A weak nail is a total buzzkill. While it may be tempting to hide your thin and peeling nails under a gel manicure, there are a few lifestyle tweaks that can easily get rid of brittle nails and make them stronger.
The nails on your hands may be brittle if they easily crack, chip, split, peel, or are simply weak. There are many reasons why nails become brittle. These can either be a result of polishing your nails too often or they can be a normal sign of aging. Alternatively, during cold weather, brittle nails can occur due to dryness.
Read this blog to learn how to fix brittle nails no matter what the reason may be.
#1 Stay Hydrated
Water is just as important for your nails as it is for your overall health. When nails do not receive enough moisture, they can become brittle, break, and peel easily.
Water can help hydrate dry, damaged nails in the same way that it hydrates hair and skin. Make sure you get your daily recommended amount of water by keeping a water bottle nearby—whether you’re working on a desk or in the kitchen.
#2 Minimize Exposure to Water
Long-term contact with water (such as while washing dishes, taking a bath, or swimming) dries out not only your skin but also your nails.
When doing chores, wear cotton-lined gloves and keep your nails outside of the water for the most part of your soak or swim to minimize any negative impacts. The next best thing is to thoroughly moisten your hands and nails after dunking.
#3 Eat More Foods That Promote Strong Nails
Be sure to eat a healthy, varied diet and take a multivitamin that contains minerals. If your diet lacks important vitamins and minerals, it can affect your nails as well.
Consider adding liver, avocado, whole grains, cooked eggs, cauliflower, and other foods rich in biotin to your diet. Biotin strengthens and thickens nails, among other benefits.
#4 Use Nail-Friendly Products
There are several nail polishes and treatments that contain harsh chemicals that can actually weaken the nails. In order to avoid damaging your nails, you should avoid using nail polish and removers that contain acetone.
Additionally, avoid polishes containing formaldehyde, DBP, and toluene, since these chemicals are harsh on already weak nails. Choose polishes that are free from these, so you don't have to worry about these iffy chemicals. Some brands claim their products are “3-free”, "5-free", and "7-free," which means their nail polishes don't even include camphor, TPHP, or xylene.
#5 Always Apply Base and Top Coats
A base coat and top coat provide an additional barrier against things like dehydration and breakage—especially when your nails are on the weaker side.
#6 Avoid Using Gel or Acrylic Nails, If Possible
Gel or acrylic nails are marketed as an easy alternative for people who have difficulty growing their nails, but frequent use can weaken your nails.
Make sure you don't wear your acrylic nails continuously—even if you decide to get them.
#7 Give Your Nails a Break from Polish
On the same note, although nail polish will make your nails look nice, they need to breathe. Nails can become weak if they are constantly painted with polish, even if it is non-toxic.
Use an acetone-free polish remover to remove nail polish, and then let your nails breathe for a week without polish.
#8 Moisturize Your Hands and Nails Regularly
Use hand cream after you remove nail polish or whenever your hands seem dry, making sure to moisturize your nails as well. It's also a good idea to use the product whenever you wash your hands.
You can also use cuticle oil to strengthen, moisturize, and nourish weak nails. It is important to moisturize your nails and the surrounding skin regularly in order to prevent further damage to them.
#9 Avoid Drying Products
Hand sanitizers usually contain alcohol, so applying them constantly can cause your nails to become very dry and brittle. Don't get hand sanitizer on your nails if you must use it, and don't use too much.
In order to avoid nail areas during the application, you can use hand sanitizer wipes. For liquid varieties, moisturize afterward to balance the scales.
#10 Keep the Nails on the Shorter Side
If your nails are weak, you might want to consider cutting them down while building their strength. A shorter nail is less likely to break because it has fewer exposed edges to tear.
Shorter nails also mean a lesser surface where water can be absorbed. After trimming, round the edges with a nail file to prevent snags.
#11 Avoid Nail Biting
We know you don't need to be told that, but remembering to not do it when you're zoned out takes practice if you're habitual.
Gnawing on your nails not only wrecks your manicure but can also make them look rough—we're not just talking about the ragged edges. Biting your nails constantly can actually alter the shape or curvature of your nails as a result of pressure on the nail wall.
To prevent this habit and encourage regrowth, ensure that your nails are cut short and filed down.
#12 Don’t Use Your Nails as Tools
Open soda cans with your fingers instead, or reach small items with a paper clip. You can weaken your nails by using them as tools, which can lead to breakage and chipping.
#13 Talk to Your Doctor
See a dermatologist if you haven't noticed any change in your nails after trying multiple ways to strengthen brittle nails. You can discuss your routine and overall health with them while they look at your nails. In certain cases, they can prescribe you a prescription-strength nail treatment.
The Bottom Line
Having weak or brittle nails can make you feel self-conscious. The good news is that there are a number of ways you can help strengthen and improve your nails.
Follow the tips above on how to repair brittle nails and enjoy healthy nails. However, if none of these remedies works for you, you might consider visiting your doctor.Have any more suggestions on how to treat brittle nails? Share with us in the comment section below!