The Basics of Healthy Nails

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We do many things to damage and weaken our nails. Washing, working, and general daily activities all seem to reflect themselves in our nails. Exposure to water seems to be the worst culprit as it dries out the nail, leaving it vulnerable to cracks, splits and breakage.

The best solution to recovering healthy nails is using a good nail conditioner. Many products, such as nail hardeners or nail polishes claim to include formulas to strengthen or recondition your nails. While many of these products may act as a protectant, they do little to repair loss of moisture in your nails.

A good nail conditioner to rehydrate your nails will be an oil based product. If you examine your nails, you'll likely notice that not only do the nails look in need of some tender, loving, care but the cuticles are rough looking also. Proper nail conditioning will address problems with both the nail and the cuticles.

Water is very dehydrating for your nails, so using water based treatments will only compound the problem. These quick fixes often camouflage the trouble temporarily but provide no lasting results. Your nails need from eight to sixteen weeks to grow out strong and healthy.

Using a nail oil to rehydrate your nails and cuticles will give you deep penetration and long lasting results. Apply a thin layer to the nails as you would nail polish, being certain to include the cuticle. A nail oil won't look clean and smooth like nail polish, but it's not supposed to.

Before starting to condition, make sure your nails are clean, dry and free of moisturizers, lotions or hand creams you may use. If possible, wait until an hour after your nails have been wet to ensure no water remains, since water naturally repels oil.

Apply the oil to your nails, cuticles and even the underside of your fingernails. Allow it to absorb for at least ten minutes. You can use a finger to massage the oil into cuticles and finger nails. Nail conditioners can be used at least once a day, but two or more times is optimal. If your day is busy, applying the nail conditioner at bedtime will allow it to penetrate and do its job.

In a few weeks, your efforts will show results. Your nails will look healthier, with less breakage and the cuticles will be softer and smoother. Going forward, you should keep a nail conditioner on hand as part of your nail care regime, and keep your hands and nails in good shape by protecting them from water as much as possible.

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