Everybody desires smooth and strong nails on their toes and fingers. But getting and maintaining a set of unbreakable nails is certainly easier said than done. Our immediate environment is laden with a multitude of factors, which if you are not careful, can turn your nails brittle, fragile and textured. Fortunately, dermatologists and beauty experts have discovered that you can soak nails routinely to strengthen and keep them in excellent shape. This technique of fingernail soak, although quite new by modern standards, has been used in ancient Chinese folklore medicine for generations now.
When is it Time to Strengthen your Nails?
Your finger and toenails are primarily made of keratin, the same fibrous complex that makes up your skin and hair. You know it is time to adopt a nail strengthening soak regimen as soon as you notice your nails have become soft and brittle. Speaking of which, brittle nails is the culmination of various factors, most of which revolve around the following.
- Age: It goes without saying that the human body tends to deteriorate progressively the more time that we spend alive. As such, older people are more likely to have brittle and dull nails than their younger counterparts, all other factors held constant.
- Iron deficiency: Iron deficiency has been linked with brittle nails courtesy of the fact that lower ferritin levels hamper the production or formation of keratin.
- Hypothyroidism: Extremely soft and brittle nails is one of the tell-tale symptoms associated with hypothyroidism alongside other symptoms such as extreme fatigue, constipation, weight gain, hair loss and unexplained depression.
- Raynaud's syndrome: It is usually characterised by circulation difficulties in one's extremities. As such, it is easy to see how this can end up affecting nail health if left unattended.
As you can see, even before starting to use a strengthening nail soak, it is critical to investigate what is causing your nails to become soft in the first place. This way, you can solve any underlying health issues first and build a foundation for strong nails. After this, you can now whip up one of the following nail strengthening soak recipes to complement your grooming habits.
A Look at the Best Nail Strengthening Soak Recipes to Try Today
These nail strengthening soak recipes are extremely easy to prepare and even easier to use. What's more, they have been shown to be helpful in solving the problem of brittle/soft nails if used religiously and correctly.
1. Coconut Oil Massage
This extremely practical diy nail strengthening soak makes use of the rich array of healthy fatty acids that coconut oil packs. Apart from nourishing and strengthening brittle/soft nails, these fatty acids are also believed to be quite critical in boosting the rate of one's nail growth. What's more, your nails can always use the deep moisturization that is usually synonymous with coconut oil.
Besides, the massaging action which is usually used in the application of coconut oil has been shown to improve blood circulation in addition to helping your nails retain crucial moisture. This results in great-looking nails courtesy of this diy nail strengthening soak off. To use it simply;
- Warm about 1 or 2 tablespoonfuls of coconut oil before soaking your nails in it for at least 3 minutes.
- Massage the coconut oil for at least 4 to 6 minutes for up to three times a day.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar Soak
Apple cider vinegar, also known as ACV, possesses an array of micronutrients including calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium that strengthen the nail plate and nourish the nail bed. Also, when you soak nails in vinegar, you are exposing them to acetic acid and malic acid that is usually present in ACV. Both of these double up as antibacterial and antifungal agents that help immensely in preventing and managing a broad range of nail infections.
To use it;
- Dilute equally-measured parts of apple cider vinegar and water.
- Soak your nails in the resulting solution for a couple of minutes whilst gently pushing back the cuticles.
- For best results, this at least once every day for a week.
3. Sea Salt Nail Soak
Soaking your nails in sea salt has been shown to be helpful in strengthening brittle nails and softening cuticles which, in general, improves the overall health of your nails.
Using it is even easier than it sounds:
- Dissolve one tablespoonful of sea salt in a cup of warm or lukewarm water.
- Soak your fingertips in the resulting solution for at least 15 to 20 minutes daily or every other day.
4. Application of an Olive Oil and Lemon Juice Soak
It is a healthy practice to soak nails in olive oil and it’s even better if you can soak nails in vinegar routinely too. Here's the thing, olive oil is able to penetrate one's nail cuticles which helps in repairing and strengthening them. On the other hand, lemon juice is capable of helping in the management of damaged nails and stopping them from peeling while at the same time removing stains. And when used together, both of them have useful dermatological properties that infuse your nails with a bright sheen complemented with a healthy glow.
To use it:
- Mix one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice with at least three tablespoonfuls of olive oil.
- Warm the resulting mixture in a bowl or suitable cup.
- Massage this mixture thoroughly onto your nails.
- Soak your fingernails in the bowl for at least 20 minutes.
5. Soak and Massage Your Nails with Tree Tea Oil
Tea tree oil possesses an array of antifungal and antibiotic properties that can really go a long way in fighting nail brittleness resulting from fungal infections. Here's how to use it;
- Dilute a number of tree tea oil drops with a half tablespoon of vitamin E oil.
- Massage the resulting oil blend on your nails.
- Wait for about 30 minutes and wash the nails using lukewarm water then finish off by applying a suitable moisturizer.
- For best results, repeat this remedy at least twice a month.
6. Dip and Soak your Nails in Orange Juice
Orange juice is rich in folic acid which is, in turn, quite beneficial for your nail's health. Here's how to go about using orange juice as a precursor to your nail's health.
