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6 secrets for healthy nails

How can I prevent my nails from peeling and splitting?

Some people are born with brittle nails, and others’ lose strength as W they get older, but experts are unsure exactly why this occurs, says Paul Kechijian, M.D., clinical associate professor of dermatology at New York University. And while nails need certain vitamins, minerals and protein, Kechijian explains that most people get the essentials from their diet. But there are simple things you can do to keep yours healthy.

* Avoid wraps and artificial nails. While wearing them doesn’t make nails weak, peeling them off does; it removes layers of natural nail.

* Use polish remover no more than once weekly. All polish removers (even the non-acetone variety) contain strong solvents that can dry out nails if used too frequently–particularly if yours are already fragile.

* Apply polish that’s good for your nails. Nail color that contains ingredients like fluoride, protein and calcium may help keep nails strong, according to manufacturer studies.

* Brush on clear hardeners or strengtheners. These help protect nails and fill in weak spots. Try Sally Hansen Get Thicker Multi-Vitamin Nail Builder ($7; at drugstores) or OPI Natural Nail Strengthener ($6;

* Massage in hand cream. Creams help trap moisture, act as a barrier and replace lost oils, making nails more flexible. New favorites: Barielle Ultra Soft Hand Creme SPF 15 ($15; and Vaseline Intensive Care Healthy Hand Essentials Moisturizing Lotion ($4.59; at drugstores).

* File trouble spots. “This keeps splits or jagged edges from catching and tearing, which can make the problem worse.”

Richa joshi