Brittle Nails

If your nails can’t stand up to the natural beating that they endure, well, they crack. It’s as simple as that and brittle nails are no fun! Not too mention they aren’t nice to look at either. We recently had an avid reader send in a question about her nails. She was an older woman that explained how dry her fingernails were. She mentioned that her nails were splitting at the ends because they were so brittle and weak. She stressed how badly she wanted strong nails. She didn’t know what to do and even went as far as asking if gelatin capsules worked.

I can’t stress how many women contact us looking for a cure to their ever so brittle nails and splitting fingernail issues. It’s a very common issue that both men and women are faced with today. The awful part about it is that it can happen at almost any age. However, it does happen more often as we get older. The good news is that there are solutions that can help fix your fingernail splitting issue. However, I suggest you proceed with caution because some of these so-called ‘fixes’ can cause more harm than good.

brittle nails
Picture of brittle splitting nails

Brittle Nail Problems

As you get older, your nails begin to dry out. They literally lose many of the natural oils which play a key role in holding the nail bed layers together. You may be more prone to having this happen if your fingernails are on the thinner side and if your skin is dry to begin with.

Some activities make matters worse too. Using soaps and solvents that are tough on your skin can cause damage and make things much worse. You’ll notice things change as this happens if you’re using harsh products. You will notice that your nails will begin to fray quite a bit and the edges of your nails will become extremely brittle. The layers will eventually split at some point and you’ll be left with ugly, unhealthy looking nails.

I discourage the use of any nail hardeners due to the alcohols and other insanely harsh chemicals they contain. The reason I don’t recommend them is because they dry out your nails completely. The chemicals are extremely harsh and have been known to contain more chemicals than the nail polish themselves. What often happens is that individuals start using these hardeners and their nails start to split literally weeks later.

How To Fix Brittle Nails

If you’re battling brittle and dry splitting fingernails then you are in luck. I’ve got a few methods that should help you fix your nail problem. These methods are those which have been recommended by dermatologists and we can vouch for them here at Although we can’t make any guarantees, we can recommend that you try one of these methods out if you are in dire straits and want to take some action.

Hydrate Your Nails
A lack of hydration is one of the reasons your nails may be brittle and cracking. If you want to change that, you’ll need to hydrate them. We suggest that you begin to incorporate the use of oils, creams and ointments every single day. You can even think about incorporating the tried and true Bag Balm which contains lanolin. This ingredient is great for brittle nails. Other balms and oils that you might think of incorporating contain ingredients like Shea Butter, avocado oil, and Jojoba oil.

Rule of thumb when incorporating a hydrating agent is that you use thick cream or oils. Actually, it’s best to use an ointment if you can. The key is to find something that will withstand movement. You need a product that stays in place once applied. Most will just rub off immediately. Find something that won’t. Another important tip to remember is that you must moisturize your nails and skin immediately after exposing them to water. Apply moisturizer to your nails and skin after washing, showering or doing anything that involves water. Do so as often as possible too! Find yourself a hand cream that’s not too greasy for day use and at night, you should apply a thicker product.

Clip And File Wet
If you are clipping and filing your brittle nails when they are dry, then you are doing it wrong. It’s best to clip and file when your nails are wet to prevent further splitting. After exposing them to water, simply dry them with a towel and gently clip them. If need be, you can buff them as well but do so in a very gentle manner.

Wear Gloves
Some people touch or expose themselves to harsh chemicals on a daily basis. You need to take care to protect your nails if they are brittle or splitting. I suggest wearing gloves if you’re doing any rough manual work or if you’re exposing yourself to harsh chemicals.

Don’t Waste Money
There’s no need to waste your money on gelatin capsules because they just do not work on brittle nails. However, there are certain vitamins and supplements that have been created to help assist with nail growth. Taking these types of supplements can help your nails grow and they can strengthen them as well. Most nail supplements contain an active ingredient known as biotin. What you need to be sure of is that your not supplementing biotin and other activities in place of a healthy diet. Taking action and using products should be incorporated as a complimentary approach, not a replacement.

Lastly, you should know that this isn’t a quick fix. Nails do not grow at a rapid rate. They only grow about 1mm per month and the older you get the slower the growth. What does that mean exactly? Well, that means you can plan on spending a good number of months trying to fix your brittle nail issue. To be honest, it can often take up to a year for things to be back to normal.

If your nails are extremely brittle then I suggest that you take a trip to see your doctor. Your issue could be related to a common disease of some sort.

Brittle Nails
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