Chipping, broken from the edges or split, brittle nails can cast a shadow on your confidence and appearance. You might sit with folded hands and clenched fists to hide those chipped off nails but seriously, how long can you let them eclipse your self-esteem?
When it comes to an all round care, nails get neglected a lot as compared to your skin. Yes, a lot of you may trim, buff and manicure them weekly but that is not enough for your nails. The right amount of nutrition and hydration is necessary for a healthy set of nails.
Brittle nails are a sign of overexposure to water or other chemicals found in soaps, detergents, nail polish remover, etc. The reasons can be many, but the fact that your nails not only look unattractive but can possibly lead to infections is a cause for concern.
Now, weak and brittle nails can also be the manifestation of some other disorders that many easily ignore. So it is highly recommended that you consider all possibilities and contact your GP or dermatologist, should the problem persist.
In any case, you need to know the Hows and Whys before you remedy the problem, to avoid its future occurrence.
Why are Your Nails Brittle?
The most common reason for your nails to become hard and brittle is the periodic wetting and drying of your nails. This leads to expansion and contraction of your cells, creating a strain after sometime. This worsens in area of low humidity.
If you observe softness in your nails, yet they break and chip off then it means prolonged exposure to moisture and other chemicals like cleaning fluids or acetone based nail polish remover.
Apart from the above reasons, which are commonly occurring, a few more are mentioned below-
- Not enough moisturizer
You’ll not believe but it is true, even if you moisturize your hands twice every day, it is not enough. Every time you wash your hands with soap, it dries out your skin and by removing any oil. If the skin around your cuticles id dried out it will automatically affect the moisture content of your nail.
- Iron deficiency
Even if you aren’t anaemic, but have low levels of iron in your blood, you might face such consequences due to lack of oxygen in your nails. Since haemoglobin is the oxygen carrier in blood and iron helps in the formation of haemoglobin, therefore, a lack of iron will affect the health of your nails.
- Too much texting or typing
When you type ferociously on your mobile or keyboard and your nails keep stricking your keyboard or phone sceen then you are creating more problems for your nails than you can think of.
People suffering from a low thyroid often complaint about weak and brittle nails. In low thyroid, or hypothyroidism, the body does not produce enough thyroid hormone resulting in fatigue, brittle nails, dry sin, weakness, etc.
- Leave your cuticles alone
Those cuticle nippers that trim your cuticles nice and easy are not desirable. They trim away the protective layer between your nail and skin, leaving your nails vulnerable to excessive moisture and bacteria.
- Excessive nail polish and remover
Most commonly available nail polishes have harmful chemicals that affect your nail’s health. Applying nail polish more than once per week is harmful and so is removing it by an acetone based nail polish remover. Acetone can absorb the natural oil in the nails that moisturize them, thus rendering them brittle.
Natural Remedies for Brittle Nails
These are amongst the best natural remedies out there to strengthen your weak and brittle nails -
- Coconut Oil
It is the simplest yet one of the most effective remedy to counter brittleness of your nails. Remember to use this oil the next time you do a manicure at home. Just massage a small portion of oil around your cuticles and let the oil sink in. The antioxidant rich coconut oil will surely help you. Follow this remedy for a few weeks for strong nails.
- Olive Oil and lemon juice
Olive Oil is another good remedy to strengthen your weak and brittle nails at home. One teaspoon extra virgin olive oil mixed with 4-5 drops of lemon. Now massage this mixture gently around your nails at night and put on your manicure gloves. Let it stay overnight and feel the change in the morning.
- Sea Salt
Another effective way to treat brittle nails is a rejuvenating seas salt soak. Take 2 tablespoon of sea salt, and add two drops of each lemon juice, myrrh oil, frankincense oil and wheat germ oil. Mix it in a bowl of warm water and soak your nails for 10-15 minutes. Repeat it twice every week to see favourable results.
- Vitamin E and Tea Tree Oil
Add 2-3 drops of tea-tree oil in one tablespoon of Vitamin E oil and massage it on your fingertips properly for 10 minutes. When you are done wipe off the excess oil and leave it overnight. While Vitamin E vitalizes your nails, tea tree oil prevents them from any infection.
A great way to use the leftover beer and strengthen your nails in the process is making a beer soak. Add ¼ cup of warm olive oil and ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar in ½ cup of beer. A 15 minutes soak in this nutritious mixture will fortify your brittle nails.
- Milk and egg yolk
Mix yolk with 2 tablespoon of milk and rub the mixture on your fingertips. It may seem like a revolting remedy but comes with big rewards. This nourishing mixture is rich in protein, calcium and moisture that will toughen your nails and make them healthy.
- Diet and Supplements
Incorporate whole food, fruits and vegetable, proteins rich diet like legumes, lentils and lean meat in your diet for stronger nails
As for supplements, taking Biotin is a slow but definite remedy for those who have brittle nails due to vitamin and protein deficiency. 2.5 mg Biotin everyday for 6 months will strengthen your nails from within.