Nails that are strong, supple and naturally shiny highlight a healthy lifestyle. Shielded with layers of keratin protein which also constitute a major part of the hair and skin cells, your nails serve as a potent form of protection for the fingers and toes. Conversely, keratin protects the nails of the fingers and toes from damage. When this protein is lacking in the body, it takes a toll on (but is not limited to) your nails, making them dull and prone to cracks, peels and breakage.
Although brittle nails can affect well-nigh everyone regardless of gender, studies have shown that this condition medically known as onychoschizia tends to bear upon women more often than men. Luckily, steps can be taken to eliminate brittleness and get your nails to where they need to be health-wise.
Brittle nails occur as a result of inherent health issues, specific nutrient deficiencies or some environmental factors. This article will shed some light on the causes of onychoschizia and how to regain those healthy, beautiful nails along with your confidence.
Why Do Fingernails Become Brittle?
When one has brittle nails due to external factors, they fall in either of the two categories listed below according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD):
- Hard and brittle: This comes about because the nails have too little moisture. Repeated wetting and drying of the hands from household tasks like manual laundry and dishwashing, as well as exposure to hot, arid environments, could make your nails hard and brittle.
- Soft and brittle nails, on the other hand, are found to occur when the nail surface is over-exposed to moisture and harsh chemical substances. Some of these substances include household cleaning agents, detergents, etc.
Biological factors that can influence the state of your nails include age, low thyroid levels or hypothyroidism, keratin and iron deficiency which could give rise to anaemia.
How To Deal With Brittle Nails
Whatever might be responsible for your brittle nails, biological or environmental, these simple and free selfcare ideas, tips and hacks are sure to help your nails recover in due time.
1. Have a healthy diet plan:
Nutrition and diet plays an important role not just in the state of your fingernails, but the body as a whole. The human nail is largely composed of a protein called keratin, and eating protein-rich foods can help improve the production of keratin, which in turn strengthens the nails. Iron-fortified foods also improve the look of your nails. Red, lean meats, baked potatoes and certain vegetables like spinach and white beans are rich sources of iron. Back all these up with fruit, and you’re practically bulletproof!
2. Utilize Vitamin Supplements:
The truth about vitamin supplements is that they are water-soluble. This means that the body can’t store these nutrients, and they have to be ingested every day. Supplements can take as long as half a year to work, but they are effective, and the AOCD recommends using biotin and collagen supplements for people who have brittle nails. Separately, both cosmeceutical substances possess natural mechanisms that support healthy hair, nails and skin. When used together, clinical research has shown that biotin and collagen work in synergy to improve skin elasticity, hydration, density and smoothness. There are effective biotin and collagen combinations available at Shopwellabs.com. Statistics show that women are more prone to brittle nails. Hence, biotin supplements are essential woman vitamins because they help to keep the nails healthy and strong. The supplements also leave the skin looking radiant and the hair lusher. Keratin supplements help boost the protein’s production in the body, consequently making your nails and hair follicles stronger.
3. Keep your hands protected:
Wearing gloves while engaging in house chores like doing the laundry or washing the dishes is a surefire way to keep moisture at bay. Rubber gloves also conceal the nails from those abrasive chemicals so widely used in our cleaning fluids these days. This ensures that your nails have a chance to become stronger while being protected from additional damage.
4. Moisturize and drink enough water:
If your nails are dry and brittle, consider purchasing a moisturizer or hand cream that contains lanolin or alpha-hydroxy acids. These compounds act as a nail conditioner, akin to relieving a parched thirst with a glass of water. Moisturize daily. In the morning, just before bed at night, and after washing your hands at any point during the day. While doing this, be sure to keep yourself hydrated too by drinking an adequate amount of water. Staying hydrated is crucial for maintaining healthy nails and a healthy body.
Be careful with what you do with your nails. For instance, you could use your finger pads to open a can of soda instead of that thumb or index fingernail. Avoid developing bad habits like picking at your cuticles or nail-biting, and try to keep your nails trim to promote neatness. Longer nails have a tendency to get chipped or split. Dirt, water and chemicals are also easily trapped between longer nails as opposed to shorter ones. If they are soft, applying a nail hardener could help add more strength to your nails. Finally, go for acetone-free nail polish removers and limit your use of this product as much as possible.
Wherever we go, our appearance sends a message. Our hands might seem like a negligible detail, but they send out stronger signals than you might think, and there is no time or circumstance that hands with clean, healthy nails aren’t deemed attractive. Brittle nails will bring about a demeaning self-consciousness, and that’s not a good look for anyone. Thankfully, we have taken the time to gather these life hacks that have been tested and proven to be efficacious for your perusal.