Best way to improve hair/skin/nails?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 30, 2012 at 4:21 PM

I know there are a lot of hair/skin/nail supplements on the market, but I'm hoping to be able to fix this issue with foods.

When I was younger, up until about age 22-23 (3ish years ago), I had very strong nails that grew fairly quickly. Now, they grow at a decent rate, but are so incredibly brittle. The worst this it that they are peeling. When they do grow sightly past the beds, often the top layer will peel away, leaving them even more brittle and prone to breakage.

Also, I have been struggling with breakouts more than ever in my life (including puberty). They're not horrible, just a couple a week, usually on my forehead or chin. I did just stop using Garnier BB cream, because it seemed to be making it worse. This has helped a lot, but I'm still getting 1-2 new pimples a week. My boyfriend is also struggling with breakouts, but they aren't quite as frequent as mine. His biggest issue is psoriasis and dry skin in odd places. On his elbows, fingertips, knuckles, and ears he gets really dry skin, despite using a lot of lotion.

Last, my hair. It has lost a lot of shine and resilience over the last few years. It used to be strong and super soft, and now it's very breakable and not so soft. Now I know part of this is because for about a year in 2010-2011 I was doing crazy things with it. Bleaching it, and using hot pink dye, then dying red, then brown, then back to my natural color (or as close as I could get). I haven't had any coloring done fore over 6 months now, but the new hair that's growing in doesn't seem very strong.

I used to have a B12 deficiency and a very very slight Vit. D deficiency, but the last time I had blood drawn (about a year ago), those issues were completely resolved. Other than diet, I don't really know what to do. I tried a supplement for a while about 3 years ago, but it didn't seem to help. I also have been struggling with fatigue since the time these issues started, and have had my thyroid tested 2 times via blood work, and supposedly nothing came up. I feel like my thyroid could be part of the issue, especially since my mom is hypothyroid, but so far nothing has shown in my blood.

What foods are best to improve these issues? Is there anything else I can do to help? Are there any good supplements around for this?


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4 Answers



on December 30, 2012
at 07:03 PM

Eat gelatin -- make bone broth if you can, and supplement with powdered gelatin on the days you don't get a good dose of broth. It's easy to add to hot drinks, or yogurt if you eat yogurt. Gelatin helps everything (skin, hair, joints) including thyroid function, & for some people, helps w/ sleep.

Dry skin can be a symptom of numerous nutritional deficiencies, even an omega 6 deficiency, in case you've been trying to remove all omega 6 from your diet.

Make sure you're getting enough magnesium, calcium, zinc+copper, selenium. If you've never tried tracking your nutritional intake w/ a program like Fitday, might be worth doing for a week or so to see if you're missing something in your diet.

Also make sure you're getting enough iodine, but I would not start messing w/ supplements if you already have possible thyroid issues. Seafood and/or iodized salt are probably better sources.

I am a big fan of fermented cod liver oil+butter oil for skin (I used the Green Pastures caps) but you need to consider your other sources of Vitamin A & D before you start -- you don't want to overdo it.



on December 30, 2012
at 10:06 PM

I second the gelatin recommendation - if you don't have the time or space to make broth, you can get gelatin and add it into other liquids and drink it down, I also think there are gelatin capsules out there.

I had weak and peeling nails for a long time and paleo only marginally helped. The big kicker that made my nails grow strong (and super fast, have to file them down twice a week) was adding a zinc supplement. Within 2 weeks I noticed a huge difference in my nails, and about a month later I noticed it with my hair, and about 6 months into this, my hair is much thicker.

Also, chocolate used to be a weakness for me, and around that same 2 week mark, my chocolate cravings were officially dead. Even if I try to have a nibble, I just become immediately disinterested, which was a super freaky side effect for me, but a good one! Saves me calories and money since I am picky about my chocolate.. or was anyway!

On the thyroid issue, do you know your most recent TSH? Most docs think it is normal up to 5.5 (though I think the standards were supposed to be lowered a bit) but others contend that a healthier TSH is 2.5 or less. I didn't know this until I went to a really good endo when I was having some issues last year, it was the first doc to test for thyroid antibodies too, which I did have low levels of (gone now, not sure how but grateful!). Hair loss was a huge problem when I was having thyroid issues, along with a ton of other things.


on December 30, 2012
at 09:51 PM

Here's what we do for our family. It's not only for our hair/skin/nails, but also for our bones. Silica being the tie-in for both. Of course, I'm not a Dr. and you should check with yours first

1000 IU D3 per 25 lbs (most people get their levels checked first) which includes 1 capsule of D3/K2 combo and the rest straight D3. We use vitamin source Raw D3.

1 Fermented Cod Liver Oil Capsule per person (we use green pastures)

3 Coral Calcium tablets per adult/ 2 per child (some might argue against the coral calcium, but we like it and believe in in)

1 Silica Capsule per person (I think it's 10 mg) (makes hair/nails/skin better and makes bones strong - we use Flora brand)

100 mg of k2 - MK7 per 1000 IU of d3. The k2 above is not the same. MK7 is made from natto which, to my understanding, puts the calcium into your bones instead of your arteries.



on December 30, 2012
at 09:26 PM

Biotin supplementation can help as well NKO krill oil

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