Nails; one thing you can get into shape without exercise…
Healthy nails were something I took for granted until I started developing issues like white marks (indicating a zinc deficiency), a yellow tinge, and proneness to breakage; from weak and brittle nails.
Fun fact: Almost any nutritional deficiency can affect the growth of our nails in some way.
Scientists can actually tell if someone has high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in their body, or even diabetes, by reading fingernails. Brittle nails can even be a sign of hypothyroidism, and 50% of people suffering with psoriasis have nail issues connected with skin inflammation.
Nails will absorb whatever is put on them, so using a toxic nail polish can cause the top layer of the nail to dry out, welcoming bacteria, yeast, and mould underneath fingernails. Manicures, nail polish remover, or too much nail polish can also lead to brittle nails.
To protect nails, Wellness Mama recommends:
– Alcohol-based hand sanitizers dry out the hands, as does chlorine from swimming pools. A homemade hand sanitizer is a better option.
– Frequent hand-washing helps prevent the spread of pathogens, but it also dries out hands. Be sure to use lotion after washing hands.
– Gloves can be worn while doing the dishes or cleaning. This keeps hands dry to prevent nails getting soft and tearing.
– Dry winter weather takes a toll on nails. Another reason to apply cuticle cream religiously!
– Use a glass nail file instead of an emery board. It’s gentler on nails.
– Cut nails after showering, when they’re softer and less likely to break.
– Avoid artificial nails to allow the nail bed to receive necessary airflow.
-Avoid wearing nail polish for extended periods of time to allow the nail to “breathe.”
– Try a natural nail polish remover without acetone.
– Use a non-toxic nail polish and avoid the most harmful chemicals.
One of the most common causes of yellow nails is from fungal infections. Essential oils like orange, patchouli, geranium, and peppermint essential oil have been found to work well in fighting bacteria and fungi.
Lavender and tea tree both contain strong antibacterial and antifungal properties. However, if nails become worse, consult with your natural health practitioner.
Protein is a necessary nutrient for nails as they’re primarily made up of keratin, but some other essential nutrients needed by nails include:
- Zinc – White marks on nails can either be a sign that you knocked them a few weeks back, or that you may have a zinc deficiency
- Biotin – As well as other B vitamins
- Vitamin C
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Calcium – Particularly when paired with vitamin K2
- Vitamin A
DIY Natural Cuticle Cream
Cuticles are actually part of the skin that helps protect the nail bed from infection and damage. Fun fact: Nails are made up of the same stuff that makes up your hair, keratin.
This natural cuticle cream uses:
- Coconut oil: Offers antibacterial and moisturising properties.
- Sweet almond oil: Rich in vitamin E, linoleic acid, oleic acid, and helps retain moisture.
- Jojoba oil: More of a wax than an oil, it mimics the skin’s natural sebum (oil), that protects the skin, and promotes acid mantle production on skin; which protects against harmful bacteria.
- Vitamin E oil: Improve nail growth and promote healthier nail colour.
- Lavender essential oil: Very healing for the skin due to its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
- Citrus essential oils: help to soften the cuticle and promote nutrients from other oils to be absorbed by the skin better.
- Myrrh essential oil: Great at preventing fungal infection.
DIY Nourishing Nail Cuticle Cream
- 1 tbsp organic beeswax
- 1 1/2 tbsp organic shea butter
- 1/2 tsp organic almond oil or coconut oil
- 1/4 tsp jojoba oil
- 5 drops vitamin E oil
- 8 drops lavender essential oil
- 5 drops lemon essential oil
- 2 drops myrrh essential oil
- 3 drops tea tree essential oil
- Fill saucepan halfway with water, bring to boil, and perch a heat-proof glass bowl on top to make a double boiler.
- Combine the coconut oil, jojoba oil, shea butter and beeswax together in the bowl, stirring occasionally until the wax has completely melted.
- Remove from heat and add the vitamin E, lavender, lemon and myrrh essential oils, stirring through to combine.
- Immediately transfer mixture to a small container or jar and let it cool at room temperature until firm.
- A little goes a long way, so you only need a pea-size drop to cover both hands. Massage cuticle cream into the nails, cuticles, and skin surrounding the nail. Apply it over polish or onto bare nails.
As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products. It’s important to check with a doctor before taking this or any new product, especially if taking any other medicine or supplement or if pregnant or nursing. Be sure to check ingredients to make sure there is no risk of an allergic reaction.
Do you have healthy, strong nails? What are some of your natural care tips? Share in the comments below.
Lots of love,
Wells, Katie. (January 23, 2019). Natural Nail Care 101: Tips for Healthy Nails. Wellness Mama. Retrieved from https://wellnessmama.com/385581/healthy-nails/
Group, Edward, Dr., DC. (September 18, 2015). 8 Foods High in Zinc – What Are Their Benefits?. Global Healing Center. Retrieved from https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/foods-high-in-zinc/
Kaufman, Caroline, MS, RDN. (January 5, 2018). Foods to Fight Iron Deficiency. Eat Right. Retrieved from https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/preventing-illness/iron-deficiency
Fodstad, Mitch. (January 3, 2018). 10 Foods That Increase Collagen Production. Mauer. Retrieved from https://medium.com/mauer-sports-nutrition/10-foods-that-increase-collagen-production-532255796ff4
Kresser, Chris. (March 22, 2017). Vitamin K2: Are You Consuming Enough?. Kresser Institute. Retrieved from https://kresserinstitute.com/vitamin-k2-consuming-enough/
Steen, Juliette. (12/07/2017). What Foods Contain Magnesium?. Huffington Post. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/07/10/what-foods-contain-magnesium_a_23024245/
Herndon, Jaime, MS, MPH, MFA. (May 24, 2018). 15 Tips for Stronger Nails. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-strengthen-nails#1
Wells, Katie. (February 18, 2019). How to Make a Nourishing Natural Cuticle Cream at Home. Wellness Mama. Retrieved from https://wellnessmama.com/267132/cuticle-cream/
Oliver, Kyra. (August 2, 2017). DIY Cuticle Cream with Lavender & Myrrh. Dr. Axe. Retrieved from https://draxe.com/beauty/cuticle-cream/
Vaughan, Andrea. (Updated: May 23, 2020). Homemade Cuticle Cream. Homemade for Elle. Retrieved from https://homemadeforelle.com/homemade-cuticle-cream/
Daniels Hussar, April. (May 8, 2015). 6 DIY cuticle creams you can make in under a minute. She Knows. Retrieved from https://www.sheknows.com/living/articles/1080366/diy-cuticle-creams/
Goodson, Amy, MS, RD, CSSD, LD. (July 18, 2018). Top 8 Vitamins and Nutrients for Healthy, Strong Nails. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamins-for-nails
DIY: Cuticle Cream. (February 2, 2015). Angela Atkins; Your Health Unbound. Retrieved from https://yourhealthunbound.com/diy-cuticle-cream/
Bryce, Emma. (April 20, 2019). Why Do Our Fingernails Keep Growing Until the Day We Die?. Live Science. Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/65277-why-fingernails-keep-growing.html