Tips for Healthy Holiday Nails
By Dr. Phoebe Rich
Painting your nails with festive colors is a fun way to share your holiday spirit. As we enter the season of orange pumpkins, red and yellow turkey feathers, and green Christmas trees, the creative nail options may seem endless. So how do you limit the damage done to your nails among the holiday hustle and bustle? Turns out, it's completely possible to have both festive and healthy nails! Here are some tips on how to keep your holiday nails protected:
1. Wear gloves while you're outdoors in the cold weather. This will minimize excessive exposure of the nails to the harsh elements of winter. The winter season is generally hard on nails because cold and dry climates tend to make nails more brittle, and therefore subject to breaking.
2. Moisturize your nails along with your hands. If you use a heavy moisturizer on your nails several times a day, this will help keep them protected. Try to keep the moisturizer on your skin by reapplying after washing your hands.
3. Limit polish changes to no less than 10 days. It can be tempting to change your polish frequently to match your holiday outfits. But removing and reapplying nail polish too often subjects your nails to dehydration and other associated problems. Using a light or translucent nail color allows for easy touch-ups as opposed to full removal, which extends the duration of your pretty and healthy nails.
4. While salon nail finishes are fine, try to avoid any filing or buffing of the surface of the nail plate. This removes a layer of nail cells and ultimately results in a thinned nail plate, which won't recover until the nail has grown out. It takes six months for a fingernail to grow from the cuticle to the free edge of the nail.
5. Keep nails a bit shorter than usual in the winter in order to minimize breakage.
6. People often believe that a hard nail plate is a sign of nail strength. But hard nails are actually brittle and fragile. Strong, flexible nails are more desirable because hydration allows nails to flex rather than break. Keeping nails moisturized will minimize the dryness and fragility that often occurs in winter. Overall, nails grow slower in the winter than in the summer, so it takes longer for nails to replace damages with healthy regrowth.
7. Eat healthy and include protein! Nails are made of keratin, a fibrous protein, which requires the amino acids that are derived from protein in your diet. During the holidays, it’s easy to indulge in sweet treats. Maintaining a balanced diet with adequate protein will help to keep your nails healthy and strong.
8. Make a New Year’s resolution to wear gloves for all your cleaning and household chores, especially those involving wet products. Hands can become chapped due to excessive hand-washing, cold and dry air, and overexposure to heat. Although nails do not become chapped, these same conditions that cause chapped hands in the winter will impact the overall health of your nails.
Follow these 8 tips for healthy nails this holiday season and you’ll be sure to dazzle your family, friends and guests at your next holiday party!