Do you also want a broken nail to grow back in three days? This is impossible: the maximum growth rate is two to three millimeters per month. What affects this process and can nails be helped? Experts answer.
Why do nails grow slowly
Often, slow growth is associated with a weakened nail plate. Nails can grow at a normal pace, but you won’t notice it: they will break all the time.
Brittleness, uneven color, crumbling and lamination of the nail plate can be indicators of malfunctions in the body: from fungal infections and skin diseases to problems with the heart, lungs, kidneys or liver. Nail growth is negatively affected by nutritional deficiencies, indigestion and any stress, such as colds.
If you consider yourself to be among the healthy people, here is what else can affect the growth and condition of the nails:
- Dry air. It is harmful not only to the skin, but also to the nails. “The top layer of the skin is made up of the same cells as the nail,” explains Cynthia Bailey, MD, Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.
- Frequent contact with water and household chemicals. Hard running water and aggressive ingredients in cleaning products destroy the layers of keratin that make up the nail bed. Then the nail grows more slowly, and breaks more easily.
- biological aging. With age, the production of keratin slows down: the consequences are easy to guess.
Diet for healthy nails: what foods to include in the diet
“The nail is made up of keratin, a sulfur-containing protein. The amount and concentration of sulfur determines the condition of the nail: the higher its percentage, the harder it is. Sulfur metabolism depends on the protein that enters the body, which is why when following low-calorie diets and sulfur deficiency, troubles arise with nails: they grow worse, exfoliate, become brittle,” explains Vitaly Solomonov, President of Clinical Laboratories LLC, USA, chemist-technologist of professional cosmetics and an honorary member of the American Society of Cosmetic Chemists.
You can find substances necessary for the health of nails in such products:
- Cysteine: chicken, turkey, dairy products, legumes.
- Folic acid: spinach, asparagus, avocado, green peas.
- Biotin: egg yolks, salmon, seeds, spinach, broccoli.
- Zinc: beef, legumes, nuts.
- Vitamin A: sweet potato, carrot, pumpkin.
- Vitamin C: bell peppers, strawberries, Brussels sprouts.
Vitamins and supplements
When taking vitamins, it is worth remembering that this is only an addition to a balanced diet, and not a replenishment of the deficiency of micro and macro elements. In any case, before prescribing a vitamin complex for yourself, consult your doctor.
For healthy nails, most often turn to B vitamins:
- Vitamin B7 (biotin) promotes healthy cell growth and aids in the metabolism of amino acids from which the body builds protein.
- Vitamin B9 (folic acid) promotes the formation of red blood cells and the growth of new cells. The disadvantage leads to uneven color of the nail plate and its fragility.
- Vitamin B12 takes part in DNA synthesis and delivers oxygen to the nail bed. A lack of this vitamin can be recognized by bluish or brown pigmentation of the nail.
In addition to B vitamins, minerals (zinc, iron, magnesium) and omega-3 fatty acids are responsible for strong nails. Pay attention to special complexes that combine several ingredients at once — for example, vitamin B12 takes part in the absorption of iron.
Strengthening cosmetics for nail health
Below is a list of cosmetic products that can help strengthen nails.
- Base strengthens and smoothes nails before applying colored polish. Due to the natural shade, the base can be used as an independent coating.
- Medical varnish — the most effective way of external restoration of the nail. Such varnishes contain a complex of active ingredients: minerals, vitamins A and E, keratin, silk proteins, jojoba, avocado and argan oils. The course of application is one to two weeks. It is necessary to apply varnish every day, without removing the previous layer. Pay special attention to the area near the cuticle: the penetration of substances in the youngest area of the nail is much more intense than through a hard varnish film.
One can argue about the restoring effect of the «top» — a coating that is applied over a colored decorative varnish: its useful ingredients practically do not reach the nail plate.
Serum for nail growth
Convenient tool: a tube or pencil with a built-in brush or dispenser can be carried with you in your bag and moisturize your cuticles as needed. Serum usually has a light texture, and contains vitamins, oils, panthenol, and proteins. Apply the serum to the nail in a massaging motion to increase microcirculation and help nail growth. Incredible results from the serum should not be expected, it is rather a procedure for keeping nails in a neat shape.
Oil from a bottle with a pipette is also rubbed into the nail and cuticle area. In its pure form, it is considered a more nutritious remedy that, in addition to moisturizing and nourishing, can relieve skin irritation and prevent fungal infections.
- Peach oil absorbs quickly and provides instant hydration.
- Jojoba oil, thanks to vitamins E and B, is able to restore damaged collagen layers in the nail bed and strengthen the nail plate.
- Avocado oil, due to the potassium it contains, prevents brittle nails.
- Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties and prevents fungal infections.
Nail Growth Treatments
“Health and regeneration of nails depend on living structures –– the matrix and the nail bed. The more active the blood microcirculation, the more intensive the processes in this area are,” says Vitaly Solomonov. Thermal procedures help to improve blood circulation and nail growth, but the result should be expected only after completing the full course.
- Paraffin therapy. Paraffin is melted to a temperature of 50-55 degrees and applied to the hands. The hardened paraffin forms an airtight film on the skin, which retains a warm environment, improves blood circulation, which nourishes the nails and cuticles. At the end of the procedure, the paraffin is removed and the hands are moistened with cream.
- Oil manicure. Suitable if the cuticle suffers from constant exposure to household chemicals. During the procedure, the hands are placed in a bath with a solution based on oils and vitamins, heated to a comfortable temperature. “In the process of oil manicure, the active ingredients of the composition penetrate better into the skin and nail structure,” explains Vitaly Solomonov. After the cuticle and the skin of the hands become soft, the master makes a classic manicure.
- Warm wrap. After a massage with a scrub with fine abrasives, the master applies a nourishing composition based on oils or paraffin. Then he wraps his hands with a warm towel and leaves for 15-20 minutes. The result is hydration of the skin and cuticles, activation of blood circulation. The advantage of the procedure is that it is easy to carry out at home on your own.