Brittle nails are characterized by hardness, peeling, crumbling, fissures, excess longitudinal ridges or lack of flexibility of the finger and toe nails. This sometimes causes pain and interferes with normal daily activities.
Many different dermatologic conditions including some autoimmune disorders, infections, dryness and certain medications can affect the nails.
Here are some tips to help:
- Keep the nails short. This prevents the nails from catching on things or acting as a lever and causing further damage.
- Protect the nails when performing wet work (like washing dishes) by using rubber gloves and cotton glove liners.
- Avoid excess contact with water or chemicals (including nail polish remover) which can cause dryness.
- Use moisturizer on your nails multiple times per day and reapply the moisturizer after your hands come in contact with water. You can use the same moisturizer used for your dry skin.
- Steer clear of cosmetic products such as artificial nails and nail wraps which can cause damage.
Talk to your Dermatologist:
* If your dermatologist approves, try a course of biotin for your have brittle nails.
* If you're diagnosed with a fungal infection of your nails, your dermatologist can discuss a variety of treatment options which are available.
The SSF thanks Adam I. Rubin, MD for authoring these tips. Dr. Rubin is Director of the Nail Practice & Assistant Professor of Dermatology, Perleman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.