Fingernail 911

fingernails_care1No, those aren’t my fingernails in the photo. I wish! At the moment, I wouldn’t dream of taking a photo of my fingernails; they’re a complete and utter disaster.

Now I rarely have absolutely gorgeous nails. I simply can’t afford to get regular, professional, manicures, so have to rely on my own skills, which can be fairly limited. But generally, they’ll pass.

However, over the last few months, it seems as if everything is conspiring to completely destroy my nails. The cold, dry, winter weather is always a problem for my nails, and this year it seems especially bad.

This week I realized that I’ve been doing a few stupid things that are also damaging a couple of my nails. Chief among these sins, is the recent habit I’ve developed of opening tiny cans of catfood for my cat Princess, by putting pressure on my thumbnail. Oops!

Suddenly, I have little cracks in several fingernails, and every time I think they’re starting to grow back, another crack or ridge appears.  And those little cracks (despite how well I file them down) seem to attract stray strings and threads from the gloves and mittens I have to wear, causing even more damage.

I know our diet and fluid intake can also have an influence on fingernails, and have read all the connections between illness and nail disorders. This really doesn’t seem to be the case.  It seems to be a case of nail abuse, and evil cold dry weather, but just in case, I’ve even upped my fluid intake (and its pretty high already).

So, I’m desperate! Are there any good products you use that keep your nails healthy? Any routines that you have (aside from seeing a professional) that I could adopt?


9 thoughts on “Fingernail 911

  1. Jean

    I am so not the person to go to, because my nails are a terror. Ridges, nail-picking, catching on all sorts of fabric that really deserve marble hands – I never get manicures because I dread what the manicurist will say. Or not. Maybe they’ll just maintain very disapproving airs while trying to make the best of a bad job.

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  2. MarissaB

    LinnieGayl, do you take calcium or a multivitamin? I notice that when I fail to take my calcium supplement for even just a week, my nails are weaker. If you want to start taking calcium, be sure and buy a supplement that already includes magnesium, which assists in the absorption of the calcium. Good luck.

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  3. Missie

    Linnie, I sympathize. I tend to have troublesome nails, as well. Here are some fairly simple things that I’ve found that help:

    — Healthy fats are good for your nails and your skin, so while it’s recommended that we all watch our fat intake, do make sure that you’re not curtailing fats too much.

    — Sally Hanson products really are a good product for troubled nails and are relatively affordable. Try keeping at least a clear polish on your nails at all times — that will help with the snagging and breakage. Reapply on the tips (where polish tends to wear off first) as needed. That step alone should help the state of your nails improve greatly.

    — Use a cuticle remover/cuticle cream as per the package directions and push back the cuticle with a cuticle stick before applying nail polish. Or, at the very least, apply a rich lotion/cream to your cuticle/nail bed and let that soften up the cuticle so that you can push it back before polishing your nails. Also, swipe over your nails with some nail polish remover (if your nails are fragile, I suggest using one that is acetone-free) to remove any oil/soap residue before applying polish.

    — Use a dull knife or some such to pry open the lid to Princess’s food. ;-)

    — Sally Hansen has a Vitamin E oil in a bottle with a nail brush. Brushing that on your nails/nail bed at least once a day and letting it soak in as much as possible should help moisturize your dry, brittle nails. You could also brush some on just a bit before you shower, then let the warm shower help it all soak in.

    — The quickest and easiest way I’ve found to heal a sore cuticle is to apply a BandAid with some triple antibiotic ointment on it at night, before going to bed. Nearly always, no matter how sore or even bloody it is, by the next morning it is pain-free and almost healed. If not, I just keep it bandaged (with a fresh bandage) for the day, as well.

    Hope these tips help you! If I think of any other simple things, I’ll let you know.

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  4. Missie

    Oh, and here’s another relatively easy thing to do if your hands/nails are really rough and dry:

    — Gather together petroleum jelly (Vaseline), liquid hand soap, and an exfoliant scrub — either a body scrub that you would use in the shower, or salt or cornmeal.

    — Turn water on to warm.

    — Grab a healthy dollop of petroleum jelly and rub all around and into your hands.

    — Grab a dollop of exfoliant scrub and rub that all in and around your hands.

    — Apply a squirt of gentle liquid soap and rub all that around and in your hands.

    — Place hands under warm running water and wash away the soap, scrub, and petroleum jelly.

    — Dry hands gently and apply your favorite hand cream.

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  5. LinnieGayl

    MarissaB, thanks. I haven’t been taking my calcium quite as regularly as I should.

    Missie, excellent suggestions. I sense a trip to a store to pick up some of those products coming on.

    Thank you!

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  6. Judith

    If you can afford it, get a gel-laquer from a professional manicurist – OPI “Soak Off” is the one I got. Lots of colors, from pale to bold, pick one you can live with, as the gel laquer is “baked” with ultraviolet light, and does not come off. It’s not as thick as gel nails, but does leave a slight ridge when growing out. But you can get the same color nail polish to fill in at the base of the nail, and it is just hard enough to protect your nails and allow them to grow out. I had one in December, and it is still protecting my nail tips, despite having grown (and been filed off by me).

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  7. Tee

    Just came across this article on Fingers and Toes on the MSNBC page (Feb 17), LinnieGayl. Thought you may be interested in it considering your article. When I was reading it, I immediately thought of you. Here’s just one sentence from it:

    “Believe it or not, the health of your fingers and toes could be a preemptive clue as to the health of your heart. Fingernails and toenails that split, flake or peel could be a sign that you are blood deficient — even if labs show you aren’t anemic,” Burris said.

    Link is below–

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