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11 Things That Can Cause Brittle Nails

In this article, we will cover 11 things that can lead to brittle nails, and since many of these are avoidable.

Read on


Brittle nails may affect upwards of 20% of the population, with the problem being more common in women.

But, why do brittle nails happen, and are there things that you can be doing to make them strong and resilient again?

In this article, we will cover 11 things that can lead to brittle nails, and since many of these are avoidable - do your best to not fall into these categories.

1. Overwashing

Overwashing your hands, or a constant daily cycle of washing and drying can over time wreak havoc on your nails by supplying them with too much water while at the same time stripping off the natural oils.

If constant handwashing can’t be avoided, keep a moisturizing hand lotion nearby to give those nail back their protective oils during the day.

2. Exposure to cleaners and detergents

Your favorite all-purpose cleaner may make your kitchen sparkle in no time, but it could be doing damage to your nails.

Even the greenest and most natural cleansers and detergents can be rough on your hands and nails if they are in constant contact.

If you are a clean freak, or work with cleansers and detergents, do your nails a favor and wear protective gloves.

3. Age

As people age, the strength of their nails tends to taper off, sometimes leading to soft and brittle nails.

This is the opposite of what we see with toenails, as aging toenails tend to get hard and thick.

While you can’t turn back the clock, you can make sure you are keeping up the health of your nails with adequate nail-boosting nutrition, hand lotions, and avoiding some of the things on this list!

4. Nail Fungus

One of the symptoms of having a nail fungus is the texture changing and becoming brittle or crumbly.

If your brittle nails came along with unusual colors in streaks or patches in your nails, you may have a nail fungus.

Nail fungi are often difficult to treat and you should speak with a doctor to see what your options are.

Strut Nail Formula is a physician and pharmacist formulated compounded nail formula to help clear up stubborn nail fungi.

Have an Online Visit with our doctors today to see if Strut Nail Formula is right for you.

5. Iron Deficiency

If your iron is too low, you may develop a condition called iron-deficiency anemia.

Anemia may come along with soft and brittle nails due to the body not having enough iron.

Females who are menstruating and people who do not eat iron-rich foods may be at a higher risk for developing anemia and should have their iron levels checked regularly.

StrutVite is a hair, skin, and nail supplement which gives your nails a nutrient boost of the vitamin and minerals it needs for healthy growth, including biotin, vitamins A, D, &E, zinc, and some iron.

6. Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a common condition where your thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones for your body to function properly.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include brittle nails, fatigue, intolerance to cold, dry skin, thin hair, constipation, weight gain, and weakness just to name a few.

Hypothyroidism is routinely checked for in blood tests, but if you are concerned that you may have this condition speak with your primary care physician.

7. Circulation Issues

If you have poor circulation through your extremities, your nail beds will struggle to get enough oxygen and nutrients from your blood to maintain strength and health - leading to brittle nails.

Signs of poor circulation include your feet and hands being constantly cold, or numbness or tingling feeling in the arms and legs.

8. Cold or Dry Environment

Your nails need to maintain an adequate level of moisture and natural oils to be strong and look their best.

But, when the environment is extremely cold and dry, nails may become weak and brittle.

If the weather seems to be turning for the worse, protect your hands and nails with gloves and apply a liberal amount of moisturizing hand lotion on a regular basis.

9. Regular Swimming

Swimming a lot does not only submerge nails longer than they tend to like, but many pools are kept clean with compounds that may be drying or irritating to nails.

Swimming is great exercise, so don’t go giving up on this fun activity for the sake of your nails - just give them a little extra care afterward.

Keep a moisturizing hand cream handy so you can restore those natural nail oils asap.

10. Nail Trauma

Sometimes nails can become brittle from constantly being bumped or worked with.

If you have a very hands-on hobby or your job puts a lot of stress on your hands and nails, take extra care with your nails before and after intense nail-using activities by wearing gloves and applying repairing hand lotions.

11. Constant Nail Polish and Polish Removal

Everyone loves the look of a freshly polished nail, but for some, overusing polish and polish remover can eventually lead to your nails becoming more brittle.

Nail polish tends to sap hydration from nails (even long after it dries), so over time nails may become brittle from lack of moisture.

Acetone-based nail polish removers then tend to amplify the dry situation leading to worsening dry and brittle nails.

If you can’t bring yourself to forgo polish sometimes, then wear a nail healthy base coat, moisturize with hand cream regularly,  and use only non-acetone polish removers.

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