Strong as nails!
September 13, 2004 12:20 PM   Subscribe

Recently I mangled up some of my fingernails doing manual labor. I've clipped and filed them as best I can, and now I'm just waiting for them to grow out a bit so I can clip off the jagged edges completely. Is there anything I can eat/drink to make my fingernails grow faster/stronger?
posted by scarabic to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
gelatin, vitamin a foods, and the guarantee: prenatal vitamins
i reccommend tea tree in moisturizer or antibacterial cream
or liquid bandages. disturbingly effective for cuticles.
posted by ethylene at 12:24 PM on September 13, 2004

Go get yourself some Biotin at the vitamin boutique. I started taking it to make a horrific haircut grow out faster, but suddenly discovered I was talon-woman. My nails have *never* grown so fast.

Also, upping your protein intake seems to work too.
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:29 PM on September 13, 2004

I asked my resident nail expert, she said "keep your cuticles pushed back (apparently nails don't like to associate with unruly cuticles--and who can blame them) also, where possible, tap your fingernails on a hard surface to stimulate growth. With your situation the latter may or may not be possible. If it is, I recommend learning the drum solo from Inna Gadda Davida.
posted by m@ at 1:01 PM on September 13, 2004

i've heard about that tapping thing, does that really do anything?
posted by ethylene at 1:05 PM on September 13, 2004

m@, your resident nail expert is wrong on both counts. Nails are dead cells - you can't exercise them anymore than you can exercise your hair. Tapping at best won't do any good and at worst will break down the nail.

I've also read that cuticles are basically a seal protecting a matrix where the nail cells grow. Paula Begoun (consumer advocate for all things beauty related) actually advocates not pushing the cuticles back at all - she says it makes her nails much stronger. I tried it for a year, and didn't notice any difference, so I went back to pushing back my cuticles. It really hasn't made any difference either way.
posted by orange swan at 1:14 PM on September 13, 2004

Which part is the cuticle? The skin near the sides of the nail? The attached base of the top of the nail? The underside of the tip of the nail? All?
posted by scarabic at 1:19 PM on September 13, 2004

Alfalfa tablets (I suppose alfalfa in any form really). I had tried the gelatin route, as it worked wonders for my mom's nails. It did little to nothing for mine. On the other hand, I started taking alfalfa tablets at the recommendation from a friend (detoxes the liver and helps remove heavy metals from your body). I have never had such hard and fast growing nails (mine suck badly). I mean FAST too. So not only did I have nice nails for once, I also felt better thanks to the detox qualities of alfalfa.
posted by Orb at 1:47 PM on September 13, 2004

Nails are dead cells - you can't exercise them anymore than you can exercise your hair.

Ummm, no, you can't exercise the nails but this activity does stimulate the nail bed and promotes growth. As for the cuticles, it's what she learned in "professional take care of people's nails school" and she's sticking by it.
posted by m@ at 1:56 PM on September 13, 2004

um, you're both right, some people are helped by nail bed stimulation, but i think people who do things to their cuticles often go too far and cause damage, leaving the nail bed open for infection. it's best to leave them alone, but it is all very individual. mine are thin and dry and my nails are thin but not brittle.
like orb says, things like detoxifiers, tonics and things that help the body flush at a higher rate will accelerate things over all.
posted by ethylene at 2:23 PM on September 13, 2004

Greens Plus does that a little.
posted by Succa at 2:33 PM on September 13, 2004

I recently busted up a nail too and I can definitely recommend using liquid bandages for protecting everything until things heal up enough to trim things smooth.

Can't speak to what would make things grow out faster. My nails grow fast enough as it is.
posted by ursus_comiter at 2:57 PM on September 13, 2004

Is a liquid bandage the same as a drop of superglue?
posted by scarabic at 8:18 PM on September 13, 2004

More like nail polish, really.
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:15 PM on September 13, 2004

Greens Plus does that a little.

I see that that's actually available in Korea. Can anyone (Succa? Bueller? Anyone?) recommend the stuff? I need all the Green help I can get!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:01 AM on September 14, 2004

Vitamin E capsules. Break one every night and smear the goop on all your nails and cuticles (it's very sticky so do it right before bed after taking out contacts, etc.). I did this regularly in my teen years. I have never had such strong nails since, or have been able to grow them so long. Once I even bent a nail horribly (flipped it inside out) and after the initial *ouch*, popped it back into place and it was like nothing ever happened - no break, no bend line, nothing.
posted by Melinika at 6:36 AM on September 26, 2004 [1 favorite]

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