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Why Nails Grow Slower in Winter

Is this true that nails grow slower in the winter? This is a common question that I hear from many patients who come to Orangeville Foot Clinic. Many are wondering whether this is a myth or not. It is actually true and there are several reasons behind slower nail growth at winter time. 

Here are some of the main reasons causing reduced nail growth at winter time:

Less sun exposure:

Sunlight is critical for human body for many reasons. One of the reasons is to produce vitamin D. Our body makes the majority of needed vitamin D from the sunlight and this is important for nail growth. Vitamin D is one of the important ingredients for nail growth, nail health and nail strength.

During the colder times of the year, our body is exposed to less sunlight during the day which essentially leads to reduced vitamin D that our body can produce.

Also, because of the cold climate we spend less time outdoor during the winter time and also put on more layers if we go outside. All of these leads to less exposure to sunlight.

Less vitamin D:

Not only less sun exposure leads to less vitamin D, but also during winter time our dietary habits may change. We tend to enjoy warmer meals with more focus on larger amount of carbohydrate which may result in reduced vitamin levels that are essential for good nail growth.

Several vitamins such as A, C, D, B12 are vital for nail growth, and with changed dietary in winter it may fluctuate during the colder months. So less vitamins leads to slower nail growth. 

Slower or less circulation:

Blood circulation is another important factor that affects nail growth and during the winter time the blood flow in our body can be changed. Colder climates can result in a a constriction of the blood vessels, specially in our hands and feet leading to a reduced blood flow to the distal extremities.

The reduced perfusion leads to reduced flow of oxygen, nutrients and growth factors to nails and skin, which manifests as dry skin, slow nail growth, brittle and thin nails.

Having said that, we should also know that the three points above are not applicable to everyone but it is generally the most commonly used explanation for altered nail growth during winter time.

There are many other factors that may lead to a slowed or altered nail growth level including changes in physical activity levels and changes in health status.

Always remember that if the colour, shape, growth rate or texture of your toenails or skin are concerning, a chiropodist can assess and provide you with the appropriate care.

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