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3 Reasons Your Nails Are Dry and Brittle
Image Credit Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

With the swift arrival of Spring, you're looking forward to letting your hands (and toes!) show your colourful personality. Manicure and pedicures are certainly soothing, but a good reason to turn down the service and do-it-yourself at home is that you can gain absolute control over what you're putting on your nails. Today, we're discussing 3 major reasons why your nails aren't looking as healthy as you’d like—and ways to manage the damage so that you’re back on your way to attractive nails. 

 

Broken Nails Caused by Exposure to Water

Nails consist of layers of a protein called keratin. Serving as protective shields for the tips of your hands and toes, they, like your skin, need moisture and nutrients to be healthy and strong.

However, when exposed frequently to water, nails expand. Once they dry, they contract. Frequent expansion and contraction results in nail damage. This is why your nails tend to suffer from breakage and dryness when you're doing things requiring water or wet conditions on the hands, such as cleaning, working with clay, culinary duties, beach vacations, gardening, and much more. 

Applying nail oils before and after the activity helps prevent chipping and fraying. Choose rich emollient plant oils or butter-based lotions. Rubbing creams gently from the cuticle over the whole nail helps bring back its shine and creates a protective oil barrier before the activity. After a day's work, repeat the process to shield micro-cracks from external pollutants and lock moisture in your parched nails. 

 

Nguvu SheaCare

Lemongrass Shea Body Butter

£13.00 | 195 ml / 6.9 oz

All of the goodness of pure shea butter, with the benefits of additional oils. Made with rich, unrefined Shea, this body butter is thick, creamy, and moisturising. With additional Vitamin E, Coconut, and Lemongrass oil, this butter penetrates deep into the skin, leaving you moisturised and glowy all day, with a fresh citrus scent! Use for softened, stronger nails.

 

Adesha Beauty

Mango & Pineapple Cream

£16.50 | 120 ml / 4 oz

This Vegan Mango & Pineapple Cream smells tropical and sweet, enriched with Mango Butter and Vitamin E. It is light, creamy and highly moisturising. The high vitamin content protects the skin and hands against harsh environmental damage. This butter acts as a conditioner and nourishes the skin and nails, leaving it supple and glowing.

 

LOG Cosmetics

Cuticle Oil

£6.99 | 15 ml / 0.5 oz

This cuticle oil contains a blend of natural oils including Sweet Almond Oil and Argan that work well with Vitamins A and E to soften and moisturise the cuticles. This formula helps restore the natural moisture of your nails.

 

Terres d'Afrique

Organic Coconut Oil

£33.00 | 180 ml / 6 fl oz

Terres d’Afrique deep-conditioning coconut oil is solid at room temperature but melts on contact with body heat. It’s easily absorbed into the skin, leaving it soft and smooth, with a slight natural sheen. Because it contains an abundance of medium chain triglycerides (natural fats), this organic coconut oil acts as both a deep penetrating nourishing oil, as well as a protective barrier against environmental and free radical damage.

 

Cracks Forming from Pressure and Friction on Nails

Many sports activities can leave the toenails in a rough state. Running as part of team sports or marathon training can lead to ingrown toenails. Tight climbing and bouldering shoes press on the nails, causing cracking and undesirable splitting. Ballet pointe shoes help direct the weight of the body onto the right part of the toes, but as this pressure is transferred through the toenails, nails will crack. 

Wearing tight shoes or heels for a long day may also be enough to destroy a toenail. Pointed, limited toe space may lead to ingrown toenails, as those cramped conditions cause nails to grow inward into the skin. 

Give your feet a break by going barefoot or wearing sandals that allow the toe joints to spread during resting hours. This is important for your overall posture and health and allows your toenails to breathe!

Before engaging in an activity that involves pressure on the toes, trim them. This prevents longer nails from digging into parts of the toe and causing ingrown toenail injuries. Further, by removing excess nail length, any pressure from the sports activity will spread directly into the foot's muscles and through the joints and bones as desired, sparing your nails from breakage. 

