Affecting the aesthetic appeal of your hands, brittle nails can diminish a person’s self-esteem and make it impossible to receive most beauty treatments involving the nails. Brittle nails can occur for a variety of reasons, including excessive polishing, dry weather, anemia, hypothyroidism, or as a natural result of aging. Instead of losing control and heading straight for the emergency room, it is possible to learn how to naturally strengthen your nails.
What Causes Brittle Nails?
The nails, which are comprised of a protein known as keratin, protect fingers and toes. The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD) has broken up, no pun intended, brittle nails into two categories: dry & brittle and soft & brittle.
Dry and Brittle Nails: stem from lack of moisture, commonly caused by excessive washing and drying of fingernails.
Soft and Brittle Nails: stem from too much moisture, caused by overexposure to household cleaners, nail polish remover, and detergents.
What Can You Do About Brittle Nails?
There is good news and it is that several DIY cosmetic treatments and regular practices can improve nail health. That being said, age-related nail issues may be harder to fix, although it is possible to reduce the risk of cracked, splitting, or brittle nails. To keep your nails strong, employ the following tips.
Avoid Alcohol-Based Sanitizers
Hand sanitizers have become a staple item in cars, purses, and homes, but the overuse of hand sanitizers dries out the nails and skin. The excessive use of hand sanitizers can contribute to brittle nails, so opt for natural soaps whenever you feel the need to wash your hands.
Protect Your Hands
In the same vein as avoiding hand sanitizers, it is recommended to keep hands dry when you are cleaning. You can do this by wearing gloves while washing dishes or cleaning the house. In addition to keeping your nails dry, you will also protect your nails from the harsh chemicals in detergents and other cleaning products. Additionally, protect your hands and nails when you head outside in cold weather to prevent the hands from becoming overly dry.
Castor Oil & Vitamin E
The essential fatty acids in castor oil work to moisturize the nails and create a protective layer. Mixing castor oil with vitamin E oil creates a strengthening solution that helps make the nails less brittle. To make this natural solution, mix one tablespoon of castor oil with five drops of vitamin E oil in a small bottle. Using a small brush, apply the oil mixture on your nails once a day.
Paraffin Wax Bath
This is something that may be considered an indulgent remedy, but paraffin wax can help to moisturize the nails and supply them with much needed nutrients. Melt the wax and soak your nails in the wax for about 10-20 minutes. Remove your hands from the wax, allow it to dry, and then peel it off. Do this treatment a couple times a week.
Baking Soda Treatment
The antiseptic properties of baking soda help to inhibit fungal growth in the nails, but they also work to prevent the nails from becoming brittle or breaking down. Baking soda also strengthens the nails. To make a quick solution, stir one tablespoon of baking soda into a warm cup of water. Soak your nails in that mixture for 15 minutes, rinse afterwards, and pat gently to dry. Do this three times a week.