Many of us have always heard that drinking enough water can make nails grow stronger and healthier. But is it true? Is H2O the magic formula to achieve perfect nails? The answer is both yes and no.
How much water consumption contributes to nail strength varies significantly from person to person. Let’s dive into the science of nails and understand the relationship between water and nail growth.
The science behind water and nail growth:
The human body is made up of 70% water, and like all other organs, nails need water to stay hydrated and healthy. Drinking enough water can help improve blood circulation which promotes healthy nail growth. Lack of water can lead to brittle and dry nails that break easily.
However, drinking water alone does not guarantee strong nail growth. In order to enhance the benefits of drinking water, you also need to maintain a healthy diet that includes foods rich in vitamins and minerals that are essential for nail health. Some of these essential vitamins include vitamins A, B, C, D, and E.
Can Hydration Lead to Stronger Nails?
The truth is, our nail strength is based on the minerals found in our body and how well we absorb them. Proper hydration is necessary to distribute minerals and nutrients to our nails properly. If you’re not well-hydrated, your nails may become dry and brittle, leading to weak nails. Thus, drinking the recommended amount of water can lead to better nail health, but it might not be the only factor.
Here are some minerals that are essential for nail health:
- Biotin: Biotin, often referred to as Vitamin H, assists in the production of collagen, which is the primary protein found in nails and is responsible for strengthening and healthy nail growth.
- Iron: Iron deficiency can lead to ridges and brittle nails. Consuming Iron-rich food and a well-balanced diet can promote healthy nail growth.
- Zinc: Zinc plays a significant role in nail growth and formation. Zinc is also an essential mineral for strengthening the body’s immune system.
Can Soaking in Water Promote Nail Growth?
Contrary to popular belief, soaking your nails in water for too long might cause the nails to become weaker, especially if you use hot water. Nails should not be exposed to water for more than five minutes. However, there are times when soaking nails in water can be beneficial, such as giving yourself a manicure.
Here’s how you can soak your nails correctly:
- Add olive oil: Add a few teaspoons of olive oil to warm water for added nourishment.
- Use room temperature water: Make sure the water is lukewarm, not hot, sore the fingers might become uncomfortably hot in the water.
- Add Epsom salt: Mixing Epsom salt with the water you soak your nails in can help strengthen the nails.
- Soak one hand at a time: Avoid soaking both hands at the same time. This could cause unwanted bacterial growth and lead to an infection.
Does Drinking Water Make Nails Grow Faster?
The speed of nail growth varies from person to person. There are generally no scientifically-backed supplements or vitamins that promote faster nail growth. Drinking water may not directly help make nails grow faster. However, maintaining the right level of hydration can directly impact nail quality.
Here are some benefits of drinking water for nail health:
- Hydrates the nails: Drinking enough water helps keep the nails hydrated and prevents them from becoming dry and brittle.
- Promotes the growth of healthy nails: drinking water promotes proper distribution of vitamins and minerals essential for healthy nails.
- Helps prevent nail discoloration: Drinking water can reduce nail discoloration, which may be caused by factors such as smoking, poor blood circulation, or overuse of cosmetics.
Does Water Consumption Affect Nail Health?
Water intake is essential for overall health. If your body is not getting the recommended amount of water, your nails may become dry, brittle, and weak. As a result of dehydration, they may become prone to breakage and peeling.
Here are some signs of dehydration to look out for:
- Dry and cracked nails: Brittle and cracked nails indicate that the nails lack moisture.
- Pale nails: If your nails are translucent, it’s a tell-tale sign of dehydration.
- Nail discoloration: Discolored nails, particularly yellowish-green nails, indicate that the nails are unhealthy.
- Hangnails: Dehydrated nails can lead to hangnails, which are painful and can result in infection.
Essential Nutrients for Nail Growth
Apart from water, there are other essential nutrients that our nails require for growth and health. These nutrients include vitamins A, B, C, and E, iron, calcium, biotin, and protein. A balanced diet that contains these nutrients can help improve the condition of our nails and promote their growth.
