Tips for strengthening brittle nails
Question: My nails are brittle and break easily. Can you tell me how to strengthen nails?
Weak, brittle nails easily split and crack, snagging on clothes and looking unkempt. But a few easy dos and don’ts will help restore their health.
Here’s how to strengthen nails and get them looking in great shape.
- Keep your nails short, since longer nails are more brittle.
- Use regular polish since it acts as a protectant and enhances moisture, and look for formulas with nylon and rayon fibers.
- At night, apply a low-percentage urea or lactic acid cream lotion.
- You may also want to consider a biotin supplement: 2.5 mg per day is the right dose to strengthen nails from the inside out.
- Avoid products that can dehydrate nails, like acetone-based nail polish, waterless hand sanitizers and fragranced hand lotions, and be sure to wear gloves when using harsh household cleansers.
- Pick or peel nails, or bite cuticles.
Finally, keep these steps in mind when you’re trimming your nails: Soak them in a soapy solution first. The extra step softens nails, which can prevent cracking, splitting and horizontal layering. Use a nail file instead of clippers if you can, and -- if you must use clippers -- make sure they’re perpendicular to the nail plate to avoid layering.
Dr. Amy J. Derick is a dermatologist in Barrington, Ill. She is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology and a clinical instructor at Northwestern University. She has previously contributed to Life & Beauty Weekly.
by Dr. Amy J. Derick