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Brittle nails: causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Nails that break easily, usually in thin layers, are known as weak or brittle. Broken fingernails and toenails, whether longitudinal or transverse, are a medical problem known as onychorrhexis that can cause discomfort and pain, apart from being an aesthetic inconvenience. This problem is quite common among the world population today and is due to several factors related to the general state of health. Therefore, it is not only an aesthetic issue, but if it happens to us it could be indicating a health problem to which we must pay attention before it worsens.

In this FastlyHealarticle we explain everything you need to know about brittle nails: causes and treatment , as well as the best natural remedies to solve this problem.

Causes of brittle nails

Before starting a treatment for fragile and scaly nails, it is necessary to know well the possible reasons why this happens, since it is necessary to focus the treatment not only on nail recovery, but also on the problem that has caused it and that, in addition, can be causing other health conditions. Thus, the main causes of layered brittle nails or brittle nails are as follows:

An inadequate diet

An incorrect diet according to the needs of our body can easily lead to problems of nutritional deficits, such as vitamin deficiencies, and the loss of keratin and minerals. The lack of vitamins and some minerals is one of the main causes that nails, both hands and feet, weaken to the point of peeling and breaking into pieces, preventing them from growing well and can become painful if the cracks arrive. to the skin and flesh around the nail and cuticle.

Have your hands in water frequently

There are those who, due to their work or dedication to some sports, need to be in continuous contact with water or other liquids. The problem with this is that excessive moisture softens the layers of the nails, causing them to break.

External factors

The climate is a very relevant factor, since just as excessive humidity damages the health of this part of the body, so does environmental dryness. Dry hands and nails are one reason they break easily. Dryness also happens when we are in prolonged contact with dust.

Excess chemicals

There are people who do manicures and pedicures continuously with chemical products or who use products of poor quality and this causes the nail fragility that leads to their breakage. Likewise, those who use household cleaning products or other chemical products also easily have problems not only with their nails but also with the skin of their hands.

Diseases that cause brittle nails

  • Anemia.
  • Fungal infections of the nails and skin of the hands and feet.
  • Psoriasis on the nails , hands or feet.
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Liver problems
  • Kidney problems.

Treatment for brittle and flaky nails

If you suffer from this problem and wonder how to strengthen brittle nails and solve this nail weakness, we recommend that you go to the doctor to diagnose the origin of this condition in your case and offer you the best treatment as a solution for brittle nails or pickling. This treatment is usually based on the following aspects, but only the doctor will be able to indicate which are the best in each case and how they should be done:

Vitamins for brittle nails

Nails to be healthy need to have adequate levels of some vitamins, mainly A, D, E and those of group B. Therefore, part of the treatment consists of taking vitamin complexes that include vitamin A, B8, B9, B12, C , D and E or, if the doctor identifies that there is only a deficit of any of these, then he can prescribe the correct intake of those necessary, instead of including them all.

Improve diet

The lack of nutrients in the diet such as the aforementioned vitamins, fatty acids such as omega 3 and 6 and minerals such as calcium , zinc and iron are the cause of this problem, as mentioned above. For this reason, it is vital to treat brittle nails by improving diet, including foods that contain these nutrients and others that help their proper absorption.

Treatment of the underlying disease

If the fragility in this area of ​​the body is due to any pathology or condition, it is vital to treat this problem from the beginning, while the nails are treated. If you suffer from anemia or hypothyroidism, or another of the diseases mentioned above, it is essential that the doctor indicates the best treatment for this problem so that it is cured or controlled and, thus, not only the nails improve but the overall health status in general. .

Home remedies for brittle nails

In addition to following your doctor’s prescribed treatment, you can apply some of the best home remedies for splitting and splitting nails. As long as the specialist considers that in your particular case it will be something beneficial and will not hinder the medical treatment. Thus, these are some of the home remedies to strengthen nails :

Aloe vera for nails

The aloe vera or aloe is one of the plants most used worldwide thanks to the many properties it owns to treat and prevent many diseases. Among these properties, the moisturizing and regenerating properties stand out, making it one of the best options to treat nail fragility naturally, harden them and make them grow well again.

You can directly apply the aloe vera gel, bought or extracted by you, on the damaged nails two or three times a day for as long as you need. However, to increase its benefits and effectiveness, you can mix it with very beneficial oils for this purpose, such as olive, almond or even the one that contains the vitamin E capsules. Each time you apply it, allow it to reach absorb on its own or at least stay for 20-30 minutes before removing.


Cucumber is a food rich in potassium, magnesium, sodium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, water, vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, C and E. Therefore, it is perfect for you to add to your diet. But also so that you cut it into very small pieces, including the skin, to crush them and mix them with your usual moisturizer and apply it on the nails, at least twice a day for as long as you need to improve them.

Onion and garlic

These two ingredients that are usually in all kitchens are among the best home remedies for brittle or weak nails, as they contain sulfur compounds and have antibiotic and antioxidant properties that help regeneration and strengthen nails. To do this treatment, you only need to chop a small or medium-large onion and two or three cloves of garlic and crush them to form a paste. Put your fingers in the container so that they are covered by the pieces and let them work for 10 to 15 minutes. You can do it once a day, not necessarily daily, but several times a week.

Olive oil and lemon

Olive oil is known to be a very nutritious food, full of vitamins and healthy fats, and lemon is also a food full of antioxidants, such as vitamin C. Olive oil hydrates, nourishes and repairs in depth and lemon manages to exfoliate, whiten and strengthen nails. Mix a tablespoon of this oil with about 5 drops of lemon and mix well. With a cotton swab or cotton soaked in this mixture, moisten your nails and let it dry on its own. Do it 2-3 times a week to see results in no time.

Horse tail

To treat brittle nails naturally, horsetail is one of the best plants, since it has a high content of silica, which is a mineral that hardens the nails and allows them to grow faster, being also very beneficial for the hair and the skin. Thus, taking horsetail infusion will help you to internally strengthen these structures. But it is convenient that for a quicker effect you make an infusion of a tablespoon of the stems of this plant for a glass of water and when it is warm, immerse your fingers in the glass or container for 15 minutes.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Brittle nails: causes and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Skin, hair and nails category .

  • Avoid biting your nails.
  • Maintain proper hygiene of your hands and feet, including nails.
  • Do not abuse nail beauty products and look for quality products.
  • Get a manicure to keep your nails short, or at least not too long.
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands when using cleaning or chemicals.

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