nail. The only thing you are doing by leaving your nails exposed is allowing them to dehydrate easier. At the very least, a matte base coat to protect your nails is a must to keep non-polished nails healthy and beautiful.
2. Artificial Nails
This is almost the worst possible thing you can do to your nails. As long as you keep gels, acrylics, shellac, etc. on your nails you will never know what they are doing to your nails underneath. The truth is that what you have underneath are very very thin, brittle remains of nails. Most people don’t realize that to get these products off involves soaking the hands in acetone for at least 15 minutes, and sometimes even a mechanical tool is needed to remove the products. After years of using these products, nails are severely dehydrated and in need of a lot of TLC to get them back into healthy condition. The best thing that you can do is seek out a natural nail salon for the future.
1. Not using Moisturizer
The worst nail destroyer is you not moisturizing your hands and feet. When your skin is dry your body panics, and sucks moisture out of your nails. Dry nails are brittle and unhappy nails and if they are severely dry it will effect their growth. This is listed as the first and foremost because it is the simplest issue to fix and yet the hardest for busy people to remember to do. Put that moisturizer by your desk, next to the sink, or wherever it makes sense for you to use it on a regular basis.