We’ve all been there before - men and women alike - your nails are peeling and chipping and you don’t know what to do, or how to stop it before it starts!
Do you get frustrated by your dry, brittle nails? Are you looking for quick solutions to get rid of and prevent this annoyance?
I’ve had this problem for years now, and I know far too wall that frequent manicures are expensive - not to mention that showing my dry, peeling nails to my technician is totally embarrassing!
Good quality nail and cuticle creams can rack you up a big bill, and you might feel your nails are too far gone anyways. But don’t worry - I’ve compiled a list of my favourite 5 tried-and-true tips on how to stop nails from peeling, while saving you precious time and money!
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1. Treat your nails as good as you treat your skin!
In this day and age, most of us shower on the daily. We wash our bodies, scrub and exfoliate ourselves to get rid of that pesky dry skin, and finish off with some moisture-sealing lotion.
Guess what?… Your nails needs this too! You should thoroughly scrub your nails like you would your body, every time you shower.
Pick up a run-of-the-mill nail brush from your local pharmacy, even the cheapest ones will do the trick; and keep it in your shower to remind yourself to use it.
Make sure to clean any dirt out from under your nails as you scrub. After your shower, this is the best time to trim and file your nails and cuticles, as they are more malleable.
Then, follow this with a thick application of moisturizer to seal the deal. Moisture is key! You should be moisturizing your hands after every single wash.
Water dries out your skin, and if your nails and cuticles aren’t moisturized, that means your nail matrix isn’t either. Clean nails are happy nails!
Here are links to a few products with low price points that will do the trick and can be found at your local pharmacy or super-centre:
When applying hand & nail cream, try to find one that is fast-absorbing. Apply it starting at the base of your second knuckle on each finger, and work your way up to the tip of your nail.
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2. The RIGHT way to polish your nails!
So you’ve decided to paint your nails yourself to cover up the fact that they’re peeling, right? You reach for your nail polish remover, douse your nails to get rid of any old polish, then apply a base coat, colour and top coat - that should do the trick… I’ve done this hundreds of times, and little did I know, I was only making it worse!
Traditional removers completely strip your nails of their natural oils, leaving them dry and even more brittle than before. You should be looking for a non-toxic (preferably soy-based), acetone free nail polish remover like:
Now on to the base coat…? Wrong! You should always apply a layer of moisturizer to your nails before ever applying a base coat. The moisturizer fills in any tiny gaps to smooth the nail (like a primer) at the same time as it locks in moisture.
Let it dry, get rid of any excess, then apply your base like normal. Now your nails are protected from the damaging effects of the chemicals you apply after.
This brings us to nail polish… just like your polish remover, you should be avoiding the toxic, traditional polishes and looking for non-toxic, less harmful brands.
Here are a few I’ve tried and loved:
You should only be wearing your nail polish for up to 5 days, this is when the formula starts to break down anyways. The longer you leave your polish on, the more moisture is sucked out of your nails! Leaving them dry, brittle and breaking once it is removed.
3. Take those vitamins!
Have a look at your nails right now - do you see any indentations, bumps or depressions? I used to always wonder why my nails were so uneven, so I asked my doctor.
She told me that this could be a sign you are low on iron! She suggested I do a blood test, and sure enough that was why.
Iron aids in the formation of hemoglobin, which sends red blood cells full of oxygen to your nail matrix.
Without iron, you get weak and stunted nail growth. If you see these depressions on your own nails, this should be your cue to head to your doctor and see for yourself.
Your doctor should be able to give you a prescription for a gentle iron supplement, as they can be very hard on some people’s stomachs.
I find that liquid supplements are easiest on mine, Below is my favourite brand:
I’m sure we’ve all seen those beauty supplements at the grocery or health food store. There are ones for skin, ones for hair and nails, or all of the above.
While it has been argued that some of them are bunk - one thing is for sure; Biotin should be in your vita-diet.
There is real, hard evidence that biotin (an adored B vitamin), strengthens hair and nails.
Dana Stern, MD, a dermatologist and assistant clinical professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, says that taking 2.5 mg of biotin daily can improve your hair and nail strength and reduce brittleness in 6-9 months - but make sure to speak to your doctor before you start taking it. Here is the brand I use:
4. Don’t cut your cuticles!
Like, ever! If you’re like me, your cuticles tend to grow rapidly and unevenly, and this doesn’t look very clean or healthy.
My instinct used to be to soak my nails, push back my cuticles and snip them all off. It looked better and less messy, so I figured it was a good solution.
Boy was I wrong… “Cuticles are the grout between your nails and your skin,” says Stern, “They shield your nails from water, bacteria, and anything else you touch.
Cutting your cuticles is like removing that grout—then there's nothing left to prevent water from entering and causing an infection.”
After your shower, instead of cutting them, you can use a warm washcloth to gently push your cuticles back - and that’s it! That’s all they need to stay healthy and keep your nails healthy too.
5. Gloves, and olive oil - your new best friends.
My final tip is to protect those hands! Put a ‘force field’ around your hands to prevent drying and peeling before it even starts. When doing the dishes or any household cleaning - especially when using toxic/drying products, always wear gloves! It seems like a simple solution, and that’s because it is.
Olive oil can also act as a shield for your nails. Simply soak your hands (or feet!) for 10-15 minutes a day in extra virgin olive oil for one month, then cut down to two times a week afterwards.
This is an inexpensive home treatment and it will help reinforce damaged, weak or peeling nails. “Oils do a better job than creams in soaking into the nail beds for longer.” says Dr. Wenjay Sung, a board certified podiatrist in L.A. This super deep moisture soak acts as a force field of protection, keeping dryness out and preventing future peels and breaks.
Bye, bye brittle…
So, did you learn some simple and helpful tips here today? I really hope that my experience with this can help you heal your peeling nails, and hopefully I gave you some simple and cheap ideas that are much easier than you thought! If you enjoyed this piece please share it, and help me help my dry, brittle-nailed friends… Let me know what you think in the comments!
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