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All You Need to Know About Brittle Nails

Nails — New Bern, NC — East Carolina Dermatology and Skin Surgery, PLLCSome people suffer from brittle nails. This happens when the nails become soft and thin and they break, chip, or split easily. Brittle nails can be a sign of a severe medical condition such as anemia or hypothyroidism. However, brittle nails are not a cause for alarm, and a trip to your dermatologist can quickly solve the problem.

The excerpt below provides you with extensive details regarding the cause and management of brittle nails.

Causes of Brittle Nails

There are several reasons why you could have brittle nails.

Too Much or Too Little Moisture

Your nails may become soft and brittle due to overexposure to chemicals such as those found in household detergents, cleaners, and nail polish removers. Repeated exposure to water and subsequent drying, for example, after washing, may lead to dry and brittle nails.

Biting Your Nails

Biting your nails not only makes them weak and brittle but also increases the likelihood of bacteria setting in, worsening the health of your nails. Furthermore, saliva contains a digestive enzyme that could dissolve your nails, making them weak and brittle.

Old Age

As you age, your nails are repeatedly exposed to cleaning chemicals, cosmetics, and other harmful elements. For this reason, you are likely to notice that your nails are becoming more brittle and easier to break as you grow older.

Iron Deficiency

A poor diet devoid of iron can be a factor in brittle nails. Low iron levels or anemia affects the ability of blood to transport adequate oxygen that supports the development of nails, thus weakening them and making them brittle.

Nail Care Products

The nail care products that you use could be causing your nails to become brittle. For example, nail polish remover containing acetone can damage your nails by leaving them dehydrated and becoming brittle with time.

Calcium Deficiency

Another essential nutrient that your body needs for healthy nails is calcium. With a deficiency in calcium, your nails lack a vital building block, which leaves them weak and brittle.

Anorexia Nervosa

This is an eating disorder whereby an individual eats very little, leading to weight loss. The condition can affect many organs of the body, including leaving nails weak and brittle.

Management of Brittle Nails

If you suffer from brittle nails, there are a few things you can do to treat this condition:
  • Moisturize: If you have dry nails, you should use a moisturizer on your hands and nails, preferably during the day or before going to bed at night. If your nails are soft, they might be excessively moist, so reduce the amount of moisturizer you use.
  • Wear protective gear: Wear rubber gloves to protect your fingernails while doing dishes or house chores.
  • Consume iron-rich foods: One of the causes of brittle nails is an iron deficiency or anemia. You should eat foods high in iron, such as leafy vegetables. You could also ask your doctor to recommend iron supplements.
  • Get enough protein in your diet: Keratin protein makes up most of the protein in your nails. Protein consumption is critical for increasing keratin production and keeping healthy nails.
  • Keep your manicures to a minimum: Limit the number of manicures you get to avoid exposing your nails to chemicals found in nail polish and removers such as acetone.
It is not uncommon to experience brittle nails from time to time. While it may signal an overlying medical problem, brittle nails are easy to treat in most cases. An experienced and reputable dermatologist is your best bet in treating and managing brittle nails. Feel free to reach out to East Carolina Dermatology and Skin Surgery, PLLC, for all your nail care needs.

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