Who doesn’t want to have long, healthy, strong nails?
If you’re someone who has always struggled with weak, brittle nails, then you know how it feels looking at all your friends and their perfect manicures and wishing you could also have that. But for some reason, your nails will just not grow – or they will grow to a certain extent and then break off or chip. So, then you wonder, how to grow nails fast and long?
Well, for starters, in most cases it’s not that the nail is not growing, it’s that because it’s brittle and unhealthy, it will break or peel and not be able to grow.
But before we even get into how you can make your nails grow faster and stronger, we need to understand how nails grow in the first place, and their structure.
Nail structure and how they grow
The nail is made up of the nail plate and the nail bed.
The nail plate is the hard part, the one we would typically think of as “the nail”, and the one we’re trying to grow. Just like hair, the nail plate is mostly made up of several layers of a protein called keratin, and it is not a living tissue which is why it does not hurt when we cut and file them. This also means that you can’t really improve the health of the nail plate, but you can start from the nail bed.
The nail bed is the living tissue under the nail plate and it offers nourishment and protection. At the very base of the nail is the nail matrix, which is where new cells form which then push the dead cells up and make the nail grow. The nail matrix is sometimes also known as the nail base, and if it’s damaged then it can affect the growth of the nail.
No matter how much we want to believe it is true, there are no nail polishes or serums that once you paint it on your nails will make them grow like ~magic~. The nail is already dead cells by the time it reaches the surface, so applying any sort of vitamins to it won’t improve its health, though it could help strengthen it.
Still, there are ways you can strengthen your nails, which then will allow them to grow without breaking or even grow faster, but as with most things, they start from our overall health and the way we take care of our nails.
How to strengthen and help nails grow faster?
Nails grow at an average rate of 3.5 mm per month, and the growth rate can be affected by factors like your overall health, your nutrition, and the way you take care of them. These are the factors that affect the health of your nail and the changes you can make to improve it:
Pay attention to your diet
Having an improper diet can cause your nails to become brittle and break, just as it causes a host of other health problems. We should aim for a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and other foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein. Our nails may be unhealthy because we lack a certain vitamin, which is usually iron, B complex vitamins, calcium, and zinc. So, for better nail health, you can add them to your diet, either through food or as a dietary supplement, but always checking with a doctor or medical professional first.
Biotin is a type of B Vitamin which can be found in eggs, nuts, whole grains, beans, bananas, and other foods, but may also be taken in supplement form. Biotin is believed to help the health of our hair, skin, and nails.
Scientific study suggests that taking a dose of 2.5 mg of biotin daily will help strengthen brittle nails, but there isn’t any evidence that it will actually promote faster growth.
Check with a medical professional about the appropriate dosage before taking biotin as well as to ensure that you are cleared to use it.
See Also: 7 Signs You May Have Protein Deficiency
Keep your nails well-groomed
Another thing which can help your nails grow longer and prevent breakage is good maintenance. If you cut and file your nails appropriately, they’ll be less likely to break, chip, or snag on anything. It’s best if you keep your nail shape rounded and not too long.
Another important thing when it comes to good grooming is keeping the cuticles moisturized and not cut them under any circumstance! If you cut the cuticle, it could expose the nail bed or matrix and lead to an infection.
Avoid fake nails, gel and acrylic manicures
If your nails just won’t grow then it may be tempting to use fake nails, gels, or acrylics to give yourself a pretty manicure, but these will just further damage your nails, causing them to peel and become weak.
Avoid water and chemical exposure
Water can make the nails softer and weaker, so try to minimize your nails’ exposure to it. So, when you’re washing dishes or cleaning around the house, wear gloves. This also serves in protecting your nails from the harsh chemicals in cleaning products.
Don’t bite your nails
This may appear obvious, but don’t bite your nails and do not cut them too short.
Swipe on a layer of clear polish
If your nails are very brittle, applying a layer of clear polish may serve as a protective barrier for them and prevent breakage.
Use a nail strengthener
Because weak, brittle nails are more prone to breakage and therefore, will not be able to grow long, using nail strengtheners which come in the form of nail polish can be a good solution. However, nail strengtheners should not be used execesively as research has shown that it may cause the nail to become weaker in the long-term.
But they are a good short-term solution to be used in addition to the other changes you make.
So, remember, just like with everything on our body, our nails reflect our health and the healthier we are, the healthier our nails will be. Weak nails may be caused by external damage, but in most cases, it comes down to our health and nutrition, as well as the way we take care of them.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article: text, graphics, images, and other materials contained are strictly for informational purposes only. The Content is in no way intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment. Please, always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with all the questions that you have related to, or about, a medical condition.