Sports tape can support the toe joints and help reduce damage to the toenails by reducing friction between the toes, the toe box of your sports shoe, and the skin. Look for tape designed for athletic purposes and tape a thin layer around the toe that's previously experienced damage during the activity. The layer should feel firm but not too tight and not reduce mobility over any joints that need to move during the activity. 

Finally, for regular sports, you may already know you have to keep those calluses as they prevent chafing and open wounds, but this isn’t a curse. Keep those toenails short and fresh (and healthy) with a layer of natural lacquer, and you can still rock cute sandals for spring without sacrificing long term nail health. 

LOG Cosmetics

Nutri

£6.99 | 15 ml / 0.5 oz

LOG Nutri nails treatment is deep nutrition, a quenching programme for nails. You’ll notice in 3 weeks, how your nails get back to their healthiest virgin quality: strong, silky smooth and protected. It contains an extra smoothing complex to seal down Keratin cells.

 

VIL Wellness

Hair and Nail Patches

£54.99 | 32 Patches

These Hair and Nail Patches are slow-release adhesive patches applied directly onto the skin. Through the provision of a slow yet steady supply of essential vitamins and nutrients for up to 24 hours, the Patches are a highly effective means of delivering beneficial B Vitamins and Folic Acid directly into the body.

 

Emery Nails

Fawn | Matte Collection

£8.00 | Colour: Rose Pink

Fawn is a light-tone hue. It is one of Emery Nails' most popular and complimented colours and has a soft rose pink undertone. Emery Nails' cruelty-free luxurious crème formula is easy to apply, long-lasting and finished in a cool frosted matte finish.

 

Stressed Nails Caused by Toxic Ingredients and Lack of Nutrients

Lack of nutrients can lead to unsightly nails. Stressed nails experience all the signs of physical nail damage, including brittleness, dryness, cracking, pain, sensitivity, yellowing and dullness, but without exposure to factors like water expansion or extreme pressure. 

An iron or protein deficiency can result in weak nails, as can a lack of B-complex vitamins such as B12, calcium, biotin, hydrochloric acid or zinc. 

Using the wrong kinds of nail lacquers on the fingernails and toenails are also a major cause. The top 9 toxic ingredients found in most drugstore nail polishes are: formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), formaldehyde resin, camphor, xylene, ethyl tosylamide, parabens, and acetone. 

Formaldehyde can react with the keratin in your nails, causing them to turn yellow. Generally, nail polishes have the effect of drying out and weakening the nail, which can sometimes lead to an unhealthy cycle of using nail polish as a replacement for a weaker nail. But this only exacerbates the problem. 

Acrylic nails cured under UV light (both gel and Shellac) may last longer but can cause serious damage, especially if removed with the filing method. This thins out the nails, making them less capable of protecting the vulnerable nail bed. Even when filing isn't done, the extremely high acetone deeply dries out the nails, causing an undesirable propensity for cracking after you've left the salon. 

Instead of using toxic chemicals that only damage your nails (and also cause untold harm to the environment), opt for nail polishes made without toxic ingredients. 

 

LOG Cosmetics

Speedy Dry

£7.99 | 15 ml / 0.5 oz

LOG Cosmetics' Super Dry formula is a fast drying top coat that dries up to four coats of nail enamel to a high gloss shine in less than three minutes. It contains Etocrylene - a UV inhibitor that prevents nail discolouration and works as a protective sealer. 

 

NASH + PINO

Carpe Denim

£12.00 | Colour: Cobalt Blue

Wear this blue nail lacquer whilst seizing the day! Toluene, Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, Dibutyl Phthalatem, Xylene, TPHP, Parabens, Fragrances and Phthalates.

 

Kure Bazaar 

Essenziale | Nail Polish

£15.00 | Colour: Toned-down Blush Colour with a Hint of Peach

Detox your nails in colour! The Kure Bazaar Nail Lacquer preserves the vitality of your nails respecting their natural cycle of regeneration. Vitamin E and Bamboo strengthen and repair your nails. Impeccable resistance and ultra-shine are yours with this Kure Bazaar nail polish.

 

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