Nails are a significant aspect of the beauty of hands and feet, but they are susceptible to various health issues that affect their appearance and strength. Brittle nails, a common condition characterized by peeling, breaking, or nail separation from the skin, can be frustrating. If you dream of having strong, shiny nails that reflect your personality, there are solutions available to treat and prevent this problem. In this article, we will explore the issue of brittle nails, its causes, and treatment options. We will also uncover the secrets of maintaining healthy and robust nails while safeguarding them from external and internal damage.
Brittle nails are characterized by peeling, breaking, or nail separation from the skin, unlike strong, healthy nails, which are thick, hard, and resistant to breakage. This condition can result from various external and internal factors and may cause discomfort or pain in those affected, with a higher prevalence among women.
Brittle nails can have a multitude of causes, stemming from both external and internal factors. Here are some of them:
Environmental Factors: External influences, such as exposure to water, detergents, chemicals, weather fluctuations, and ultraviolet rays, can weaken and damage nails. These factors cause dryness, cracking, irritation, and inflammation of the nails and surrounding skin.
Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency: Nutrients essential for nail health and strength, including vitamin A, B, C, D, E, H (biotin), iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, and selenium, can be lacking in the diet. A deficiency of these substances can result in weak nail growth or changes in color, shape, or surface.
Improper Nail Care: Incorrect nail care practices, such as improper or excessive trimming, the use of dirty or sharp files, low-quality nail polish, or polish remover containing acetone, can damage the protective keratin layer of the nails. Proper nail care includes trimming them in a circular fashion, filing rough edges, cleaning nails thoroughly, wearing gloves when dealing with water or chemicals, and using moisturizing creams for nails and the surrounding skin.
Medical Conditions: Various health conditions, including anemia, hypothyroidism, Raynaud's syndrome, nail-patella syndrome, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, fungal, bacterial infections, or tumors, can impact nail health. These conditions can result in changes to nail color, shape, surface, and strength, requiring consultation with a dermatologist when unusual signs appear.
Using Nails as Tools: Using nails to open, hold, scratch, or manipulate hard or sharp objects, such as beverage cans, can lead to nail breakage, separation, or deformation. To prevent this, use appropriate tools for these tasks.
To prevent brittle nails and maintain their health, you can follow a set of procedures and lifestyle changes. Here are some tips to prevent brittle nails:
Follow a Healthy Diet: Consume a balanced diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals, including biotin (beta-carotene), folic acid (vitamin B9), and zinc, which are vital for healthy nails.
Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps keep nails moist.
Reduce Chemical Exposure: Avoid excessive contact with harsh chemicals and use gloves when handling them.
Limit Water Exposure: Prolonged exposure to water can weaken nails, so shorten bathing times and use lukewarm water.
Quit Smoking: Smoking negatively affects nail health, making quitting a positive step.
Consult a Dermatologist: For severe cases of brittle nails, consult a dermatologist for evaluation and treatment.
Regularly trim nails, avoiding excessive shortening, and using sharp, clean nail scissors, preferably after a shower when nails are softer.
Clean nails thoroughly and dry them after each contact with water to prevent bacterial or fungal growth.
Moisturize nails and the surrounding skin daily, using specialized moisturizing creams or natural oils like coconut, olive, or castor oil, massaging the nails to stimulate blood circulation.
Wear gloves when handling water, detergents, or chemicals, and avoid nail polish remover containing acetone.
Avoid harmful nail habits such as biting, pulling, scratching, or using nails as tools. These habits can lead to damage, deformation, and infections.
Give your nails a break from nail polish from time to time, allowing them to breathe and regain their health.
Maintaining healthy and strong nails is an aesthetic concern and essential for overall well-being. Brittle nails, while common, can be effectively prevented and treated by addressing the causes and adopting proper nail care practices. By following a balanced diet, avoiding excessive chemical exposure, staying hydrated, and consulting a dermatologist when needed, you can enjoy nails that are not only beautiful but also resilient. Remember, healthy nails reflect your overall health, so take good care of them.