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5 Natural Ways To Help Brittle Nails

Today I want to talk about fingernails and toenails… why they become brittle and some natural home remedies that can help with them!

5 Natural Ways To Help Brittle Nails

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My brittle nails story!

When I was younger I had gorgeous nails that I spent a lot of time caring for and painting. As I have gotten older (I am in my 50s now) my nails have become less of a bonus and more of a bother.

First off, they are weirdly shaped now after years of beating them up (one got a dent when my dog broke my finger pulling on a leash and never really bounced back). Secondly they are ridged and brittle, pretty easily broken and a pain to maintain.

And you might not think that is such a bad thing, but I am a blogger and artist! Having to keep my weird nails super short takes up important time that I could be creating so I wanted to find out what caused them and then even better, what I can use to help them!

Typing on a computer.... brittle nails

What are brittle nails?

Brittle nails are a common thing.   Nails chip, split or peel making nails look uneven, unhealthy and feel painful.  

Fingernails and toenails are made up of a protein called keratin.  The top signs of brittle nails are peeling at the tips, splitting, cracking, chipping, slow nail growth, lack of length, vertical ridges, pain, hangnails, or torn or ripped cuticles. 

Why do you get brittle nails?

Sometimes brittle nails are caused by health problems.

According to the Mayo clinic sometime it is a result of nail infections or something even worse, “some nail changes may point to a skin disorder that can affect the nails. These could include, to name just a few: psoriasis, a common skin disease that causes skin cells to rapidly build up; lichen planus, an inflammatory condition that can affect your skin; and dermatitis, another inflammatory skin disorder.”

But sometimes it is the things we do that cause our nails to become brittle!

Using harsh cleaning products.

Okay, I hate to admit this but often touch cleaning products that are DEFINITELY not good for my nails. I used Barkeepers friend to clean silver with my hands and use alcohol and other solvents to clean brushes and my work area.

You might also be using bleach or other chemicals to clean your home which could be a cause of brittle nails.

Washing your dishes or soaking in the tub.

Just repeated exposure to hot and cold can hurt your nails, but adding water to the mix is doubly bad for your nails. If you are like me, you might have your nails in the sink all day washing your dishes! Or you may enjoy a long tubbie, which is also not great for your nails (although it might be GREAT for your peace of mind!)

To treat brittle nails at home, you can use….

So here are a few things you can try if you have weak and brittle nails like me! I prefer finding natural remedies when possible so these are going to be super fun for me to try out.

Biotin

Biotin is a B vitamin.  It’s water soluble and isn’t stored in the body.  That means you have to take it in daily either via food or supplements.  

Biotin is key in strengthening hair and nails and is found in foods such as sardines, cooked eggs, and legumes, or you can take a B vitamin or supplement.

Minimize exposure to water externally

It seems counterintuitive, but too much water will weaken nails.  To avoid this wear gloves when washing dishes and try to keep your hands out of the water while taking a bath. And for sure don't soak your nails in the tub!

I think I can also try using warm water to rinse my dishes that are going into the dishwasher rather than hot hot water. My kids complain that I use too hot water so this one seems do-able to me!

Maximize exposure to water internally

Drinking enough water is essential for health. Without adequate hydration, nails can become brittle. Drinking enough water helps them to retain moisture and stay strong.

Avoid using gel or acrylic nails, acetone remover and nail polish

All of those things will weaken nails.  Gel and acrylic nails will temporarily strengthen nails, but once you take them off nails are thin and brittle due to the chemicals and use o f emery boards.

Nail polish removers with acetone are terrible for your nails (and I used them constantly when I was younger!)

Use lotion or oils

Use hand cream, cuticle oil or coconut oil on nails and cuticles.  Use can do this every time you wash your hands.

Okay this is the one that I think will make the most difference for me! I have coconut oil, which is a carrier oil for essential oils that I use everyday! I will try it and report back on how it works!

Also there is a good recipe for homemade cuticle oil that is coconut or almond oil as the carrier oil, Vitamin E oil and then either lavender essential oil or rose essential oil. Leave on bare nails for a few minutes and then work into the nail bed!