Lately, we’ve discussed the effects of aging on our hair and skin. But have you considered how our fingernails change with age? It’s understandable to feel overwhelmed by yet another aspect of aging to worry about, but there are ways we can help care for our nails. Let me share some information on how nails change as we age. And what we can do to maintain their health.
Growing up, I admired my mom’s beautiful nails that were always painted with nail polish. However, I have struggled to grow my own nails and maintain polish without it chipping or peeling. While I appreciate the look of Gel Polish, I am cautious of its potential damage to my nails.
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Aging Nail Changes
As we grow older, our body gradually reduces the production of keratin proteins, which is the same protein that is essential for our hair. As a result, our nails tend to become weaker, brittle, develop ridges and are more likely to break easily.
Did you know that nail growth tends to slow down as we age? Researchers believe that this is due to a decrease in keratin production. Typically, the average person’s nails grow about 0.1 inches per month. However, by the age of 25, this growth rate begins to gradually decrease.
A healthy nail is smooth and free from any visible pits, ridges, yellowing, or spots. It’s worth noting that small ridges may appear on nails as one ages, but this is considered normal.
Our cuticles undergo changes as we grow older, such as splitting and dehydration. This has been a topic of frequent discussion here, as our body tends to produce less natural oil with age.
Dry and cracked cuticles can result in hangnails which are painful and can cause the cuticles to tear. Cutting the cuticles is not advised by experts as it can cause infections and harm the nail. The cuticle acts as a barrier that protects the nail.
Anti-Aging Nail Treatments
Now that we know our nails haven’t been spared by the aging process, what can we do about it? We have a few suggestions for you.
- Using daily cuticle oil – It’s best to apply it before bedtime to enhance blood circulation, leading to healthier nail growth. Moreover, cuticle oil helps restore the moisture that your nails and cuticles may have lost.
- Use non-acetone polish remover – Using acetone for removing nail polish can cause excessive dryness to the nails and cuticles. On the other hand, non-acetone removers are gentle and nourishing, leaving your nails feeling healthy. Though they may require a bit more effort to remove the polish, they are a better choice for maintaining the health of your nails.
- Stay hydrated – It’s worth mentioning again – drinking your daily water intake is crucial. This not only keeps your hair and skin hydrated but also benefits your nails. We did a blog post on how being dehydrated affects your hair. You can read that here.
- Lotion your hands after washing – With increased hand washing, our skin can become dry. It’s important to replenish the lost moisture by applying hand lotion whenever possible.
- Apply Nail Hardeners – If you’re having trouble with brittle nails that constantly break and refuse to grow, using nail strengtheners and hardeners can be a helpful solution. These products work by adding a protective layer that reinforces the structure of your nails. Additionally, many of them contain vitamins and nutrients that aid in promoting growth.
- When you visit your doctor next, it may be worth mentioning the possibility of trying a biotin supplement.
As we age, our nails may undergo changes, but it’s essential to continue taking care of them. Even though our bodies may produce less oil as we grow older, we can still enhance the appearance and health of our nails by replenishing it.
Have you noticed any differences in your nails as you’ve grown older? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!