- Squeeze fresh orange juice and soak your nails in the bowl for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Rinse your fingertips with warm water.
- Repeat this remedy every day for up to three weeks to give your nails the best chance of soaking up the folic acid.
7. Moisturizing with Shea Butter
Moisturizing with shea butter, just like when one soak nails in milk, nourishes the nail plate and hydrates the nail bed. And apart from restoring moisture balance in your nails, it also stimulates the repair of brittle nails as much as it supports the development of strong ones. The best thing about this regimen is that it is so easy to use that it can be wedged into your daily grooming regimen without upsetting it. Here's how:
- Moisturize your nails using shea butter taking care not to splice your cuticles. For best results, do this every day.
- Alternatively, you can massage in the shea butter to your nails for at least 20 minutes just before bedtime and leave it on overnight.
A Look at Some of the Best Supplements for Hair, Skin and Nails
If you are looking for stronger nails, healthier hair and clearer skin, then it goes without saying that you may want to shop around for the best supplements for nails, hair and skin. You see, as much as you may be eating a balanced diet regularly with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, there are several nutritional gaps (unbeknownst to you) that could be holding you back from your dream body.
Here is the list of vitamins and minerals that you should supplement your eating regimen with if you want healthy tresses and stronger nails.
It's impossible to make a list of supplements for strong nails without including biotin at some point. It's a pretty common B vitamin that is believed to be quite instrumental in aiding hair growth and nail development in most people.
Evidence suggests, for instance, that biotin deficiency leads to weak, soft and brittle nails. Experiencing stunted hair growth is also not uncommon when you are suffering from a severe lack of biotin. Fortunately, supplementation with Wellabs' Biotin & Collagen drops should go a long way in keeping biotin deficiency at bay.
2. Vitamins D, E and A
This trio of fat-soluble vitamins ranks has some of the most revered supplements for healthy nails in the nutritional world and there's a good reason for it.
Taking enough vitamin A, for instance, aids in keeping your skin and hair moisturized with a healthy glow. What's more, vitamin A is also heavily involved in the production of collagen - the protein that is responsible for supporting the development and growth of youthful-looking skin and hair. If anything, one of the tell-tale symptoms of vitamin A deficiency is sparse hair and dry skin.
Besides, skin experts also believe that taking Vitamin A drops can also help in staving off acne flareups and skin breakouts in people who are genetically predisposed to having problematic skin.
Vitamin D drops, on the other hand, have always been very contributory in improving the signs of acne and breakouts. In fact, there is a clear link between the frequency of acne and extremely low levels of the sunshine vitamin.
Last but not least, vitamin E is a potent antioxidant with immense benefits for the development of healthy skin and hair. The nutrient has proven time and again to be critical in neutralizing oxidative damage that is typically caused by the presence of free radicals in your immediate environment. And by protecting your skin against UV and oxidative damage, the vitamin improves the chances of you sporting a healthy-looking mane when you need it.
3. Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is the naturally occurring substance that aids in the maintenance of optimum hydration levels in your body. And while it is mostly found in a variety of topical skincare products, it is ranked among the best supplements for nails especially in people with naturally dry skin.
Oral intake of hyaluronic acid, for example, has been observed to be quite critical in improving the level of one's skin moisture which then translates to smoother, longer and stronger nails in the long run. Topical application of hyaluronic acid works just as well as any decent moisturizer in supporting nail health.
Collagen is, without a doubt, the most abundant and abound protein in the human body. It is almost as if it is omnipresent in almost anywhere that you look. As such, it is also not surprising that it is one of the most popular and very important supplements thanks to the critical role that it plays in the production of keratin. What's more, collagen also works alongside elastin to keep your skin youthful and tight.
On top of this, dermatologists believe that taking collagen supplements regularly aids in reversing the signs of ageing and improving skin elasticity and hydration. And when you also add the fact that collagen's unique antioxidant properties tend to be protective against the injurious activity of free radicals, you can start appreciating why supplementation is important if you want to protect your hair against progressive damage.
As far as the health of your nails goes, well-formulated collagen supplements have proven to be quite a gem in reducing nail brittleness or frequency of breakages and boosting the rate of your nail's growth rate.
Horsetail is a nail health supplement based on a fern that contains silica. Silica, in case you are not aware, is a potent antioxidant that aids in shielding our bodies against cellular damage that is triggered by free radicals. Intrinsically, its highly dependable antioxidant properties can aid in the reduction of hair shedding and boosting of one's hair volume when combined with an array of other effective ingredients such as vitamin A, D and biotin.
And into the bargain, topical use of horsetail has been observed to aid in the treatment of nail psoriasis This is a chronic condition that is typically manifested by having discoloured and brittle nails and if you are not careful it can deal a hefty blow to the aesthetics of your nails.
In Closing - The Takeaway
While eating a balanced diet that is teeming with plenty of fruits, complex carbs, quality protein sources and vegetables is important for your nail's health, it is not enough to have strikingly beautiful and strong nails. That's the reason it’s imperative to supplement your diet with additives that can bridge this gap. And alongside this, adding a nail soak session to your daily or biweekly grooming regimen can pay some handsome nail dividends in the long run too.