Your nails are composed of small keratin cells. Several factors -- such as water exposure, chemicals, weather changes and poor nutrition -- can damage or destroy keratin cells and dry out your nails. Dry nails may peel, crack and break. You can apply several remedies to treat and repair dry nails -- and take precautions to prevent them from drying out at all.
Wear Gloves for Chores
Repeated exposure to water and the chemicals in cleaning products is harsh on your nails. Protect them by wearing rubber gloves for household chores or any other activity that may be stressful on the nails.
Take a Break From Chemicals
Look for nail polishes free from formaldehyde, and don't use nail polish removers containing acetone if you don't have to. These chemicals can strip nails of moisture. Try to keep your nails free from polish one day a week, and make sure your frequently moisturize your bare nails.
Apply a hand cream or cuticle oil multiple times a day to keep your hands soft and also to prevent your nails from peeling. Keep hand cream in your purse and at your bedside as a reminder to apply it frequently.
Keep Nails Short
The longer your nails are, the more likely they are to crack or break. Clipping and filing nails smooth to a short shape helps prevent breaks and snags.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Nutrition plays a big role in nail health. Dry and brittle nails can be sign of a nutritional deficiency. Eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and protein. Make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Consider taking a biotin supplement, which improves the thickness of nails and prevents splitting.
Try an At-Home DIY Nail Soak
You can create your own at-home DIY nail soak to help keep your nails moisturized and healthy.
Gently buff your nails to create a smooth surface.
Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of jojoba oil into the small bowl. Add several drops of lavender essential oil. Jojoba oil penetrates and deeply moisturizes the nails, and the lavender oil soothes any peeling or brittleness.
Soak nails in the oil for 10 to 15 minutes, carefully massaging the oil into each nail and cuticle.
After soaking, gently wipe away excess oil with a damp cloth.
Apply a moisturizing hand cream to seal and lock in moisture.
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Meg Owen is a busy mom who loves all things beauty. With features in The Huffington Post and on national television, she is dedicated to helping others find fabulous. When she's not chasing her two girls, Meg writes for her blog, Meg O. on the Go.