Brittle Nails: What are the causes?

Imagine your nails suddenly splitting, breaking and getting brittle. You can see them becoming dull and rough. Do you know what the possible causes of this sudden nail damage may be? The factors contributing to ruining the nails are numerous. Luckily, once you know your enemy, you will be able to solve the problem of nail brittleness faster and for good.

Fingernails belong to the group of skin appendages. Just like hair, nails are dead which does not mean that they do not have any needs. If you want your nails to be strong, hard and damage-resistant, you must take good care of them.

Common causes of brittle nails

What should you steer clear of if you want to have strong and healthy nails? What makes the nail plate brittle and damage-prone? What are the common causes of brittle nails? Here is the list of the wrongdoers.

1. Neglecting the importance of conditioners and vegetable oils

The first mistake that is commonly made is the lack of nail care. Many people believe that fingernails are strong enough so they do not need any extra conditioning, and this assumption is questionable, not to say that it is incorrect. Therefore, if you want to enjoy having strong and lovely nails, get yourself a nail conditioner or vegetable oil (e.g. castor oil or argan oil) and keep applying it on a weekly basis. Another good idea is to make use of at-home olive oil nail soak with.

2. Uncontrollable nail biting

Another thing that damages nails is the biting. If you have problems with this, first try to understand why you keep doing so – isn’t it your reaction to stress? What does it mean? Basically it means that the less sources of anxiety you have, the stronger your nails should become. Undoubtedly, biting the nails does not serve them well – this habit leads to brittleness. Fortunately, there are some solutions to deal with this problem. For example, you can go to a pharmacy and ask the pharmacist for an ointment that leaves bitter taste on the nails. Similar products can be found in some drugstores.

3. Removing cuticles with a sharp tool

A huge issue contributing to brittleness of nails is the inability to make the nails well-prepared for the manicure. Most people know that they have to remove the cuticles that start overlapping the nail plate, thus making them look bad. Sadly, few know how to do it correctly. Instead of softening the cuticles with vegetable oil and pushing the cuticles back with a wooden stick and removing them with cuticle nippers, some people reach for a razor blade or other sharp objects. Obviously, one motion done with the blade across the nail plate removes the cuticles but it also damages the nail plate.

4. Vitamin and mineral shortages

Many nail-related problems come from nutrient deficiencies in the body. The easiest way to make up for it is to deliver the essential nutrients and vitamins with food. Fruit, vegetables, whole grain food products and everything that is rich in omega acids (e.g. avocado, vegetable oils, nuts) is the set of foods that should be consumed if you want to have strong and stunning fingernails. Following an unbalanced diet equals brittle nails.

5. No protection from harsh cleansers

Even though most people do not think about it, doing the housework such as washing the plates or cleaning up the house also contributes to ruining the nail plate. Detergents used in cleaning supplies are the one to blame for stripping the nails of their moisture and leading to damage. Obviously, we are the wrongdoers as well because we often skip putting on the rubber gloves that always provide full protection. It is time to wear the gloves before reaching for a window cleaner or dish detergent.

6. Manicure that is applied/removed incorrectly

A lot has been said about manicure and its negative influence on the nails – and this applies especially to the gel manicure. The truth is, both the application and removal of gel manicure can considerably damage the nails, provided that it is done incorrectly. Keeping the nails under the UV lamp for too long, skipping application of a base coat, scraping off old gel polish instead of dissolving it – these are only some of the bad things that lead to considerable nail brittleness. Soon the fingernails become thin, dull, brittle and – in extreme cases – impossible to repair.

7. Application of nail polishes containing aldehyde

Regular nail polishes can also be harmful for the nails especially when you use the products formulated with substances like formaldehyde (i.g. formic acid). This is a substance that has been found dangerous pretty recently, which is why many polishes still have it. Therefore, if you want to keep your nails healthy, choose the polishes that are free from formaldehyde and other harmful ingredients that cause damage.

8. Using a wrong way to file the nails

When it comes to the common causes of nail brittleness, it is also worth mentioning the wrong way of using a file. Some people keep using wrong accessories, or follow improper techniques to file the nails. What damages the nails most is gliding a nail file backwards and forwards – you should glide the file across the nail edge using one direction only. Finally, it is better to shape the nails using emery boards that work gentler than glass files or metal nail files.

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