By now you may have noticed that, with the winter having set in, everything has become significantly more brittle. Everything from your hair to nails has become more fragile and susceptible to damage that might take a while to repair. When it comes to nails, they are one of the more noticeable areas to take on breakage and, in some cases, a more annoying area to take it on. When the temperature drops, the air around us loses moisture and that is just the start of the damage. Nails are made up of flattened dead skin cells containing keratin and, on average, healthy nails contain 18% water. During the winter the moving between hot and cold environments remove even more moisture from your nails and leave them dehydrated. And we all know that dried out nails are more likely to break, split, or chip- all of which are not ideal. Especially after a fresh manicure.
Now, it’s not just the dry air that is making your nails more breakable. This can also be caused by the hot showers we take. The water on our bodies is evaporated into the steam and that includes what little of it absorbed by our nails. Also weakening your nails is the day to day household chores. The chemicals in the cleaning products and dish soaps eat at your nails integrity and add to the problem. Dermatologists recommend using rubber gloves when cleaning. This not only protects your nails but also your skin.
A good first step to keeping your nails healthy is to apply winter hand creams or lotions that are rich in urea. Urea is a humectant that helps hold moisture in the skin. After each hand washing, make it a habit to apply the hand cream and massage it into your cuticles to help stimulate healthy nail growth. At night it isn’t a bad idea to also add rubbing your cuticles with cuticle oil on top of your moisturizing routine. Start by soaking your nails in lukewarm water for 10 minutes max and then apply the oil.
It is then recommended to keep your nails trimmed down. Longer nails are more likely to snag on clothes and cause tears that will ruin the shape of the nail. File your nails two to three times a week to keep them free of snags and cracks. While you should not let your nails go naked in the winter, avoid using nail strengtheners. They are only going to add to the problem of your nails not being able to stand up to elements during the colder seasons. On the same note, watch the nail polish removers you use between color changes. These are just as damaging unless you opt for acetone-free alternatives. It will take a little more effort to get the paint off but will be better for your nails in the end. You can also add Biotin supplements to your diet. Not only will it make your skin and hair healthier but it will make your nails healthier as well.