Nails are made up of a layer of protein called keratin, which protects your nails and toes. Keratin, which makes up your hair and skin cells, protects your nails from damage.

But it’s not uncommon for nails to crack, break, or break. In fact, according to Harvard Medical School, 27 percent of women have brittle nails known as onychosis.

It can be the result of an underlying medical condition or other external factors.

Read more about what causes brittle nails and what you can do to keep them healthy and strong.

What causes brittle nails?
According to the American College of Orthopedic Dermatology (AOCD), brittle nails are divided into two types: dry, brittle, soft, and brittle.

Dry and brittle nails are the result of too little moisture. These are usually caused by repeated washing and drying of the nails.

But soft and brittle nails are usually caused by excessive use of detergents, household cleaners, and nail polish removers.

Other causes of brittle nails include:

Age Nails change with age and often become dull and brittle. Toenails often become thick and hard, while fingernails become thin and brittle.
Iron deficiency. This condition occurs when the body doesn’t get enough iron, which leads to low levels of red blood cells. Your doctor may measure your ferritin level and give you supplements if it’s low.
Hypothyroidism. In addition to nail growth, symptoms of low thyroid levels include hair loss, fatigue, weight gain, constipation, and depression. Your doctor may treat hypothyroidism with levothyroxine, a synthetic thyroid hormone that you can take by mouth.
Raynaud’s syndrome. This condition, characterized by impaired blood circulation in the extremities, affects the health of the nails. Your doctor may prescribe calcium channel blockers such as amlodipine and nifedipine, and other medications such as losartan, fluoxetine, and sildenafil.
AOCD offers diagnostic tips to determine whether your brittle nails are due to intrinsic or extrinsic factors: “If fingernails are split but toenails are strong, extrinsic factors are involved.”

What can I do about brittle nails?
There is nothing you can do about age-related changes in nails, but you can reduce the risk of cracking, splitting, and brittle nails. Follow these tips to keep your nails healthy and strong.

Use a moisturizer
Look for moisturizing hand creams that contain lanolin or alpha-hydroxy acids. You can also buy lanolin-rich nail conditioners online.
Moisturize your hands after washing. When applying oil or cream, be sure to rub your nails directly.
Moisturize your hands, feet, and nails before bed and moisturize while you sleep.
Protect your hands
Wear gloves, such as dishwashing gloves, to keep your hands dry when doing housework. Gloves can protect your hands and nails from harsh chemicals like detergents and cleaning fluids.
Avoid prolonged exposure to cold and dry weather. If you go outside on a cold day, be sure to wear gloves.
Take care of your nails
Keep your nails short to reduce the surface area of ​​the nail that can absorb water and chemicals.
Use fine sandpaper to file your nails. Painting your nails every day will eliminate unevenness and prevent breakage and cracking. Be sure to upload files in one direction only.
Do not pick or bite your nails or cuticles. You can use a metal tool to push the cuticle back, but avoid using your fingernail directly.
Paint your nails in the same direction as your nails grow. Avoid back-and-forth movements that can cause splitting.
Consider using a nail hardener to help strengthen your nails.
Choose an acetone-free nail polish remover and try not to use the remover too often.

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