Nails are the layers of a tough protective protein called keratin, and the growth of them could be affected by factors such as one’s age and health. And illness and certain medications can slow down the speed of nail growth. If you want to know how to grow nails faster, you have to first understand how they grow. Children’s nails grow much faster than adults, and women who are pregnant also experience a faster nail growl due to an increase in hormones that boost metabolism and increase circulation.
How Do Nails Grow?
A nail is produced by skin cells and consists of several parts, the hidden part of the nail under the cuticle is called the matrix, the tissue that overlaps the plate and rims at the base of the nail is called the cuticle, and the whitish half-moon at the base of the nail is called the lunula.
- The matrix: Nails start in the nail root--the matrix, which is made up of a layer of cells located at the base of the nail. The matrix constantly makes new cells, and as new cells grow, the older cells are forced out, and take on the familiar hardened form of the new nail. The newly formed nail then slides along the nail bed under your nails.
- The cuticle: Cuticles are a tiny sliver of skin where your nail grows out, and they sit atop your nails' growth matrix. Cuticles function like a barrier, or a protection for the nail matrix against infection and germs.
- The lunula: Often referred to as the half-moon which is visible at the base of the nail and part of the matrix. The lunula is largest in the thumb and sometimes altogether absent in the little finger.
How Fast Do the Average Adults' Nails Grow?
The average adult’s nails grow approximately 0.12 inches (3mm) monthly. If you lose a nail to illness or injury, fingernails require 3 to 6 months to regrow completely, and toenails require 12 to 18 months. Fingernails grow faster than toenails, at about 3.47mm monthly, and the middle finger grows the fastest, the little finger grows the slowest at 3.08mm monthly.
How to Grow Nails Faster
1. Take Biotin Supplement
Biotin is a coenzyme and a kind of vitamin H. Long known for its benefits to hair and skin, several studies have shown that biotin increases nail thickness and strengthens brittle nails, making them less likely to break or split, so you might be able to grow your nails longer when taking the supplement regularly. Additionally, biotin appears to be fairly safe even at high levels.
Protein is an important dietary need for every cell in the body, and lacking of it can lead to having white spots on the nails and leaving them more prone to splitting and breaking. Since your nails are mostly made of protein, adding protein to your diet can help promote healthy nail growth.
- Green vegetables, especially spinach and peas, legumes, seeds, and nuts, all have protein, and are a good option for vegetarians.
- Eat lean beef, pork, poultry, and fish, as well as eggs or egg whites to increase your protein intake.
- You can also add protein powder to a glass of milk, or prepare protein shakes, and remember to consult your doctor before taking any protein supplements.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is sometimes applied to the skin as a moisturizer to treat fungal infections, and promote healthy nails. Virgin coconut oil implies that the oil is generally unprocessed, meaning it has not been bleached, deodorized, or refined. Here's how to grow nails faster by using coconut oil:
- You can mix some drops of honey, rosemary oil, and some extra-virgin coconut oil and microwave for 15-20 seconds.
- Soak your nails past the cuticles in the mixture for 15 minutes.
- Repeat this method 1-2 times each week before bedtime.
The red plant pigment in tomatoes contains high levels of vitamins A, C, and E, as well as other antioxidants such as lycopene that can help promote healthy skin and nails. A therapeutic way to use tomatoes for nails is to:
- Combine 2 tablespoons of virgin olive oil with 8 oz. of tomato juice;
- Soak your nails past the cuticles in the solution for about 10 minutes;
- Repeat daily at bedtime for the best results.
Other Useful Tips
- Use a moisturizing liquid cleaner, or moisturizing soap to wash your hands.
- Moisturize your hands and cuticles throughout the day and before you go to bed. Any cream or lotion will work.
- Use proper manicure techniques and avoid cutting the cuticles for healthy hands and nails.
- Use polish that is free of toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate and nail polish remover that is alcohol free.
- Take multivitamins and minerals supplements.
- Take care cleaning underneath your nails.