With age, your nails become weaker, more brittle, and prone to splitting. Peeling and thin nails can also indicate some underlying health issues or nutrient deficiencies. Thankfully, it’s much easier to get stronger nails than achieve any other long-term beauty goals.
Introducing a few changes to your lifestyle and maintaining a healthy diet can help you get those stronger nails you’ve been striving for.
Consider this: daily bioactive collagen peptides treatment has proven to boost the growth of fingernails by 12% and decrease the frequency of broken nails by 42%, according to the 2017 study.
In this article, we’ll discover the benefits of collagen peptides for nails and provide you with a few tips to help you grow stronger and healthier nails faster.
Are Your Nails Thin & Brittle? This Might Be Why
"Nails can be thin or brittle for a variety of reasons. Thin, weak or peeling nails may be caused by a lack of essential fatty acids in the diet, which can make nails dry out and start peeling. Another cause can be damage to the nails, either by trauma or prolonged application of nail extensions. After removing them, nails can become very sore, and as they take time to regain their health, will be very thin and weak. Long-term illness or some medications can also cause the nails to be thin and weak. When we're ill, our body isn't functioning as it should, and this possibly includes lower blood circulation. Thus, not nourishing the skin or nails may lead the skin cells not to reproduce as effectively as they should, causing the nails to become dull, dehydrated and grow slower."
Alison Angold, Fully-Qualified Beauty Therapist at Beauty Taming The Beast
The free radicals that affect your skin can also damage your nails and hair structure. Collagen in your body protects your skin cells from this free radical damage and fights its harmful effects. As you age, the levels of collagen in your body decline. As a result, your skin, nails, and hair become more susceptible to various environmental stressors.
Collagen & Nutrients Deficiency
Did you know that collagen is one of the main proteins in your nail beds? In fact, it’s also one of the most prevalent proteins in your body. Thin and brittle nails can be a sign that your body needs more collagen and other vital nutrients like Iron, Vitamin C, Zinc, Protein, and Omega Fats.
Emotional and physical well-being has a tremendous effect on your health. Stress can negatively affect not only your skin but also hair and nails, making them weak and more prone to breakage. Avoiding stressful situations and having a proper work-life balance can help you stay more positive and prevent various health problems, including brittle nails.
10 Ways to Grow Stronger, Beautiful Nails
Luckily, you don’t have to worry about spending a fortune when it comes to getting your nails healthy and strong. Here are a few things you can introduce to your daily life to prevent your nails from peeling and chipping.
1. Drink Water
As simple as it might sound, drinking enough water is not only critical for your overall health but also the structure of your nails. They need to be hydrated just like your skin. If you want to have strong nails, ensure that you drink plenty of water every day.
2. Avoid Chemicals
Even though nail polish looks nice, it’s not good for your nails. Most nail polishes and nail polish removers contain harsh chemicals that can easily damage your nails. If you still want to keep on painting your nails, look for non-toxic nail polishes and nail polish removers without acetone. Also, let your nails breathe from time to time by taking breaks between reapplying nail polish.
“Use of indiscriminate acetone nail polish removers, repeated coating of nail polish over months without removing them, using hand sanitizers or frequent washing of the hands without moisturizing it subsequently (very relevant right now during the COVID times) could make the nails flake and crumble.”
Rashmi Singh, Board-Certified Dermatologist at ZELEN Life
3. Get Enough Collagen
Your nails and hair are made of keratin. Proper collagen intake can help you increase the synthesis of keratin. It can also help you make your nails stronger and improve their appearance.
“Use high-quality collagen. Collagen is made naturally by the body and makes up a very large portion of our body structure. It is found abundantly in skin, hair and nails. As we grow older, the body slows down in producing collagen and it affects the overall health of your skin, hair, and nails. Consuming it as a supplement is a great way to keep your nail strong and healthy. I have been doing these for months now and it has significantly improved the overall health and appearance of my nails. Hope you found this helpful as well! Let me know if you have more questions.”
4. Do Not Soak Your Nails in Water Too Much
Of course, it’s not possible to prevent your nails from “touching” water completely; however, you can try minimizing their exposure to water. Soaking your nails in water for a long time might lead to weak and brittle nails. You can avoid it by using gloves when doing dishes and cleaning or try keeping your hands out of water when taking a bath, for example.
5. Do Not Use Your Nails as a Tool
Need to open something? Forget about using your nails. Otherwise, you’ll simply break them and make them even weaker. Use your fingers or a specific kitchen tool to open jars, soda cans, etc. We know that it can be hard to resist taking advantage of your nails, but they’re not as hard as you might think.
6. Follow a Healthy Diet
It’s not a secret that what we eat affects our bodies and how we look. The same is for your nails. A diet that contains a variety of healthy foods, vitamins, antioxidants, and amino acids can help you grow your nails stronger and faster.
“A balanced diet, along with a quality multivitamin, and collagen supplements can give you the best chance at stable and healthy nails. Eating foods that are rich in biotin, iron, and magnesium such as bananas, egg yolks, fish, milk products, and whole grains can help your nails be stronger and better looking.”
Lina Buk, Beauty Expert & Founder of Nail Art Gear
7. Cut Your Nails
As much as you’d want to have those nicely-shaped long nails, in reality, longer nails break more frequently, and it’s harder to maintain them healthy. On the other hand, it’s much easier to take care of short nails and make them look strong and healthy.
8. Avoid Gel or Acrylic Nails
For some occasions, you might want to use gel or acrylic nails, however, try not to wear them all the time. It might cause your nails to peel and break as well as make the skin around your nails age faster.
9. Moisturize Your Nails
Using lotion or hand cream is an excellent way to moisturize your nails, especially after using a nail polish remover that might dry out your nails. Or you can also try making it a habit to apply hand cream every time you wash your nails.
“Moisturize your hands constantly. Just like how coronavirus made you sanitize your hands as often as necessary, you need to moisturize your hands as well - maybe not as often as sanitizing, though. Constant application of alcohol on your hands can make them dry. It also removes natural cuticle oil which repairs and nourishes the nails.”
10. Take Care of Your Cuticles
Cuticles act as a barrier that protects your nails. That’s why it’s important to nourish your cuticles with a cream or oil. And if you don’t really like how your cuticles look, try pushing them back instead of cutting them to avoid inflammation.
The Best Collagen Skin, Hair & Nails Formula
Your nails can say a lot about the state of your health, just like your skin and hair. Since natural collagen levels in your body decline with age, you should make sure to provide your body with what it asks for. Apart from making a few changes to your lifestyle and using home remedies for nails, you can try introducing collagen peptides to your daily diet.
“Hydrolysed collagen peptides are easy to incorporate into any diet. They are tasteless and can go in anything from smoothies to cooked food. The body sends them to where they are needed the most. So you might notice, first, that you think better from the boost of collagen to your brain, or that the supplemented collagen relieves pain in your back or wrist. It takes a little longer for collagen to make it to the skin, hair and nails. Once it does, a more beautiful appearance is the really nice side effect.”
Ghanima Abdullah, Cosmetologist & Beauty Consultant at TheRightHairstyles.com
Collagen may help you:
- Get stronger nails
- Protect your nails from external damage
- Improve their appearance
- Promote natural nail growth
If you have ongoing problems with thin and brittle nails or have any health concerns about introducing new products to your diet, consult your doctor first.