Brittle nails aren’t just annoying or unsightly. They can end up being very painful. Breaking part way down the nail leads to them pulling away from the skin, causing bleeding and sometimes infection.
The best thing you can do is protect your nails and help them to grow stronger. The good news is that you can do this with some simple changes. You can also use over the counter treatments to help with the strengthening process, whether they’re brittle from poor diet or have become damaged after removing acrylic nails.
Here’s your step by step guide to get rid of brittle nails.
Find Out Why Your Nails Are Brittle
Before you start curing brittle nails, you need to know what the problem is. For some, it’s just diet. Without enough calcium, your bones, teeth and nails can all start to weaken and snap. Brittle nails can also be a symptom of vitamin D deficiency because the body can’t absorb enough calcium without the vitamin D.
Once you start treating the problems, you will find that the symptoms will clear up. The great news is that many of the natural treatments will all help to add more calcium into your diet or help to get other necessary vitamins that will protect your nails.
However, there are times that brittle nails are a symptom of a more serious condition. For example, it could be the early signs of fungal nail infections. No matter how many treatments you use on the nails, the brittleness won’t go away without treatment for the infection.
Psoriasis and eczema can spread into the nails, along with many other skin conditions. It’s worth finding out if this has happened with your nails. There are other more serious conditions that involve brittle nails as a symptom. The only way to completely clear up the condition is to treat the main problem.
Another reason for brittle nails is the way they are used throughout the day. A common misconception is that the nails are tools. People will use them to open cans or to scratch into the material. While treatments will strengthen the nails, the consistent use will continue to weaken them. It’s a constant cycle until the habits are stopped.
The nails aren’t designed to pull at materials or to be drummed on tables. This weakens the whole nail bed, and can lead to the nails later growing at poor rates. You will also find that the nails snap, and they can break at odd angles, causing pain and bleeding.
Overuse of nail polish or the use of acrylic nails is also problems when it comes to brittle nails. The treatments get into the nails and can lead to them softening. This is especially a problem with acrylic nails since the nails are filed and protective layers are removed for the acrylics to sit properly.
To help protect the nails, limiting the use of nail polish and acrylic enhancements would be the best, but we don’t always want to do that do we? So, instead, we want to focus on tips to help strengthen the nails while using the enhancements. The important thing is just ruling out any other reason for your brittle nails first.
Once you know the reason, you can start improving the look of your nails effectively. You can prevent the underlying reasons to strengthen your nails.
Meanwhile, here are some tips to help strengthen your brittle nails to protect them.
Coconut Oil Is Your Best Friend
It seems like coconut oil is excellent for everything. The truth is that it is! It is full of antioxidants to help fight cancer and has plenty of vitamins to boost the immune system, fight against toxin build-up, and keep the blood flowing just right. On top of all this, the oil is hydrating and soothing, helping to protect the skin against damage and ease some of the most common conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
Now it’s also great for nails! Whether you have the start of a fungal nail infection, or you need to help strengthen the nails for another round of acrylics, you can use coconut oil to help.
The coconut has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. The oil gets right into the nail beds, healing from the inside out. The vitamins will also help to strengthen the nail beds, so the nails look brighter and healthier than ever before.
So, how do you use coconut oil for your nails? It’s easy! All you need is some coconut oil in a bowl so you can soak your nails in it. Try soaking your whole hand to soften the skin. This isn’t just great for those who have brittle nails but for those who work hard with their hands.
While soaking, try massaging the oil into your nail beds. This will help to absorb as much of the oil as possible.
The treatment will also protect and soften the cuticles. Far too many people cut or push the cuticles down, but if you’re not a professional, you will do this wrong. The cuticles help to prevent infection in the nail, as they seal the nails from bacteria and fungi in our daily lives.
Allergic to coconut? If you can’t use this oil, there are others available. Try olive oil or ground seed oil instead. You could also opt for vitamin E oil to offer some strengthening to the nails.
Boost Your Vitamin E
Vitamin E is powerful for strengthening the nails. It’s also one of the easiest vitamins to get from your food. Fruit and veggies are full of this, so it’s time to change your diet to focus on it.
You see, vitamin E is an antioxidant for the body. It fights against the creation of free radicals, which are well known for causing cancer. However, they’re not just a problem for cancerous cells. They are a problem for any cell abnormality. This includes opening the cells up to infection in other ways.
Antioxidants are also powerful for the immune system. With the immune system working in the best way, the body can fight against bacteria and fungi build-ups. That means you can fight against the reasons many nail infections start.
You don’t just need to apply vitamin E to your nails. Getting more in your diet will help. If you can’t get it through your natural diet, why not add some vitamin E supplements?
