Why we get brittle nails and how to make them stronger

Strong and healthy nails can be an indicator of good health, but sometimes they’re not as strong as we’d like them to be. This can be because of external factors such as washing up detergents, or just a lack of good hand care.

Our nails are made up of a protein called keratin and serve as protection for our fingers and toes. Keratin, which also make up the cells in our hair and skin, work to protect damage.

According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology brittle nails fall into two categories: dry and brittle of soft and brittle. Dry and brittle are the result of too little moisture, while soft and brittle are the result of too much moisture.

While underlying health conditions can cause brittle nails, such as an iron deficiency or hyperthyroidism, a good way to tell if the cause is internal or external is by comparing your fingernails to your toenails; if your fingernails are weak but toenails are strong, it’s most likely an external factor, such as overexposure to washing detergents.

1. MINIMISE EXPOSURE TO WATER

Too much soaking in water can cause your nails to become weak and brittle. While impossible to avoid getting your hands wet, it is something to be mindful about.

2. STAY HYDRATED

Water is essential to good health, and nail health is no exception.

3. BE CAREFUL ABOUT WHAT PRODUCTS YOU’RE USING

Many nail polishes and treatments contain harsh chemicals that can weaken your nails.

Nail polish removers that contains acetone should also be avoided.

4. AVOID USING GELS AND ACRYLICS

While an easy alternative for those who have trouble growing their nails, frequent use can cause your nails to peel which weakens them.

5. KEEP YOUR NAILS SHORT

Long nails are more likely to break and be caught on things.

Short nails are less likely to be chipped, cracked, which help to keep them strong.

6. BE MINDFUL ABOUT HAND SANITISER

In a world where hand sanitiser is now a daily precaution, be mindful because it dries out nails.

So, constantly applying hand sanitiser can be really bad for your nails, so try to avoid them.

7. FILE IN ONE DIRECTION

Filing your nails in a back-and-forth motion like a saw can actually weaken your nails.

File in one direction only.

Candice Farrow

Fashion and lifestyle blogger from North East, England.

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