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How Can I Strengthen My Fingernails?

Fingernail polish can be added after a fingernail hardener to strengthen fingernails.
Exposing the nails to polish remover regularly can weaken them.
Using lotion can strengthen your fingernails.
The parallel lines that run from the base to the tip of a fingernail become more prominent with age.
Moisturizing the cuticles helps prevent infection while strengthening the fingernails.
Article Details
  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Images By: Dmytro Titov, Travis Manley, Martinan, Steven Damron, Stockphotosart
  • Last Modified Date: 23 June 2014
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Though some health conditions can affect the way fingernails grow, many people with no underlying health problems simply have weak fingernails. If you have weak fingernails and have ruled out potential health problems such as circulatory disorders or infections, you can strengthen your fingernails by developing a nail care regimen that involves taking precautionary measures and proactive steps to nail care.

Because some cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that can weaken fingernails, avoid using products with these chemicals and wear latex gloves to protect hands and fingernails when necessary. Consider switching dishwashing liquid and other cleaners to mild formulas and always apply a hand lotion or moisturizer after submersing your fingernails in water. Anytime you apply hand lotion, work the lotion into the skin folds surrounding your nails and the cuticle. Frequent moisturizing can help strengthen your fingernails by restoring moisture levels and reducing dryness that can make fingernails brittle.

Develop the habit of trimming your fingernails after showers or baths, when nails are softer. Trim nails squarely, with slightly rounded tips rather than an oval shape as this will help keep the edges of your nails strong, reducing breakage incidents. When filing fingernails, always file in one direction rather than back and forth.

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You can also help strengthen your fingernails by applying a nail hardener or strengthener. If using alone, simply apply one to two coats once per week. If applying with colored polish, use nail hardener as a base coat before applying polish. Also avoid frequent use of nail polish remover and remember to use only non-acetone polish remover with added moisturizers. After using polish remover, wash hands thoroughly and apply hand lotion before reapplying polish.

Proper routine nail care is the best way to enhance the strength of your fingernails, but diet can have some impact. Though very few people are protein deficient, a protein deficiency can cause weakened nails. However, increasing protein or taking protein supplements will not strengthen your nails. Make sure you consume enough protein to constitute a healthy diet. Calcium should also be a part of a healthy diet, as it strengthens bones, teeth and fingernails. It is a good idea to check with a doctor before starting any kind of supplement.

If proper nail care and a healthy diet do not strengthen your fingernails, you might consider visiting a dermatologist to ensure you are not suffering from a nail infection or other disorder. Similarly, if your fingernails are showing signs of an underlying problem, such as yellowing, thickening or not growing, consult a physician. If you visit a manicurist on a regular basis, make sure they are following proper sanitary procedures. You can ask your manicurist for recommendations of nail care products or search your local drug store for products.

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Discuss this Article

anon235908
Post 7

The only basis for this is my own experience, but grape seed extract does make my nails grow faster, and definitely look better overall (less chipping, stronger). I've searched and found no connection, so maybe it's just me.

For myself, I am sure of it. I'm not an idiot or a vitamin junkie. I didn't take the extract for my nails. I've never bought nail "vitamins" or eaten gelatin, because I thought (still do, mostly) they were crap.

But, the change was very noticeable, even to my *gasp* husband. I wracked my brain to figure out if I had made any other changes besides adding grape seed, but there was nothing that could account for *suddenly* being able to have long-ish healthy looking nails.

By "suddenly" I mean roughly three or four weeks. I'd love to know if anyone else has had the same experience.

anon116539
Post 6

Take quality fish oil and glucosamine/chondroitin supplements, you will be amazed at the results. Of course it takes awhile to show as the nails have to grow out.

anon108702
Post 5

chop garlic and put it in your clear nail polish and let it sit for seven or eight days then put two coats on and your nails should feel as hard as rock and grow quite a bit. Your nails will smell like garlic, though.

StormyKnight
Post 4

@zenmaster: I have very brittle nails and there are a few things that I do to prevent further damage to them. I always wear gloves when I wash dishes or do any type of cleaning that exposes my nails to harsh cleaning agents. Also, when my fingernail polish chips a little, I try to touch it up instead of removing all of my polish. Nail polish removers can dry out your nails. I also put moisturizer on my hands at night, especially around my fingernails. Sometimes I will put on cotton gloves and wear them overnight. It makes a huge difference.

pharmchick78
Post 3

If you're trying to strengthen your nails so they can grow out, another good tip is to keep them painted with a clear polish. That way they have a little something for extra support, and you can also use it to touch up any little splits invisibly.

Just make sure that you don't use a nail polish that is too harsh, and when you take it off, use a non-acetone remover, like the article said.

A little clear polish, good eating habits, and proper nail care, and you'll be on your way to strong nails in no time.

closerfan12
Post 2

@zenamster -- You could try massaging your cuticles with a natural oil, like almond oil or jojoba oil.

Although this doesn't directly strengthen the nail like a chemical strengthener does, the massage that your cuticles get when you rub the oil in stimulates the bloodflow to your nail matrix, which can make the nails grow stronger.

I've also heard that eating gelatin products (like Jello or table jelly) can help strengthen nails, but I haven't tried that personally.

zenmaster
Post 1

Does anybody know of any natural methods to strengthen nails? My nails tend to split really easily, but I'm trying to stay away from synthetic strenghteners or hardeners. Thanks!

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