Healthier Nails In 3 Months

If you have dry, brittle nails that break easily, it may be time to look at your everyday health habits for some answers. "If your overall health is good, your nails are going to be in good shape, too," says Prospect, KY, dermatologist Tami Cassis, MD.

Dr. Cassis says some of the most common complaints are brittle nails that break, or worse, lift from the nail bed. However, adapting some simple habits can improve the look and health of your nails in a minimum of three months, she says. Here are her tips to start restoring youthful-looking nails now:

- Drink at least eight glasses of water a day and cut back on caffeine and alcohol, which are dehydrating. If you do drink caffeine, Dr. Cassis suggests chasing it with a glass of water. "During the aging process, we don't keep water as long as we should, and our cells are slowly breaking down and not turning over as quickly. That's when you start to see thinning and ridging," she says.

- Keep your nails as short as possible and avoid using them to type or strum on a table, which can cause the nail to lift from the nail bed. Plus, with shorter nails, you're less likely to pick up an infection.

- Get your hormones checked, as low levels can manifest as problems in your nails.

- If your budget allows, see a manicurist every week, but bring your own tools. "It's not to offend, but I want my own stuff touching my nails," Dr. Cassis says. "I tell my patients to make their own goody bag and take it with them."

- Use a vitamin E oil on your cuticles daily and supplement with biotin, which strengthens the nail plate as well as your hair.

- It may not be trendy, but Dr. Cassis suggests against [gel] manicures, which require you to put your nails under an ultraviolet light to set the color and make it last. "There's no reason we want to subject someone to skin cancer for getting a nail treatment done," she says.


Related Links:
Your Manicurist's Dirty Little Secret
Hottest Nail Trends for Spring