Does it feel like your nails never get beyond a certain length? Most likely, your lifestyle habits or  genes are to blame. According to the Mayo Clinic, our nails grow about a millimeter every day. Nail growth occurs when new cells develop under your cuticle, causing old ones to harden and push out towards the end of your fingers. If this natural process isn't happening for you, try some of the following approaches to give them a boost.

Protect Your Nails

It's common sense that exposing your nails to harsh treatment or chemicals will damage them. If you're not a fan of wearing gloves to do the dishes, then try covering them with a layer of nail hardener or polish to keep the nail bed covered.  Be sure to avoid products that contain toluene sulfonamide, or formaldehyde, since these can be harmful to your skin.

Leave Them Alone

If you're a cuticle picker, know that this habit opens your nail up for an infection that can stop or slow down growth. It can take up to six months for an injury like this to heal. If you bite your nails, the solution is rather obvious. Try keeping them covered with polish which will discourage you from unconscious nibbling.

Let Cuticles Do Their Job

Many of us may like the look of a manicured hand with cut cuticles, but cuticles are there to protect the nail bed from bacteria and infection. When you remove cuticles, you leave the area where nail growth happens susceptible to harmful germs. If you get regular manicures, request that your aesthetician "push back" your cuticles. And make sure the tools touching your nails are sterilized so you don't end up with an infection like hepatitis B or warts.

Get Enough Protein and Calcium

As with every part of your body, you are what you eat. The Mayo Clinic states that while most dietary tactics meant to stimulate nail growth don't work, a lack of protein or calcium will surely stunt nail growth.   

Treat Them Royally

Your nails need moisture and delicate treatment - just like your skin. Only trim them after soaking them in water and oil. Apply moisturizer liberally before bedtime and sleep with cotton gloves. Liberally apply moisturizer and sleep with cotton gloves.  Make sure you're not overusing nail polish remover. Try not to use it more often than every two weeks.

Know When Talk to Your Doctor

Are you following these recommendations and still having problems? Unfortunately, some of us may have a harmless condition which simply makes it difficult to grow long nails. These include vertical ridges, white lines and spots caused by an injury. However, other problems could indicate a problem.  Yellowed nails, nails that are pitted, or clubbed, pale or thin nail beds, and dark and discolored cuticles are signals of a potential health problem. If you have any of these issues, you should see your doctor.



The Mayo Clinic