Brittle Nails

What Are Brittle Nails?

Common nail problems include chipping, cracking, breaking, brittle, peeling, splitting, thin, and weak nails.  The medical term for this is Onyschoschizia and is more common in women.

Brittle nails are most commonly caused by chemical or environmental challenges, such as repeated wetting and drying of the nails.  This is caused by frequent hand washing, dishwashing, and/or swimming.  Less frequently, brittle nails can be caused by deficiencies or underlying diseases.

Nails that are overexposed to chemicals, such as cleaners, detergents/soaps, and nail products can also become brittle.  Nail polish removers can severely dry out your nails.

Your environment can affect your nail quality.  In the low humidity of the winter, where there is dry heat, it is more likely that your nails can experience some of these more common nail problems.  Consider using a daily moisturizing lotion that is good for your cuticles, like Cutemol or Moisture-All  when in these environments and conditions.

Wellness Tip

Wear protective gloves when cleaning or doing other work with your hands. This will help reduce the amount of chemicals or moisture-stripping soaps that come into contact with your nails.

Seeing Brittle Nails

Brittle nails can appear cracked, chipped, broken, split, peeling, and thin.  They do not look very attractive and can sometimes hurt.

Symptoms of Brittle Nails

Symptoms of brittle nails are:

  • Dryness
  • Chipping
  • Cracking
  • Breaking
  • Peeling
  • Splitting
  • Thin
  • Weak
  • Separation or Delamination from the nail bed

Symptoms of brittle nails can be embarrassing and painful. If treating your nails directly does not improve, or if you notice more extreme symptoms, then a different underlying condition could be at the root of your nail problems. If this is the case, be sure to check with your dermatologist.

Wellness Tip

When buffing your nails, do so in the direction that the nail grows and not a back and forth motion, which can cause splitting.  Avoid metal instruments for nail care.

Treating Brittle Nails

Treating your brittle nails is a process that requires patience. Because your nails grow at their own pace, it may take time for you to see the effects of treatment – so stay positive and stick with it!

Preventing Brittle Nails

1

It’s always a good idea to let your nails breathe from time to time. Take a week off from using nail products.  Then, apply a nail conditioner like DermaNail on a regular basis.

2

Make sure you use a reliable, daily moisturizer such as Cutemol or Moisture-All on a regular basis, especially if you live in dry or cold weather areas and/or wash and dry your hands frequently.

3

Avoid removers or other products that contain chemicals that dry out your skin and nails. These tend to also remove the natural moisture in your nail beds, which creates unhappy looking nails.