Why do I Have Fragile Nails?
There can be many reasons why you suffer from this problem. The most common symptoms are brittle nails that don’t grow, that chip, break off in layers, break at the smallest carelessness or slightest hit, etc.
Fragile nails are very thin and wear out no matter what we do, whether it is washing dishes, typing on the computer, or do nothing all weekend. The causes of brittle nails don’t have so much to do with the activities you do but rather:
- Diet: if you don’t consume enough of vitamins A and B, as well as too little iron, protein, zinc, and calcium, your nails will look very unflattering and yellowish.
- Calcium deficiency: this is produced by not taking in the necessary amount of calcium or having some problem that doesn’t allow your body to retain it.
- Illnesses: some of the most related kinds to fragile nails are anemia, hypo- or hyperthyroidism, poor circulation, and rheumatism.
- Overall poor health: if your body is weak and its defense is low, it is more possible for nails to break.
- External factors: these can be high exposure to chemical products (bleach, detergent, disinfectant, etc.), a lot of contact with water (washing dishes, bathing children, rinsing vegetables).
There are some “enemies” of your nails that you may not always be aware of and can be responsible for them breaking or not looking very healthy. They are:
- dermatitis (like psoriasis)
- genetic predisposition
- excessive cold or heat
- biting your nails (Onychophagia)
- UV radiation
- excessive manicures (fake nails, air-brushing, heavy filing, etc.)
- Mycosis (candida albicans is the fungus that attacks your nails and can also cause reddening of the skin and nails to fall off).
Recommendations for Preventing Fragile Nails
If you don’t want to suffer from this problem or you are predisposed to it, then keep in mind the following tips:
- Wash dishes with gloves and if possible only once a day: dish detergent and hot water are very bad for your hands and nails. First, the chemical and then the temperature weaken them and make them more vulnerable to problems. You can fill a bucket with water and detergent to put dirty dishes in later so that it is easier to get food off of them. Also, don’t forget to put on latex gloves. Warning! Put cotton tights on under them to absorb perspiration and take care of your hands.
- Eat more protein: Nails and hair are both formed from protein. If there is a deficit, then it’s because you need to eat more of this nutrient that is found, for example, in meat, leafy vegetables, and soy.
- Eat fatty acids: they are also very important in maintaining healthy, strong nails. You can find them in eggs, whole milk, walnuts, all vegetables, butter, and as a supplement to flaxseed oil.
- Repair them immediately: if your nails tend to break, the best thing to do is to cut them as close to your finger as possible. Also, repair them the moment they break so that they don’t keep breaking. You can file them or put a band-aid on them. If you want to “save it”, some women choose to put a drop of glue with a small piece of paper from a teabag. On top of that, put on a layer of glaze.
- Pay attention to your manicure: don’t scrape the nail polish off when it starts to come off because it weakens your top layer. Limit using nail polish remover: use a little and once a week because otherwise, it dries out your nails. Avoid nail hardeners or fake nails. They are used to “hide” the underlying problem. When you stop using them, you will go back to having the same weakness or worse.
- Don’t use them as tools: your nails aren’t can openers nor are they meant for scraping off stickers, for example. This makes them very weak and easier to break.
- Don’t put them underwater for a long time: once a week, you can give them an immersion bath but it’s also not about putting your nails underwater every day for an hour. Be careful when you go on vacation or in summer when you go in the pool every day (in the last case, chlorine is not a good friend to nails or skin).
- Correctly maintain them every week: to do this, exfoliate your hands with a mixture of salt and olive oil, completely scrubbing them. Then, remove the nail polish. After, file them so that they are even and have no imperfections, always in the same direction (from one side to the middle). Soak them in warm water for a few minutes. Apply a moisturizing cream and massage them. Another good option is to wrap them in a towel for a short time.
- Use a homemade remedy: the most popular ones are mixtures of lemon juice with sugar; cider vinegar and warm water; castor oil, honey, and wheat germ oil; raw garlic crushed with varnish; fill with water; sodium bicarbonate with water; papaya, egg white, and almond oil, etc. In all of the cases, you should apply it to your nails and leave it on for a few minutes. Then, rinse it off with warm water.
Images courtesy of Alex, Lisa Bentley, Ivan McClellan.