Q:

How do you harden fingernails?

A:

Vitamin supplements and intensive moisturizers can help harden brittle fingernails. Protecting the nails from caustic substances and trauma can also contribute to overall nail health.

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Vitamin deficiencies, especially in zinc, iron and the B vitamin biotin, can cause brittle nails. Taking a high-quality multivitamin can address any gaps in the diet. Biotin seems to be particularly important to nail health. Soy, mushrooms, oatmeal, bananas and organ meats are excellent dietary sources for the vitamin. The supplement glucosamine may also be beneficial, though findings are still inconclusive.

Intensive moisturizers can also help harden brittle nails, as dehydration is a common cause of brittleness. Regular drugstore moisturizers are beneficial, though some people prefer to use home remedies such as a nail soak in a mixture of egg yolks and milk. Moreover, a new class of nail creams, dubbed super moisturizers, have become popular in nail salons. Rich with ingredients such as shea butter, avocado oil and vitamin E, these creams are applied to the nails and surrounding areas.

Protecting the nails from trauma, excessive water exposure and harsh substances can also help reverse brittleness and contribute to overall nail health. Avoiding lengthy soaks in hot water and hand contact with irritating cleaners and detergents without wearing gloves can help prevent nail damage from external substances.

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