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Brittle Nails:

What is it?

Brittle nails split, peel and break easily.  It s nearly impossible to grow nails out when they are brittle; because once the nails have any amount of free edge they split and break.  If the nails lack moisture, as they often do with brittle nails, it is likely the skin will lack moisture as well.  The skin surrounding the nail may crack, split and bleed.

How do you get it?

Brittle nails are often the result of a lack of moisture.  They can be caused by medical conditions such as thyroid problems, or hormone imbalance, but more often than not, brittle nails are caused by an interaction with the environment.  

When fingernails are brittle, but toenails are not, there is a good chance that the nails are brittle because they are being exposed to something that dehydrates them.  Detergents, soaps, or other allergens could cause the nails to split, but a common culprit of splitting nails is plain, everyday water.  People who are in and out of water all day long are more likely to develop brittle nails.  An unavoidable factor that contributes to brittle nails is age.  The body´s ability to retain moisture begins to change at around age 35.

How is it treated?

Nails should be hydrated regularly.  A moisturiser that contains jojoba oil is often recommended.  Of course, if the client is in a lot of water, she can wear gloves to protect her hands and nails.  Other treatments could include biotin, a B-complex vitamin that is available over the counter.  The recommended dose is 2.5 – 3 milligrams a day for four to six months.  Silica or orthosilicic acid may also help clients who suffer from brittle nails.

What else?

Applying and removing polish frequently can also dehydrate nails, causing them to become brittle.  If you remove your polish more that once a week may find that your nails have begun to split.  Also the darker the nail polishes the more dehydrating they are.  For home treatments you might add a generous amount of moisturiser to the hands and then apply cotton gloves over the hands to wear overnight.


Paraffin wax treatments are especially good for rehydrating the hands and nails.  Ask your nail technician for further information.