Here are some of the foods that are rich in these nutrients:
- Vitamin A – carrots, sweet potatoes, and spinach
- Vitamin B – lentils, whole grains, and bananas
- Vitamin C – oranges, kiwi, and bell peppers
- Vitamin E – nuts, seeds, and olive oil
- Iron – red meat, spinach, and lentils
- Calcium – dairy products, green leafy veggies, and almonds
- Biotin – eggs, nuts, and sweet potatoes
- Protein – meat, fish, beans, and lentils
What Should I Avoid Doing To My Nails?
There are certain things you should avoid doing to keep your nails healthy:
- Don’t use harsh chemicals on them: Harsh chemicals such as acetone or bleach can damage the surface of your nail bed and weaken them over time. If you need to remove polish from your fingernails or toe-nails, use an acetone-free remover instead.
- Don’t cut cuticles too deeply: Cutting cuticles too deeply can cause infection so be sure not to go too deep when trimming them back with clippers or scissors.
- Don’t use metal tools on them: Metal tools such as tweezers or cuticle pushers should be avoided when dealing with delicate areas around the nail bed as they can cause damage if used incorrectly.
Other Factors That Contribute to Nail Health
While drinking water and keeping hydrated is vital for healthy nails, it isn’t the only factor. A well-balanced diet, proper grooming, and hygiene also contribute to nail health. Regular visits to the nail salon, such as getting manicures or pedicures, can also help maintain healthy and strong nails. Using hand sanitizer frequently can lead to dryness, so it’s essential to keep your hands moisturized with cream and cuticle oil.
Here are some ways to maintain healthy nails:
- Trim your nails regularly: Keeping your nails short and clean can prevent bacteria growth and promote healthy nail growth.
- File your nails: Gently file your nails to get rid of snags or chips, preventing them from getting snagged on clothing or other objects.
- Use gloves: Use gloves while washing dishes or cleaning to avoid exposing nails to harsh chemicals or detergents.
- Avoid nail biting: One of the worst habits that can damage nails is nail-biting. Break this habit to prevent bacteria growth and nail infection.
While the relationship between water intake and nail health isn’t a direct one, drinking enough water is essential for maintaining overall health, including nail health. Healthy nails require various minerals and nutrients, including biotin, iron, and zinc. Drinking water helps distribute minerals and vitamins to the nails properly.
Soaking nails in water can promote healthy nails if done correctly, but over-soaking can lead to weak nails. Maintaining a well-balanced diet, keeping the nails clean and well-groomed, and regular visits to the nail salon can also significantly contribute to nail health. Now that you know the importance of hydration and healthy habits for nail health, keep drinking water and following these tips to achieve strong and healthy nails.
1. Is drinking water the only factor that helps strengthen nails?
No, drinking water alone is not enough to strengthen nails. Nails require various minerals and nutrients such as biotin, iron, and zinc, which are essential for nail growth and health. A well-balanced diet that includes these nutrients is necessary to promote healthy nail growth.
2. How much water should I drink per day for healthy nails?
The recommended amount of water intake per day is 8-10 glasses or around 2 liters. Drinking enough water can help keep the nails hydrated, prevent them from becoming dry and brittle, and promote healthy nail growth.
3. Can over-soaking nails in water lead to weaker nails?
Yes, over-soaking nails in water can cause them to become weaker, especially if the water is hot. To avoid this, make sure to soak nails in lukewarm water for no more than five minutes. For added nourishment, you can add a few teaspoons of olive oil or Epsom salt to the water.
4. Can hand sanitizer affect nail health?
Frequent use of hand sanitizer can cause dryness, which can lead to brittle and weak nails. To prevent this, it’s essential to keep hands moisturized with cream and cuticle oil. It’s also a good idea to avoid using nail polish remover frequently, as it can dry out the nails.
5. Can changing my diet help improve the condition of my nails?
Yes, a well-balanced diet that includes foods rich in vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, B, C, and E, iron, calcium, biotin, and protein, can help improve nail health. Consuming iron-rich food and a well-balanced diet can promote healthy nail growth, prevent ridges and brittle nails. A balanced diet along with drinking water can help distribute minerals and vitamins essential to maintaining healthy nails.