Having to treat brittle fingernails and toenails can be really disappointing. Brittle nails split, chip, break, and can be difficult to grow out.
However, there are a few things you can do to help brittle nails.
Causes of Brittle Nails
Diet plays an important role in the health of the fingernail. There are dietary deficiencies that can lead to brittle nails.
– Protein deficiency
The nails are made of a protein called keratin. Not getting sufficient protein in your diet can make your nails fragile. Choose healthy proteins like whole grains and combinations of beans, lean meat and fatty fish like salmon. Fish oils and other healthy fats are also useful for fixing brittle nails.
Brittle nails can also be caused by excessive immersion in water. Try to wear gloves when washing dishes or otherwise soaking your hands. The same would apply to the toenails; Use water resistant footwear if necessary.
– Vitamin deficiencies
Vitamins A, B, and C are involved in nail health. Calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc plays an important role in the health of your nails as well. Make sure your diet contains plenty of leafy greens, fresh vegetables, citrus fruits and lean meats to get these nutrients. Including whole grains is also important.
How to Fix Brittle Nails
Go heavy on moisturizer and massage it as often as possible into the nails. Try looking for a moisturizer that is thick and strong. Avoid artificial nail treatments such having as acrylic tips or whole nails put on, and avoid nail polish and nail polish remover.
You can try to soak your nails in warm oil for 10-20 minutes each day. Use olive, evening primrose, almond or other healthy oils. Break open and add a capsule of vitamin E into the soaking oil for an extra boost of healing.
Moisturize your nails thoroughly at night, massaging the moisturizer in and use petroleum jelly or other thick moisturizer. Then slide the thin cotton gloves on before going to sleep. Archival gloves are perfect for this. They are fine cotton gloves used by other researchers and historians to manipulate rare and precious books and manuscripts.
In addition to the recommendations above, you may consider supplements:
- Silicon – The studies are inconclusive, but 10 mg. Silicon per day has been proven to help brittle nails.
- Horsetail Herb – This plant is a natural silicone source, and is intended to help brittle nails.
- Biotin – Found in most of the foods mentioned above, but can also be taken as a supplement. It is often a multivitamin element too.
- Fish oils – Supplementing with fish oil can be helpful for the hair, skin, and nails. Note that brittle nails may specify a more grave underlying medical condition such as hypothyroidism. If you are suffering from persistent brittle nails, consider consulting your doctor.