Fragile Nails: Causes and Remedies

Our nails can reflect several underlying health issues. Here we'll explain the main causes of brittle and fragile nails, and provide remedies to treat them.
Fragile Nails: Causes and Remedies
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 09 October, 2022

Our health often is reflected in the beauty of our hair and nails. If we’re not taking care of ourselves on the inside or if we don’t eat properly, we’ll get fragile nails that get easily damaged and broken.

Our nails are basically formed from keratin, a vital protein that helps in their proper growth and formation.

In addition, a good vitamin intake is necessary to keep them in good condition: Vitamins A, B, C, etc. as well as an adequate amount of minerals and sulfur-containing amino acids that we can find, for example, in vegetable fats.

But let’s look more closely and review some of the main problems with fragile nails and the best remedies to strengthen them.

The main problems with fragile nails

  • Beau’s lines are small depressions that appear in the nails, often after an illness or when we’re weak and our defense systems are low.
  • Fragile or broken nails may occasionally break over time or due to aging, but most of those instances originate in certain illnesses and conditions.
  • On occasions, when we expose our hands to moisture or when we’re very fond of using nail polish, it can cause the nails to peel or chip and become fragile.
  • Appearance of fungus when our nails change color, form, and texture.
  • Bacterial infections can lead to pain underneath and around the nail; they’re very unpleasant and can lead to the loss of the nail.
  • Changes in color of the nail due to cardiac or liver problems.
  • The thyroid can also occasionally cause broken nails.
  • White patches on the nails, also called leukonychia. There are a lot of false beliefs about these white patches, such as them being due to a lack of calcium, which isn’t true.  t mostly is due to small nail injuries that appear when there’s been some inflammatory process or trauma to the nail bed, causing the keratinization to be abnormal. They’re harmless.

How to strengthen your nails: proper nutrition

Essential Vitamins

Fresh strawberries
  •  Vitamin B: basic for the health of not only your nails, but also your hair. In this case, baker’s yeast and wheat germ are always recommended. Most importantly, you should consult your physician to obtain Vitamin B supplements, as they’re highly recommended for these cases.
  • Vitamin A: thanks to the beta-carotenes, you will recognize it immediately for its reddish, yellow, and orange pigments present in fruits and vegetables. Some examples are carrots, strawberries, berries, tomatoes, peppers, or squash.

Essential Minerals

If we include legumes in our diet, we’ll achieve healthy nails. They’re a source of iron, calcium and iodine. Hazelnuts, almonds, and walnuts are also very beneficial.

Home remedies for fragile nails

Olive oil and lemon juice

Lemon halves

Massage your nails with a cotton ball soaked in a simple rub made from a tablespoon of olive oil mixed with some drops of lemon juice, and moisten your nails in this fashion at least twice a week and at night. It will help you transform your fragile nails into healthy nails.

Sea salt remedy

Mix two tablespoons of fine sea salt with 2 drops of lemon juice. Then add a tablespoon of wheat germ (ideal for nail health). Mix everything with a little bit of warm water (less than half a cup). Submerge your fingers in the solution for 10 to 15 minutes. Do this twice a week, and you’ll notice results.

Beer and apple cider vinegar remedy

An equally effective remedy for broken nails is to warm up a quarter cup of olive oil, mixing it with an equal part of apple cider vinegar and half a cup of beer. These ingredients are basic for nail health. Once prepared, soak your nails in this mixture for 15 minutes to obtain the basic nutrients. It’s simply excellent.

Read also:

Apple Cider Vinegar for Healthy Weight Loss

You may follow whichever advice is the easiest, or the one you like best; the most important thing is to be consistent and do them at least twice a week and always at night. If you also add a proper diet and avoid bad habits such as biting your nails, you’ll see improvements little by little.

Photography courtesy of TratamientosdeBelleza

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.