If you’ve ever dealt with peeling or breaking nails, you know how tempting it is to pick at them or pull the layers off as they separate.
It can make you want to run to the store and grab every strengthening product you can get your hands on. You want it fixed, and fast!
Obviously resisting the urge to pick is step number one toward a stronger nail situation (go you!).
Step two is using the best nail strengthener in conjunction with good habits, to prevent further damage and encourage healthy new growth.
To get the most from your nail rehab routine, it’s important to understand what makes them weak in the first place. Read on to find out how nails break, how to care for them, and how Maxus Nails products are formulated to help!
Nail Growth 101
To treat and prevent nail weakening, you have to understand what conditions fingernails need to be strong. Let’s start with how strong nails begin, with the growth of new cells.
Fingernails are made up of layers of keratin cells, a protein that’s generated in a part of your nail called the matrix.
Each day your nail’s matrix produces about .1 mm of new keratin cells. You’ll spot them first in the lunula, or the small whitish crescent at the base of each nail. From there, the cells advance each day until they reach the free edge, where they’ll eventually be clipped or filed-- or (eek!) peeled or broken.
Ideally, these layers of keratin stay pretty close together and form a strong nail plate. But sometimes other factors cause problems that result in a separation between the layers, weakening the nail.
So what causes the layers to break down?
Believe it or not, everyday activities are the most likely culprits of nail damage, in ways, most of us don’t even realize.
Think about this: How often do you let your nails soak in the water?
You’re probably thinking “not much,” right?
Okay. But let’s ask it another way: How often do you spend time in the water? You know, swimming, bathing, etc..
Your nails are soaking more often than you think!
Washing dishes, going for a swim, taking a bath, and even washing your hair in the shower exposes nails to water for a prolonged time. Not to mention the soaps we use during these activities can strip the nail’s natural oils.
So how exactly does prolonged water exposure harm your nails?
Water saturates and expands the keratin cells as well as the natural spaces between them. But once your hands dry out, those cells contract and have a hard time returning to their original shape and placement. The layers become stiff and separated, leaving your nails prone to breakage. Yikes!
Of course, there are the more well-known culprits, too: Picking at your polish, forcibly removing nail enhancements, and even using nail polish remover too aggressively or often -- acetone or not! -- can also cause your nails’ keratin layers to separate over time.
Repairing the damage can take months
Once you’ve noticed weakening nails, how soon can you expect to see strength return?
The short answer: As soon as new keratin cells make their way up the nail bed.
If you’ve ever had the misfortune to lose a nail, you know new growth doesn’t come easy or fast.
It can take as long as four months for the damaged layers to grow off the free edge and be replaced by new, stronger cells.
In the meantime, you can still take steps to minimize further damage and care for those new cells growing in by using a nail strengthener and taking steps to correct the problem that caused weakness in the first place. Nail care is self-care!
I know my nails are weak, but how can I tell what’s causing it?
To sort this out, you’ll need to identify the main symptom of your less-than-stellar nail strength: Are you noticing layers peeling off, leaving behind soft tips? Or are your nails brittle and prone to breakage?
If your nails do the bend and snap more often than Elle Woods, dehydration is making them brittle. Wear gloves when you wash dishes, as exposure to water dries them out, and be mindful to give your nails a little extra TLC to make up for all they go through in a typical week!
If softness and peeling are your problems, excess moisture in your nail plate is the cause. Interestingly enough, limiting prolonged exposure to water and soap or other cleaners can help this condition as well.
Whether your nails have too much or too little moisture, start using a nail oil daily. It not only helps replenish natural oils that get stripped away by soap and water but also helps your cells reach and maintain their best moisture level!
Repair and rebuild
While you’re building healthier habits to restore your nail’s optimum oil-to-moisture ratios, your strengthener can get to work!
Maxus Strengthener 2.0 has been reformulated to include bamboo extract, which has been proven to strengthen and support durable nails. It builds strength and is also great for filling in ridges, or covering bare nails!
Strengthener can be applied to damaged or undamaged nails daily, which is good because this is a long game. Remember that it takes several months for the new cells to make their way up the nail plate, so this will take a little patience.
Consistency goes a long way!
Have you tried Strengthener 2.0 yet? Let us know! Share your before and after on Instagram @MaxusNails with the hashtag #MaxusStrong.