What Are Brittle Nails A Sign Of?
Nails are labeled ‘brittle’ if they crack or chip easily. Granted that brittle nails may look unbecoming, but they may be a symptom of some other bigger problem that needs rectification as soon as possible. All the possible causes of brittle nails are a result of either lifestyle habits or activities, or medical conditions and diseases. In the medical world, brittle nails are known as onychoshizia, a term that encompasses soft nails and splitting nail conditions as well. Depending upon the cause of the brittle nail condition, the sufferer will have to take medication, or make a few lifestyle changes in habits and activities to effectively curb and eliminate this problem.
Causes of Brittle Nails
Brittle nails are a more common occurrence among women as compared to men. The numerous medical and non-medical causes of brittle nails are listed as follows:
- Medical Conditions: Brittle nails are one of the signs and symptoms of medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, Reynaud’s disease, psoriasis (skin disease), lichen planus (skin disease), alopecia areata (skin disease), lung conditions, endocrine disorders, selenium poisoning, malnutrition, tuberculosis, and Sjogren’s syndrome.
- Aging: Aging can cause brittle nails since the supply of natural oils and moisture to the nails decreases as you get older.
Exposure To Chemicals: Detergents, dry heat, nail polish removers and exposure to harsh chemicals are prime causes of brittle nails. Excessive Moiturizer: Excessive use of moisturizer, hand lotion and allowing your hands to stay underwater for long periods of time result in soft and brittle nails.
- Deficiencies: B-complex vitamin deficiency and calcium deficiency can also lead to brittle nails.
Treatments for Brittle Nails
Depending upon the cause of your brittle nail condition, several treatment options can be implemented to cure this problem.
- To begin with, always keep your toenails and fingernails neatly trimmed and clipped. If you clip your nails after taking a bath your nails will be softer and you will be able to trim them evenly.
- When you expose your nails to water they expand, and when they are dry again they contract. Frequently exposing your nails to water results in this sequence being repeated one time too many, and leads to weak nails that are liable to crack and tear easily. Wear rubber gloves to protect your nails from excessive water exposure.
- Enrich your diet with B vitamins, calcium, vitamin C, folic acid and omega 3 to strengthen your nails.
- Using nail polish remover more than once a week, especially if it contains acetone, can result in dry nails that crack easily. Limit yourself to using nail polish remover only once a week to make your nails stronger and healthier!
- Do not bite your nails! If you feel like you cannot kick the habit by mere will power, get yourself a beautiful manicure or paint your nails with bright colored nail polish which will show visible signs of chipping if you bite your nails.
- If the brittle nails condition is due to a medical condition, your health practitioner will prescribe a suitable ointment or medicine to treat your nails.
With a little bit of conscious effort on your part, you can make your nails healthy and strong again and can get rid of your brittle nail condition once and for all!