How to prevent brittle nails

How to prevent brittle nails

How to prevent brittle nails

Everything you need to know about going from weak and split-prone to strong and break-free nails.

What is your nail health like? Do you often see ridges, dents or several chips in their shape? Through proper nail care, you can change up your nail health and achieve your best nails yet.

What are brittle nails? 

Keratin, which also makes up the cells in your hair and skin, works to protect nails from damage. However it is not uncommon for our nails to become weak - causing them to split, peel or break. 

Brittle nails will fall under one of two categories: either soft and brittle or dry and brittle. Soft and brittle nails are caused by too much moisture - this can be a result of constant nail treatments, like shellac manicures, nail polish remover , overexposure to detergents and household cleaners or other harsh chemicals. Whereas dry and brittle nails are caused by a lack of moisture, usually a result of overwashing and drying of fingernails.

Brittle nail causes

Brittle nails, also known as onychoschizia, can have several potential causes. Some common factors that contribute to brittle nails include:

Environmental factors

As we know, environmental factors, such as exposure to harsh chemicals, excessive hand washing, prolonged water immersion and frequent nail salon trips can lead to brittle nails. Frequent wetting and drying of the nails can weaken the keratin structure, making them more susceptible to splitting and cracking.

Nutritional deficiencies

Inadequate intake of essential nutrients, particularly biotin, iron, and zinc, can impair the growth and strength of nails. A well-balanced diet is crucial for helping to maintain nail health.


As individuals age, the natural aging process can cause nails to become more brittle. This is due to reduced blood circulation, diminished collagen production, and a decrease in the moisture content of the nail plate.

Medical conditions

Certain medical conditions, including thyroid disorders, psoriasis, and fungal infections, can manifest as brittle nails. These underlying health issues should be addressed to alleviate nail problems effectively. 

Hormonal changes

Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy, menopause, or thyroid disorders can lead to changes in nail health.

Brittle nails treatment 

Effective treatment of brittle nails involves a multifaceted approach. Tailoring treatment options to address the underlying causes is essential for achieving positive outcomes.

Topical Treatments

Various over-the-counter and prescription topical treatments, including nail strengtheners, moisturising creams, and antifungal solutions, can be employed to improve nail health. These treatments aim to enhance the nail's hydration and flexibility.

Dietary supplements

Supplements containing biotin, iron, and zinc have shown promise in improving nail strength and preventing brittleness.

Collagen supplements 

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and the building block of healthy hair, skin, joints and nails. As we age, our collagen levels begin to deplete more rapidly - which is why we may start to notice weaker, split-prone nails. Adding a collagen supplement your daily beauty routine can help to replenish collagen levels and support stronger, healthier nails. 

Lifestyle shifts

Lifestyle changes can play a crucial role in preventing and treating brittle nails. Avoiding prolonged exposure to water and harsh chemicals, practicing proper nail care techniques, and wearing gloves during household chores can significantly mitigate nail damage.

Medical intervention

In cases where underlying medical conditions are responsible for brittle nails, addressing the root cause is paramount. Medical treatment may involve managing thyroid disorders, psoriasis, or fungal infections with appropriate medications.

Preventing brittle nails 

Prevention is the most effective strategy for maintaining strong, healthy nails. Implementing the following practices can help individuals avoid the development of brittle nails:

Nail hygiene

Gentle nail care practices, such as using non-abrasive emery boards, avoiding excessive buffing, and refraining from using metal instruments to clean the nails, are essential for preventing nail damage.


Regularly applying nail and cuticle moisturisers can help maintain adequate nail hydration. This is especially important after exposure to water or when using drying substances.


Ensuring a balanced diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals is crucial for healthy nail growth. Biotin-rich foods, such as eggs and nuts, should be included to support nail strength.


Understanding the causes, treatment options, and prevention strategies for brittle nails is essential for those wanting to maintain optimal nail health. By addressing the root causes and implementing appropriate care practices, you can enjoy the benefits of strong and resilient nails. 


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