Our grandmothers used to say that you can tell a lady by her hands. And although much has changed over the years, beautiful and healthy nails still attract attention. So perhaps until recently, your talons were a source of pride, meticulously painted at home or by the beautician. Or maybe you didn’t pay attention to them at all, because you didn’t need to. Then a new twist happened – now your nails have become brittle, fragile and it seems as if they’ve become thinner overnight. This could be a sign of a real revolution happening in your body – you’re entering menopause. And although this symptom of perimenopause can be a big and not necessarily positive surprise, don’t break down! There are proven ways to make your nails hard as… nails again.
Seemingly we do not pay attention to them – when we think about our appearance, we focus on the face, figure, and hair. And nails fall into the background. However, when they are in poor condition or neglected – broken, dirty or ragged, we immediately notice them, and sometimes even form an opinion about another person just based on their hands.
But poor nail condition reveals much more than just a bad or good approach to hygiene. These glossy epidermal creations can reflect diseases, disorders and any deficiencies much better than any other part of the body: sometimes it is one of the first symptoms of anaemia or thyroid disorders. However, if nail deterioration goes hand in hand with hot flashes, menstrual irregularities or mood swings, it usually heralds menopause.
As with almost all symptoms associated with menopause, the culprit is one – oestrogen. It’s almost funny that a hormone we don’t think about at all for much of our lives is responsible for so many aspects of our physical and mental health that at some point its fluctuations become our number one topic. During perimenopause, oestrogen levels begin to fluctuate and slowly fall. And this is important, because this hormone is responsible, among others, for the condition of hair and nails, and also for regulating hydration of the body, which is crucial for our overall well-being.
OK, but what can you do to restore your talons to their former glory and make them a source of pride rather than an incentive to hide them in long gloves? Discover our 5 ways to improve the condition of your nails.
1. Zinc, iron and magnesium – an essential trio
Hair and nails suffer from a poor diet in the first place. It’s our litmus paper that indicates if we’re all right. A body that receives few vitamins and minerals tries to spend them rationally. Nails and hair are not necessary to maintain vital functions, so our body tries to “save” on them, and pass on the deficient components to more essential organs. Therefore, invest in good supplements that provide the body with the most important trio in the fight for healthy nails – zinc, iron and magnesium.
A good supplement should also contain several other substances needed for health and good looks, such as vitamins A, C, E or B. In this way, you will provide the necessary support for your body, and at the same time, you will not have to invest in thousands of different products.
2. Nutrition matters
Of course, dietary supplements are an addition – necessary and desirable, but not sufficient in themselves. Vitamins, as well as folic acid and biotin, can help to achieve strong nails and improve the condition of hair and skin. So it’s best to make sure your daily diet includes products like eggs, spinach, nuts, broccoli or tomatoes. Also, vitamin B and phytoestrogens can help, so don’t skimp on dishes with legumes, fish or containing yeast.
3. Stay well hydrated
Did you know that your body consists of up to 70 per cent water? Deficiencies are particularly evident in the condition of your skin and hair, but your nails are also affected by dehydration, which is when they become brittle and fragile. A good idea is to buy a 2-litre jug and fill it first thing in the morning. This way you can better control how much you drink. If the prospect of consuming so much water is unacceptable to you, look for other options: teas, freshly squeezed juices, sugar-free smoothies, herbal infusions (e.g. mint, nettle, horsetail, etc.), dairy drinks (e.g. kefir, natural buttermilk).
Collagen is the protein that “holds” our body together. It is responsible for skin elasticity, hair growth, and connective tissue and acts as a binder in the body. It’s also the main building block of our nails, so deficiencies lead to severely weakened talons. The problem is that after the age of 25 collagen production drops dramatically, so we need to find ways to provide our bodies with this precious protein. Collagen can be found mostly in meat products, but if you’re a vegetarian – no need to worry! There are collagen supplements suitable even for vegans!
5. Protect and care every day
Most of the methods we’ve described above relate to diet – your nails really do reflect what you eat. But there are also ways to protect the nail itself from the outside in. In particular, it’s a good idea to wear protective gloves when washing dishes or doing household cleaning. The chemicals in detergents are a nightmare for your hands. Or just ask your family to clean up the house – it sounds like an even better idea!
Use a nail conditioner too – the choice is huge these days. From colourful, for a glamorous manicure, to completely transparent if you want a more natural effect. Also, try to steer clear of hybrid nails for a while – yes, they look beautiful and gel nails may ‘cover up’ the unattractive look of your natural nail plate, but in the long run, fake nails can weaken your own ones.
As you can see – these are a few simple methods that will allow you to enjoy beautiful hands, and which do not require much effort. And what is important – thanks to these few steps you will improve not only the condition of your nails, but also your hair and complexion, but also your health.