I love my strong hands; they’ve served me well.
I’ve worked in food service what feels like all my life. Recently the nails on my index fingers have frayed at the ends. In other words, the nails have split horizontally near the nail tip, and there is a top layer of nail that keeps lifting up and separating from the rest of the nail. Because my nail tips are thinner, they bend and are less useful at grabbing, picking, or scratching.
What started causing this?
I’ve noticed that the fraying only happens after I wash dishes at work, meaning the sanitizer water dries them out and makes them weak! I’ve tried to stop the nail splitting by wearing gloves while washing dishes, wearing nail polish, and finally, I tried putting clear Gorilla Glue on my index fingernails to try and stop water from seeping in. Unfortunately, water gets in the gloves, the nail polish breaks off from just normal work, and even the Gorilla Glue chipped off.
What else can I try?
After doing some research, I’ve decided to stop trying to fix the nail split, and instead just try to moisturize my nails and keep them from drying out. When my grandmother was alive, she insisted that we keep our hands moisturized and out of the sun to prevent age spots. I’m not worried about having pretty hands, but I am concerned about having strong hands. As the days get colder, moisturizing my hands ought to also prevent painful dry, cracked skin. So here goes!
Today I am starting a new nail routine. Once a night I will soak my nails in a solution, take a Vitamin E capsule, and massage Vitamin E cuticle oil into my fingernails. I will also do my best to moisturize my hands after any time they get wet, and once a week I will push back my cuticles.
I tried to buy all the products as seen in this video, but I had to make a few modifications.
I already had some salts, oils, and lemons for the DIY solutions in the above YouTube video, but I needed Vitamin E capsules and a cuticle pusher. After shopping around at the store, I decided to just buy cuticle oil because it was cheap. I was hoping to find jojoba oil because I’ve heard it’s the best for the skin to absorb, but it was very expensive and I found some shea nut oil on sale instead. I also couldn’t find a cheap nail pusher, so I just trimmed some wooden skewers I had at home.
So here are what my nails look like before:
It’s really hard to see the nail splits because my hands are dry in these pictures and the splits are most notable when wet. You can, however, see the rough Gorilla Glue on my index fingernails and a little bit of shiny clear nail polish on the middle fingernails. I trimmed my nails really short with a nail clipper right before.
For the soaking solution, I used warm water, a little bit of the magnesium salts, juice from half a lemon, and then a little bit of olive oil, shea oil, and coconut oil combined. I soaked my nails for 13 minutes (2 SNL skits on YouTube) and then gently dried them off for the next step.
Next, I used my trimmed wooden skewers to scrape off excess cuticle and push back the epithelial lining. It worked pretty well actually and I removed a lot of dead cells.
Finally, I applied the store-bought cuticle oil and massaged it into my nails and nail bed areas for the length of another SNL skit. For fun, I opened up one of the softgel Vitamin E capsules and rubbed it straight into my fingernails as well. Not sure if I’ll do that again since it had a funny smell, but who knows?! I also swallowed a Vitamin E capsule and ate dinner.
So here is what my nails looked like right after my first manicure.
I don’t see a difference, do you? They just look oily and shiny. And, well, I guess you can see that the epithelial linings look less jagged.
I’ll do this every day for 10-12 days and take a picture every day for comparison.
Wish me luck!