If your nails are brittle and weak there could be an external or internal reason for it. There are two types of external causes of brittle nails: dry and brittle, and soft and brittle. Dry and brittle nails are caused by too little moisture. This is usually the result of repeatedly washing and drying your hands. Soft and brittle nails, by contrast, result from too much moisture, such as from using cleaning products and nail polish remover. Internal reasons for brittle nails are age, iron deficiency, hypothyroidism and Raynaud’s syndrome. The best way to tell if your nails are brittle due to an internal or external cause is to look at your toenails. If your toenails are strong then your fingernails are brittle due to some external reason. If both your toenails and your fingernails are weak then it’s due to an internal reason and you should see a doctor.
There are several ways to treat the external causes of weak nails. If your nails are dry and brittle you need to do three things: moisturize, protect your hands, and invest time in caring for your nails.
You will want to use a moisturizer that contains lanolin or alpha-hydroxy acids. Alpha-hydroxy acids are important because they function by removing the top layer of dead skin cells and increasing the thickness of deeper layers of skin, resulting in increased firmness. Lanolin is an emollient and can soften skin, improving the feel and appearance. Lanolin comes from sheep’s skin, its purpose is to protect and condition sheep’s wool, which is what makes it an effective moisturizer for humans.
In order to keep your nails from becoming dry, it’s crucial to protect them from cold weather. Cold and dry air causes the water in your skin and nails to evaporate. This results in your skin and nails becoming tight, dry and brittle. Always wear full gloves during the winter or on especially windy days.
Taking the time to care for your nails is also important. Proper nail care means keeping your nails short by filing them daily. Daily filing eliminates nail irregularities and keeps them from breaking and splitting. Make sure to file your nails in only one direction, filing them back and forth will cause them to be uneven. After you’ve filed your nails, you should buff them to get rid of dead and dry surface cells. Buffing also stimulates blood circulation in the nail bed which helps nails to grow faster.
You will also want to invest in a nail care formula. Nail care formulas improve the overall health of your nails by hydrating the cuticles, fighting fungal infections and promoting growth.
The most important things for treating soft and brittle nails are to keep your hands dry, avoid biting or picking your nails or cuticles and take a biotin supplement.
The best way to keep your hands dry is to always wear gloves when washing the dishes or using cleaning fluids like detergents and bleach. You should continue to moisturize your hands but focus on moisturizing the nails beds and not the nails themselves.
It’s important to keep your nails short so that the nail surface area, where water and chemicals can be absorbed, is minimized. You also need to avoid picking or biting your nails and cuticles. Damaging your nails, especially the cuticles, can lead to infections. If you have existing damage to your cuticles using a nail care formula will help to repair the damage and prevent infection.
Biotin supplements, also known as vitamin H and vitamin B-7, help to strengthen your hair and nails while also aiding your body’s nervous system. It isn’t water-soluble which means the body doesn’t store it so it needs to be consumed daily. However, you should always check with a health care provider before taking any vitamins to make sure they’re appropriate for you.
If your nails continue to be brittle after following the above advice then you should see a doctor as it could be a sign of a more serious problem.