Want to know something great? You can use vitamin E and coconut oil together. You’re offering your extra body defenses and will help to fight infection and build stronger, healthier nails all at the same time!
Massage Honey and Lemon Into Your Nails
Why not create a wonderfully smelling blend of honey and lemon? The two ingredients are perfect for healing, soothing, and protecting. They’re not just good for the nails but the whole body. But right now you want to protect the nails, so you will need to apply the mixture directly to the nails.
Just combine the two ingredients.The best mixture is about four drops of lemon juice into two tablespoons of honey.
If you have sensitive skin, you can reduce the amount of lemon you include. Lemon is acidic and causes irritation for some people. If you can’t use the juice, you can always grate some of the zest into the honey and get many of the benefits through that. This also takes some of the natural sugars out of the fruit.
Honey is full of antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. If your brittle nails are due to a fungal condition, you can fight against the reason. The honey is also full of antioxidants and vitamins to strengthen and protect against other conditions in the future. You’ll also get an extra protective layer against damage from nail polish.
Lemon, like honey, is full of vitamins to protect from and treat nail conditions. The juice can help to brighten and cleanse the nails, while also improving dry conditions that can make the nails brittle.
Just massage the combination into your nails and then rinse off with some warm water. Dry your nails and repeat this conditioning treatment on a daily basis.
This is a perfect option for those who get gel or acrylic nails on a regular basis. It won’t interact with any of the enhancement treatments, and can even be used over the top of false nails to protect the bed during and afterwards.
Once you’ve finished with this treatment, use a moisturising cream. One of the biggest issues with brittle nails is that they are also dry and painful. The brittleness is made worse, so you need to keep the moisture locked in as much as possible.
Moisturise Before Washing Up
You can create your moisturising cream with some coconut oil and lemon, or you can use your usual store-bought option. Before doing the washing up, apply the cream and then put on your washing up gloves.
While you’re doing the washing up, the moisturising cream will soak into your hands. The heat of the water will help to open the pores in your hands and nails, helping the moisturising cream soak in further. Once you’ve finished, you’ll be left with soft hands and beautiful looking nails.
One of the big benefits of this treatment is you quickly deep condition your nails. Many of the options above are designed for overnight use. This one you can finish within an hour and move on.
This isn’t a great option for those with fungal conditions, though. The fungi will grow in the heated, moisture and then spread to the rest of your nails.
Opting for Over the Counter Medications
There aren’t many over the counter options that will help your brittle nails. Over the counter medications are just best for treating the underlying conditions, such as a fungal nail infection. Once the condition is treated, you can move back to the natural remedies to treat the brittleness that the condition caused.
However, there are some treatments that infuse many of the treatment options mentioned above. Many of them are moisturising creams that simply work to hydrate the nails and remove the brittleness that way.
You’ll need to decide whether it’s worth spending money on them. In many cases, it’s best just to treat naturally.
Watch out for the nail polishes that say they are nail strengtheners. In many cases, they contain other chemicals that lead to brittle nail conditions and aren’t the best base coats for your nail polish.
You’ll also want to avoid anything that encourages you to soak your nails in water. The water will just soften your nails, so they bend and break. They’ll become weaker. When it comes to treating your brittle nails with the remedies from above, just use the water gently to cleanse afterwards to remove the oily feeling from coconut oil or the stickiness from the honey.
Protect Your Nails as Much as Possible
Watch out for issues that will lead to damaged nails. These aren’t just drumming nails on the table or using them to open your cans. Many people do a task every day that they don’t realise damages their nails and causes them to become brittle.
For example, the use of cleaning products can cause brittle nails. Always make sure you have gloves when cleaning. It doesn’t matter if it’s laundry detergent or bleach if you need to use them for prolonged periods then cover your nails.
Those who soak their hands in water for long periods will cause damage, as mentioned above. While for some this is something you can avoid—like using gloves for the washing up—there are other people who just can’t avoid the water. Swimmers, lifeguards and some coaches can find that their nails are made weaker from their life choices. You’ll need to find a way to protect the nails in between the soaks in water, which may include the use of the home remedies mentioned above for longer periods of time.
While brittle nails are annoying and sometimes painful, it is one of those conditions that is fairly easy to treat. Unless you have an underlying medical attention, you can use the many treatment methods mentioned above to help fight against the core reasons for brittle nails. Hydrate them and get rid of the fungal infections.
If you do have a medical condition, get that seen too. That doesn’t stop you from treating the symptom of brittle nails, but you’ll want to take steps to cure the underlying condition to get completely rid of your brittle nails for life.