Growing a set of healthy nails can be a challenge. This is especially true if one of the nails was lost to due to an accident, or a session of overzealous biting. Nails grow from an area under the cuticles known as the matrix, which is a living part of your nail bed. As the nails grow, older sections become hardened and are pushed out. This become the white section of finger and toe nails. There are several ways to help a nail stay strong and regrow.
Moisturize the nails with hand lotion daily and after hands are washed. This will keep the nails supple, which will help prevent cracking and drying.
Apply nail polish once a week. This will provide moisture for the nails while giving them a protective coating.
Avoid using your nails to open soda cans or dial phones. Instead, use your knuckle or a pen.
Regularly trim the nails with fingernail clippers and clean underneath them daily. Keep them relatively short and remove any broken or cracked section immediately. Longer, damaged nails can snag on fabric or garments, causing the nail to break. Nails can also be shaped and smoothed with a nail file as well.
Avoid the use of nail polish remover that contains acetone. According to the Mayo Clinic, acetone can dry out the nails, causing them to break more easily.
Wear rubber gloves when washing dishes or working with harsh cleaning products. Hot water and chemicals can cause the nails to break and peel. Gloves should also be worn when gardening to reduce the risk of infection and breakage.
Avoid biting your nails. This is unhygienic and can cause damage that may remain for several months, as it can take four to six months for a nail to regrow completely.
Apply a nail hardener to the finger and toe nails. These hardeners will help strengthen weak, peeling nails and are applied the same way as normal colored nail polish.
Avoid nail hardeners that contains chemicals such as formaldehyde and toluene, as both can cause redness and irritation of the skin.
According to the Mayo Clinic, vitamins and dietary supplements that claim to strengthen and regrow nails are ineffective.