Why do nails break easily?

Brittle nails are a fairly common problem, also known as onychoschizia. It usually happens when they have too little or too much humidity. If your nails aren’t getting stronger with home remedies, like wearing gloves while doing housework or hydrating your hands and nails afterward, it’s important to speak with a doctor.

Nails are made up of layers of a protein called keratin, and they serve as protection for the fingers and toes. Keratin, which also forms hair and skin cells, protects nails from damage. But it is not uncommon for nails to split or break. This nail problem can also be a sign of an underlying condition, such as iron deficiency or hypothyroidism. They generally appear more in women than men, although steps can be taken to strengthen them and prevent future problems.

Causes of brittle nails

This nail problem fall into two categories: dry and brittle or soft and brittle. Dry and brittle nails are the result of too little moisture and are most often caused by repeated washing and drying of the nails.
On the other hand, soft and brittle nails are caused by too much moisture, usually as a result of overexposure to detergents, moisturizers, household cleaners, and nail polish remover.

Other causes of brittle nails can be:

  • Age. Nails tend to change as people age and usually become dull and brittle. While toenails commonly get thicker and harder, fingernails often get thinner and more brittle.
  • Lack of iron. This condition occurs when the body does not get enough iron, which leads to low levels of red blood cells. This usually happens mainly in women.
  • Hypothyroidism Along with brittle nails, symptoms of low thyroid levels can include hair loss, fatigue, weight gain, constipation, and depression.
  • Raynaud’s syndrome . Characterized by circulation problems in the extremities, this condition can affect the health of the nails.

In principle, brittle nails are not necessarily a major cause for concern. However, a person may prefer to see a doctor if they notice additional accompanying symptoms. For example, fatigue could be a symptom of iron deficiency or anemia. Weight gain or loss could indicate a thyroid problem.

You may also want to see a doctor if home remedies to strengthen your nails don’t work. In that case, an expert may be able to suggest additional treatments or determine the cause of the frailty.

manos con uñas quebradizas

Natural remedies for brittle nails

There is nothing you can do about it if your nail problem is caused by age changes, but you can reduce the risk of broken, cracked and brittle nails. If you want to keep your nails healthy and strong, try the following home tricks.

Use a moisturizer

Look for hand lotions that contain lanolin or alpha-hydroxy acids . You can also buy lanolin-rich nail conditioners at drugstores, pharmacies, and specialized stores.

Moisturize your hands after showering or when doing household chores with chemicals. When applying lotion or cream, be sure to rub it directly onto your nails. Before going to bed, moisten your hands, feet, and nails to keep them hydrated while you sleep.

Protect your hands

When doing household chores, wear gloves , such as dishwashing gloves to keep your hands dry. Gloves can also protect your hands and nails from harsh chemicals, such as detergents and cleaning fluids.

Avoid prolonged exposure to cold, dry weather. So in winter or on outdoor adventures be sure to wear warm gloves. If possible, avoid wool ones, as this fabric tends to pass through the wind.

Take care of brittle nails

Keep nails short to minimize the surface area of ​​the nail where water and chemicals can be absorbed. Use a fine file to file your nails . It is a good idea to file your nails daily to remove irregularities and prevent breaks and cracks. Make sure you only do it in one direction and don’t leave your nails flush.

Don’t bite or pick at your nails or cuticles. You can use a metal instrument to push the cuticle back, but avoid using it directly on the nail. Buff your nails in the same direction they grow and avoid back and forth movement, as this is what can cause splitting.

You can also apply a nail hardener to help strengthen your nails. On the other hand, when it comes to manicure products, opt for a nail polish remover that does not contain acetone and try to avoid frequent use of this product. They are chemicals that directly affect the nail and favor weakness.

How does diet influence?

Some dietary changes can help strengthen brittle nails. For example, you can try supplements, such as biotin vitamin complexes. Experts say it can take up to 6 months to work, but it is effective in about a third of all cases. Other supplements that may also work are colloidal minerals, gelatin, and calcium. However, it must be a doctor and an expert who advises these types of products.

Obtaining adequate protein in the diet favors the production of proteins that make up the nails. Eating the right amount of protein is vital to boost keratin production and maintain strong nails. It does not matter if it is of animal or vegetable origin, although the intake of essential amino acids must be taken into account.

Eating foods rich in iron is also important if you are a person who has iron deficiency or anemia. It is important to eat foods high in this mineral, both of animal and vegetable origin. You can also consider taking iron supplements, but you should consult a doctor first, as these can interact with certain medications.