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Yikes: These 3 Common Habits Are Getting In The Way Of Strong Nails

1.

Not using cuticle oil.

Cuticle care isn’t just about looks (although, frayed, rough skin does take away from an elevated mani). Your cuticle has an essential function, too: This means when your cuticles are in less than ideal condition (dry, peeling, etc.), that function will be affected as well.

“If the cuticle compromise persists, the nail will eventually grow in irregularly,” board-certified dermatologist and nail expert Dana Stern, M.D., once told mbg. “This is because the cuticle overlies the nail matrix, which is the nail-producing center of the nail.” To sum it up: Cuticle care is essential for thriving, long nails.

So, while cuticle oil might seem like a frivolous addition to your routine, let us be very clear–it’s not. In fact, you should be using it daily. If you don’t have one on hand already, here are 10 A+ oils to choose from.

2.

Getting acrylic tips.

If you’ve been getting acrylic manicures for years, we’re not blaming you for it. A fun acrylic or gel nail moment is A-OK every once in a while. However, you should proceed with caution, as these plastic tips can wreck your nails over time.

“To get the acrylic to stick, your natural nails must be filed down, causing damage and making them weaker. They also aren’t flexible like your natural nails, and if you were to break one, you’re more likely to crack and rip at the nail bed,” organic manicurist Eunice Montes-Hamaguchi says regarding faux nails.

So, while you may not love the look of your short natural nails at first, removing plastic tips and prioritizing nail health is essential for nail growth. Remember: Patience is key.

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3.

Skimping on biotin + collagen intake.

While more research is needed to confirm biotin’s efficacy on nail growth specifically, there has been some evidence to show that biotin supplementation can support healthy nails overall. And if you want to grow long nails that don’t chip, you’ll have to make sure they’re as strong as can be.

Specifically, biotin has been shown to support thickness and firmness of nails1 in human studies. One moderately sized human study found that those who took biotin supplements had 25% thicker nail beds2 than the placebo group.*

In addition, you can look to collagen supplements. Studies indicate that collagen supplements can support healthy nail growth.* That’s because collagen supplements contain hydrolyzed collagen peptides, which are short chains of amino acids.

These amino acids are the building blocks for keratin–aka, what your nails are made of. For example, one study found that when people took collagen daily for 24 weeks, their nail health was better maintained3, including faster growth rates, reduced breakage, and improved appearance.*

To make a long story short: Do your best to consume foods rich in biotin and collagen, and consider supplements a targeted strategy and helping hand–here are some top picks to get you started.

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The takeaway.

If you want to have longer, stronger nails in 2023, then start here: Do your best to opt out of acrylic manicures, always moisturize the cuticle, and don’t overlook the power of nutrients to support nail growth. Want more tips? Check out this guide for 10 more.

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.

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