Fingernails are mostly composed of keratin, a hardened protein (that is also in skin and hair). As new cells grow in the matrix, the older cells are pushed out, compacted and take on the familiar flattened, hardened form of the fingernail. Therefore, because redheads are extremely sensitive, most combat with dry, brittle nails. We spoke with two leading experts in this field, Dr. David Bank and Karen Baker. Dr. Bank is a Board Certified Dermatologist & author of Beautiful Skin: Every Woman’s Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age & Director of The Center For Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery in Mt. Kisco, NY. And, Karen Baker has been a nail therapist for 10 years, where her specialty is nail care.

We asked Dr. Bank and Karen Baker all sorts of questions to help redheads get healthy nails for good. These are their 10 tips & suggestions for a lifetime of perfect nails:

1. Biotin Supplements:

“To help strengthen weak, brittle nails, in addition to following an overall balanced diet, is to take biotin supplements* in the amount of 2.5 milligrams per day,” said Dr. Bank.

2. Stop Nail Biting:

He continues,”To combat nail biting, which can cause unsightly nails in addition to dry, ragged cuticles, is begin by washing your hands with an antibacterial soap to get rid of any dirt and residue on your hands and in your nails. Then remove any hangnails with a cuticle nipper. Be careful not cut too close to your skin as to create an open wound which can cause an infection. Begin to take pride in your nails!”

3. Stop Cutting Your Cuticles:

“The truth is that cutting your cuticles and leave edges split and ragged which can lead to bacterial infections. You can also damage the nail bed permanently. The sole purpose of the cuticle area to provide a barrier for that part of the finger from water and other bacteria,” says Dr. Bank. “If you are prone to infections, the answer is to nix the clippers and opt for using a cuticle softener or moisturizing cream and pushing your cuticles back with either an orangewood stick or the edge of a towel wrapped around your finger.”

4. Vitamin E:

Dr. Bank also recommends using vitamins to help nails grow. “For the constant care of our cuticles, apply Vitamin E every night to keep them moisturized, healthy and strong.”

5. Wear Gloves:

“To help prevent dry, brittle nails from over-washing and daily water abuse such as washing the dishes, bathing your kids, try wearing gloves. Hot water is very drying on nails.”

6. Wear Fake Nails? Remember this tip.

“Remember to always take the time to give your real nails some room to breathe every few months.” Dr. Bank suggests removing fake nails to give your nails time to gain their health back.

7. Use Cuticle Oil To Give Your Nails Life:

“Use a cuticle oil to prevent hangnails and torn cuticles – make sure the oil is just oil,” Says Karen. “Buff the nail lightly after you apply the oil.”

8. Find a Great Brand of Nail Polish:

Karen suggests finding a nail polish that has less chemicals and is great for those with sensitive skin, like redheads. “Personally, I think one of the best polishes on the market is Zoya. The colors are great and the quality is great for those with allergies. It’s the only polish I can now use.”

RELATED: SEASONLESS, THE BEST NAIL COLORS FOR REDHEADS YEAR-ROUND

9. Use a Hand Scrub:

“Use a scrub on the hands once a week and a mask every two weeks – base it on your skin type. This keeps the hands soft and gets rid of dead skin – especially during the winter,” says Karen.

10. Use A Thick Lotion Around Cuticles:

“Use a lotion or a body butter on the hands depending on the skin type and work it around the cuticles. If you wear polish frequently, you may want to use lotion – sometimes body butter removes the polish sooner,” she concludes.

Rock it like a Redhead! 

*Consult with your doctor to see if Biotin supplements are right for you.
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