What Can You Do About Brittle Nails?

hand with brittle nails

How many times have you popped the top on a can of soda only to pull your finger away with a broken nail? Probably too many to remember. We’ve all suffered the pains—and ruined manicures—that come with broken nails. But if your nails break or split with the slightest amount of pressure, they may be brittle, a condition that can occur with dry weather or age. To help you restore your brittle nails to their naturally strong state, check out the tips below.

What Causes Brittle Nails?

In the medical world, brittle nails are better known as onychoschizia, and are characterized by weak nails that split or chip often and are difficult to grow. Brittle nails are caused by constant exposure to excessive dryness or excessive moisture, which is why you are more likely to experience brittle nails in the summer or in the winter. Other common causes of brittle nails include:

  • Aging
  • Frequent hand washing
  • Sunburn or windburn
  • Repeated nail injuries
  • Exposure to harsh chemicals including nail polish remover

If none of these seem to be the trigger for your brittle nails, you may want to consult your doctor to see if an underlying medical condition is to blame. Brittle nails can also be a symptom of certain medical conditions, including an iron deficiency, hypothyroidism, or hyperthyroidism.

How to Strengthen Your Nails

The good news is that there are steps you can take to strengthen your nails, or protect them from getting weaker:

  • Wear a pair of gloves when cleaning and try to avoid using harsh chemical cleaners. Use gloves when doing the dishes as well.
  • Use moisturizing hand soap when washing your hands and limit your use of hand sanitizer. Most hand sanitizers contain alcohol that can dry out your skin as well as your nails.
  • Check your shampoo bottle because, believe it or not, it could also be a culprit. If you have oily hair and use a shampoo that strips those oils, it could also strip your nails of moisture.
  • Keep your hands moisturized with lotion. To really moisturize, dip your nails in a paraffin bath.
  • Take the vitamin biotin, which naturally strengthens hair and nails. You can find bottles at your local pharmacy or grocery store. (As with any supplements, be sure to consult your doctor first.)
  • Keep your nails short and file them in one direction. Raking the emory board back and forth across your nails can lead to splitting or chipping.
  • Limit your manicures. This is a tough one, but if your nails have become brittle, it means they probably need a break from both polish and acrylics. But if you have nails that are soft and brittle, a coat of clear prep polish can provide needed support.

If you enjoy taking care of your nails, you may want to consider a career as a nail technician. Salon Success Academy offers a Manicuring/Nail Tech program that provides hands-on training in manicures and pedicures, nail repair, massages and more. So what are you waiting for? Call 1-877-987-HAIR (4247) today or fill out the form below for more information.