Brittle Nails: Causes and Treatments

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Brittle nails are not usually caused by anything serious. But, find out here what the causes and treatments for your brittle nails are & to solve the issue.

Brittle nails are not usually caused by anything serious. Common problems other than brittle nails include loose nails that may change colour or shape.

Nails are made up of layers of a protein called keratin and our nails serve as a protection for your fingers and toes. Keratin, which also makes up cells in your hair and skin, works to protect your nails from damage.

It is not uncommon for nails to split, peel, or break. This can be a result of underlying health conditions or other external factors. In this article we will be looking into what causes brittle nails and what treatment there are to better our nails and how to avoid them breaking in the future.Brittle Nails

What causes brittle nails?

Just like our skin and hair, nails can become brittle and dry when we don’t drink enough water, so make sure to get your two litres a day. Dry and brittle nails are the result of too little moisture. They’re commonly caused by the repeated washing and drying of fingernails.

On the other hand, soft and brittle nails are caused by too much moisture, often a result of overexposure to detergents, household cleaners, and nail polish remover. There are other causes of brittle nails that are down to health conditions and other health related factors.

Brittle nails due to age

Nails commonly change as people age, often becoming dull and brittle. Whilst toe nails commonly get thicker and harder, finger nails become thinner and more brittle. As you get older, your nails start to dry out and start to grow at a slower rate. There is no specific age when this happens, and it doesn’t happen to everyone, but it can be the cause of brittle nails as you get older.

Iron deficiency

This condition occurs when the body doesn’t get enough iron, which leads to low red blood cell levels. This can lead to a condition called anaemia, when there is not enough iron in the blood. You can also get it if you don’t get in iron in your diet or have a condition that keeps you from absorbing it. Anaemia can make your nails brittle or cause inward in the shape if a spoon.


Along with brittle nails, symptoms of low thyroid levels may include hair loss, fatigue, weight gain, constipation, and depression. Low levels of the thyroid hormone lessen how much sweat your body makes. The result is dryer hair, skin, and nails.

Raynaud’s Syndrome

This is a condition that affects the blood vessels and keeps your hand and feet from getting enough blood. This makes it hard for your nails to have what they need to stay healthy. A common symptom of Raynaud’s is brittle nails.

What can I do about brittle nails?

There isn’t a whole lot you can do about age-related nail changes, but you can reduce the risk of splitting, cracking, and brittle nails. To keep nails healthy and strong, try and keep your hands moisturised, protected and care for your hands and nails.

Hand Cream


Moisturising hands

Look for a moisturising hand cream that contains lanolin or alpha-hydroxy acids. You can buy them in most beauty retailers or online. Try and moisturise your hands after washing, or after using anti-bacterial gel, as this can significantly dry your skin.

When applying cream, be sure to rub it around and directly onto your nails. Before going to bed, try and make an effort to moisturise your hands, feet and nails, to keep them hydrated overnight. Try not to over moisturise as this could cause your nails to become soft and brittle.

Protect your hands

When doing household chores, wear gloves, a great bright pair of marigolds will do the trick. These will keep your hands dry and protect your hands and nails from harsh chemicals, such as cleaning liquids and other detergents.

Try to avoid long exposure to cold, dry weather. If you do venture outside on a cold, windy day, be sure to put warm gloves on to protect your hands from the elements.

Care for your nails

Try to keep your nails short to minimalize the risk of snapping or breaking. Use a fine nail file to file your nails down and always make sure to only file in one direction.

Don’t pick or bite at your nails or cuticles. Instead, try to use special nail instruments to push the cuticle back, but avoid direct contact on the nail. Consider applying a nail hardener to help strengthen the nails and use a cuticle oil to ensure the cuticles are always hydrated.Washing up

What do nail strengthens do?

Most strengthening treatments include proteins and nourishing oils to help relieve any brittleness and peeling, leaving the nails looking and feeling a lot healthier and stronger. Nail strengtheners enhance the condition of the natural nail by offering protection and nourishment to the nails.

The nail strengthener works as a protective, flexible film that reinforces the structure of the nail while also feeing the nail and nail bed with vital vitamins and nutrients to promote growth.

How to care more for my nails?

There are a few small adjustments you can make to ensure the care and healthiness of your nails. Some studies show that taking a daily dose of biotin can thicken and strengthen nails. Always make sure you are taking the recommended vitamin amount before taking vitamins daily.

If you are someone that likes to go to the salon to get their nails done every once in a while, then do by all means continue, however try to avoid acrylic nails. These can do a lot of damage to your nails, and a nail tech has to file to surface down to get them to stick, which makes them thin. Chemicals in the glue make the nail weak, causing the nail to snap or peel.

Try to add more protein to your diet. When you get enough protein, it boosts the amount of keratin your body makes. Keratin is a protein that builds hair and nails, making them stronger.

Generally speaking, brittle nails can be categorised as dry and brittle when there’s too little moisture, or soft and brittle, which is when there is too much moisture. If you feel as though you have tried all the suggested care tips at home and your nails are still snapping, breaking or peeling then seek advice from a trusted health professional.

We all love having good nails and soft hands, but what about glowing skin? Want to know how to keep your face looking healthy and how to get that glow, then why not read our article, how to get glowing skin, next?

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