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Dry Brittle Nails

Dry, brittle nails are usually caused due to lack of moisture. Here are a number of different measures to cure them.
HolisticZine Staff
Dry, brittle nails can be very unattractive, and can pose a real problem, as they are hard to conceal. They can also be very painful, especially if they start peeling. However, apart from aesthetic concerns, it is important to understand that the health of your nails is a reflection of your overall health. One of their most common causes is aging, although they could also be caused by certain diseases and conditions. However, internal disease or vitamin deficiencies are very rarely responsible. Most women will be unhappy to hear that long-term exposure to nail polish, moisture, or acetone also results in dry, breakable nails.

If the fingernails split, but the toenails are strong, it means that the cause is external. If your nails are dry and brittle, it is an indication that they lack moisture. On the other hand, if they are soft and brittle, it means that they are exposed to too much moisture. An interesting fact about nails is that when kept soaking, they can absorb 20 to 25% of their weight in water. However, if you have such nails, then the problem obviously is lack of moisture.

Treatment
Here are a few ways for treating nails in such a condition:
  • As is obvious, the best treatment is moisturizing. First soak your nails in water for 5 minutes, and then apply any lotion containing alpha hydroxy acids or lanolin. Follow this routine once a day.
  • Some people have found that biotin, taken orally, helps. After getting your doctors approval, buy the Biotin Ultra 1 mg., and take it 1 or 2 times a day. You may see results in about 6 months time. However, stay away from this supplement if you are pregnant. You can also try calcium, colloidal minerals, or gelatin.
  • A good measure to improve or prevent dry, brittle nails with ridges, is to wear gloves while performing household chores. Avoid unnecessary exposure to water and nasty chemicals. Use cotton-lined rubber gloves for maximum comfort.
  • Another suggestion is to avoid nail polish removers that contain acetone. It dries out the nail, and causes it to become brittle. If you must use nail polish removers, ensure that their use is restricted to not more than once a month.
  • Handle your nails with care. Use a very fine file to shape your nails, and let them retain a natural gentle curve. File away chips or snags everyday, which will help discourage further breakage or splitting. If you buff your nails, do it in the direction in which they grow. Doing so with a back-and-forth motion can cause them to split. Do not use metal instruments on the surface to push back the cuticles.
  • Another suggestion that is frequently made is to use Petroleum jelly few times a day. Some women apply it to their nails before going to bed, and then wear cotton gloves all night, to prevent them from drying.
  • A home remedy that you could try is to soak your nails in olive oil for about 10 minutes. You are sure to see an improvement.
There are many who believe that a deficient diet is also responsible for nails being in such a state. Whether it is true or not, it will greatly benefit you to have a balanced diet. Ensure that you have enough B-complex vitamins, calcium, folic acid, and vitamin C included in your diet to prevent such occurrence.