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Brittle Nails - Causes and Treatment

Published: 2009-03-01 - Updated: 2015-01-23
Author: Disabled World | Contact: Disabled World (Disabled-World.com)
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Additional References: Finger and Toenails Publications

Synopsis: Brittle nails are often a result of aging but may be due to diseases and conditions there are several methods to deal with brittle and split nails.

Onychoschizia or splitting of the nails is a very common problem often seen by dermatologists.

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Onychoschizia or splitting of the nails is a very common problem often seen by dermatologists.

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The term onychoschizia includes splitting, brittle, soft or thin toenails and fingernails. Onychoschizia is more common in women.

Brittleness in the nail may be caused by trauma, such as repeated wetting and drying, repeated exposure to detergents and water, and excessive exposure to harsh solvents, such as those found in nail polish remover.

Nail brittleness may also be caused by an underlying medical condition, such as Raynaud's disease, low thyroid function ( hypothyroidism), or lung conditions. Other possible causes include skin diseases (psoriasis, lichen planus, alopecia areata) as well as endocrine disorders, tuberculosis, Sjogren's syndrome, and malnutrition. Selenium poisoning can also cause brittle nails.

Fortunately, there are several methods to deal with brittle nails and restore them to a healthy and strong state.

Keeping the finger and toenails trimmed and even makes it less likely that the nails will crack or tear. Trimming your nails shortly after a bath or shower makes them softer and will result in a more even cut. Use an emollient (skin softening) cream after washing or bathing.

For people constantly in contact with water the solution is to cover the hands with rubber gloves as your nails can absorb between 20 and 25 percent of their weight in water. Nails expand as they absorb water, then contract when hands are dry. The more water you expose nails to, the more they expand and contract-and that weakens them.

Poor nutrition can also cause brittle nails. The solution is to include foods in the daily diet that will promote healthy nails.

The vitamin biotin and clear nail polish that contains protein can help strengthen your nails.

A regular soaking with vegetable oil is very effective. It replenishes the moisture lost from having your hands in and out of water frequently.

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Disabled World is an independent disability community established in 2004 to provide disability news and information to people with disabilities, seniors, their family and/or carers. See our homepage for informative news, reviews, sports, stories and how-tos. You can also connect with us on Twitter and Facebook or learn more about Disabled World on our about us page.

Disabled World provides general information only. The materials presented are never meant to substitute for professional medical care by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. Financial support is derived from advertisements or referral programs, where indicated. Any 3rd party offering or advertising does not constitute an endorsement.


Cite This Page (APA): Disabled World. (2009, March 1). Brittle Nails - Causes and Treatment. Disabled World. Retrieved January 29, 2023 from www.disabled-world.com/health/dermatology/nails/brittle-nails.php

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