Dermatologists' Advice on How to Strengthen Nails

How to strengthen nails might be on your mind if you recently had gel or acrylic nails removed. I can certainly relate: After removing my beloved gel tips, I was horrified to discover how weak and brittle my nails had grown underneath.

Don't worry if you're in a similar situation. Your nails can still be fixed. In fact, I'm happy to report that after adjusting my lifestyle and giving my nails the attention they needed, they've almost fully recovered. Simply give it some time and TLC. It can be done by anyone, yes.

If you compare nails to hair, getting a much-needed trim when your hair is damaged is similar to that. Similar external factors, such as too much water, particularly when it's hot, have a negative impact on both hair and nails.

When working with water, put on gloves.

Cardboard emery boards are popular due to their affordability and speed, but they're not healthy for nails.Dr. Stern says emery boards can cause peeling, onychoschizia, and cracks. "I prefer glass or crystal nail files over cardboard emery boards because they don't cause microscopic tears and create a clean nail edge."

Apply glass nail files.

“In terms of chemical exposures, polish remover is a big one: acetone tends to be especially drying to the nail and can make brittle nails worse,” Dr. Stern tells Glamour. It's best to seek out conditioning formulas that contain soy, and/or have added moisturising benefits from oils.

Choose acetone-free polish remover

Many nail-strengthening products are too good to be true. "Many 'nail strengtheners' still contain formaldehyde or formalin," says Dr. Stern. "Formaldehyde initially hardens the nail, but over time it becomes brittle and can lift off the nail bed."

Formaldehyde-free polish is best.

Dr. Stern advises moisturising cuticles and nails with scientifically proven products. “When looking for a nail and cuticle moisturiser, look for products rich in phospholipids,” she says. "Massage [the product] into your cuticles several times daily, and after each handwash."

Sunflower oil moisturises

Finally, use glycolic acid nail treatments. "This alpha-hydroxy acid has been shown to rejuvenate brittle nails," Dr. Stern tells Glamour. "Glycolic acid breaks down nail keratin disulfide bonds," she says.

Glycolic acid nails

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