Having your nails look and feel good isn’t just important for aesthetic reasons. Their condition could also be tell-tale signs that something is amiss with your overall health. If you’re suffering from thin, breaking or brittle nails, there are simple steps you can take to understand and gain control over them.
To find out why your nails weaken and how to strengthen them, Shop TODAY called in Dr. Angela Lamb, a certified dermatologist and associate professor and director of Westside Mount Sinai Dermatology, to explain more.
What causes brittle nails?
According to Lamb, damaged nails can signify different things in different people. “Nails often manifest vitamin deficiencies or can be a normal sign of aging,” she said. “Eczema or psoriasis can be found in the nails, too. Often when a patient has been diagnosed with psoriasis, the first place I look is their nails.”
However, our nail thickness, hardness and growth is often determined by our genes. Lamb compared this to the way our hair grows since they’re made up of a similar type of protein. “For the same reason some people have curly [or straight] hair, [and] some people grow long [or] short [hair], it’s all dependent on genes,” she quipped. “But there can also be pathology problems with your nails: paronychia, fungus, yeast [or] eczema.”
Be cautious not to misinterpret nail health with nail diversity, though. “Sometimes there are just normal changes,” said Lamb. “For example, I have fast-growing thin nails, [while] some people have thick, durable nails [that] grow slow.” If you’re concerned about the growth or texture of your nails, a dermatologist can help steer you in the right direction.
What can help strengthen your nails?
First things first, Lamb said to make sure you’re not vitamin deficient. A diet that lacks key nutrients like biotin, iron or magnesium can result in brittle, thinning nails.
Additionally, Lamb advised ensuring that your nail technicians are keeping their equipment sanitized and clean. She also mentioned that lacquers and nail hardeners are great for daily use. “Nail polish doesn’t always thin your nails; it can act as a very good protectant.”
Based on Lamb’s advice, we’ve selected some highly rated products for brittle and thin nails that you can incorporate into your routine starting today. Take back the health of your nails once and for all!
For a list of recommended products click on the link below.
By Cassidy McKenna for Today©