Why Do My Nails Break? 6 Factors That Could Be to Blame

Why Do My Nails Break_

If your nails are prone to breaking and splitting, there can be a few factors that are contributing to the problem.

Some of these can be health related but your lifestyle can also make nails dry, flaky and more likely to break.

Here are 6 common scenarios that could be contributing:

You’re Not Getting Enough Iron

If you notice your nails have depressions in them, it could point to a deficiency in iron. Flat, spoon shaped nails can also be linked to iron deficiency anaemia.

If you aren’t getting enough iron in your diet, your body doesn’t produce as much haemoglobin. This is needed for transporting red blood cells around the body – including to the nail matrix (the tissue under cuticle that helps to keep nails healthy as they grow).

A lack of iron can affect the quality and strength of the new nail that grows from the nail matrix and it can make nails more likely to split and break.

If you’re deficient in iron, you may also find that your nails are pale due to the lack of haemoglobin and this can also extend to your skin. Other signs can include feeling tired a lot, frequent headaches and being short of breath.

You’re Not Getting Enough Biotin

Another dietary factor can involve biotin. This is one of the B vitamins and it is strongly linked to healthy nails, hair and skin. If you’re lacking in biotin, it can show itself in the condition of your nails, especially if they are weak and break a lot.

Upping your biotin intake can potentially make a lot of difference to your nails if there’s a chance that you’re not getting enough in your diet at the moment.

A study published in The Journal of Cosmeti Dermatology looked at the effects of taking 2500 mcg of biotin each day and the results were encouraging. This level of biotin helped to make nails stronger and less brittle but it wasn’t an overnight success. The study was a fairly long term one and these improvements took place over a period of 6 to 9 months.

If you’re patient enough to play the long term, keeping an eye on your biotin intake can be a great way to help your nails to be healthier.

You Spend a Lot of Time Texting or Typing

If your nails are not particularly short and trim, doing a lot of texting or typing can really take its tolls on them.

Nails of a certain length can repeatedly make contact with your phone screen or keyboard whenever you text or type and this can damage them, resulting in splits and even fractures of the nail.

The easiest way around this is to keep your nails fairly short so that there isn’t so much potential for damage.

You Don’t Use Hand Cream Regularly (Or At All)

If you don’t use hand cream on a regular basis, there is a good chance that your nails are on the dry side and this can encourage them to weaken.

When the cuticle area is visibly dry, the same will also be true of the nail matrix. This can also affect the new nail that grows from the nail matrix, resulting in brittle nails that are more prone to breaking.

You can help to reduce potential for splitting and breakage by keeping your nails well moisturised – especially around the cuticles – and reapplying hand cream whenever your hands have been in water.

Your Hands Spend a Lot of Time in Water

Dry nails are likely to be an even bigger problem if your hands are in water a lot. This dries your nails out and can make them weaker. This can happen if you do the washing up by hand or wash your hands a lot, for example.

If posssible, wear gloves when you wash up so that your nails aren’t in such prolonged contact with water.

Your Nails Are Always Polished

Nail polish might make your nails look stylish and pretty but it doesn’t do a lot for the health of your nails.

Nail polish can really dry out your nails, especially while it dries. Most nail polishes also contain ingredients that draw moisture out from the nail plate, which can make your nails weaker. Base coats and top coats can exaggerate this problem too.

Using acetone-free nail polish and nail polish remover can help to stop the nail beds drying out as much, especially if your nails aren’t polished every single day.

The more you wear polish, the more this is the case so it’s not a great idea to have polish on your nails every day without giving your nails a break from it. To help your nails, give them a reprieve from polish for a few days every so often.

So as you can see, a lot of the things we do on a daily basis can affect the strength and health of our nails but there’s also a few things you can to rectify this and help your nails to be less prone to breaking and splitting.

 

 

 

 

How Does Stress Affect Your Skin?

stress and skin

Stress can affect your skin in a lot of ways and can make some common skin problems worse, especially acne, eczema and psoriasis.

It can become a very vicious circle in which your skin becomes a source of anxiety and stress, and this then has an even worse effect on your skin.

Getting stress and anxiety under control can be one of the best things you can do for your skin, especially as it can have a knock on effect on diet, sleep and other factors that can also affect the state of your skin.

Here’s what you need to know about how stress can encourage existing skin conditions to flare up and have a helping hand in why they occur in the first place.

The Mind-Body Connection

Research has shown that people with skin conditions often experience stress and anxiety too and this isn’t too surprising when you think about the psychological effects that skin conditions can have on self esteem and body image.

Most of us know how quickly spots could zap your self confidence as a teenager and this feeling can be a whole lot worse if you have bad acne as an adult or you develop eczema or psoriasis on areas of the face and body that are obvious to other people.

Anxiety also be one of the culprits for fuelling skin conditions, and stress hormones play a big part in this, particularly where acne is concerned.

When your body produces more cortisol as part of the fight or flight response, your skin responds by producing more oil and this can pave the way for acne. If you notice that you tend to break out more during stressful periods, this is one of the reasons why it happens.

Stress can encourage us to eat comfort foods, often of the sugary and starchy kind. These kind of high GI (glycaemic index) foods have been linked to acne breakouts.

Stress can affect sleep patterns and this can have a knock on effect on your skin. Levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) decrease while you sleep but of course, this doesn’t happen to the same extent if you struggle to sleep well. High levels of cortisol can make existing skin conditions worse, especially eczema and psoriasis.

Stress can encourage tic behaviours such as picking at your skin or pulling your hair. These type of actions can lead to scarring and even permanent hair loss. Researchers aren’t entirely sure why people engage in tic behaviours but it may be that it’s a type of coping behaviour.

Tips for Dealing with the Effects of Stress on Your Skin

Unfortunately, we can’t avoid stress completely (especially in modern life!) but we can change how we respond to it.

Here are some tips for reducing your stress levels and helping your skin to be less affected by the effects of stress:

Keep up with your skincare routine: When you’re feeling frazzled and anxious, your routine can quickly fall apart and you may find yourself forgetting to take care of your skin.

Exercise regularly: Exercise can reduce stress levels and releases ‘feel good’ endorphins that boost your mood and wellbeing. Even a quick walk can be invigorating, clear your head and help you to feel bit better.

Set aside some ‘me’ time: Lots of us don’t take time for self care and this can affect your mental health and potentially physical health too. Having some ‘me’ time can be anything from enjoying a relaxing bath to spending time reading a book. The important part is that you’re doing something that benefits your mental and physical wellbeing. Even exercise and sleep are forms of self care if you look at it this way!

Set some boundaries: Some stress can be caused by not feeling able to say no to people or reject situations that aren’t going to be good for your wellbeing. Don’t feel bad or guiilty about setting boundaries for yourself and being more assertive. You may actually find that people respect you more for doing this (assuming you tread the line between being assertive and being aggressive!).

Hypnotherapy: If self care measures don’t help as much as you hope, you may want to try a more permanent way to change your response to stress and anxiety. Hypnotherapy taps into the unconscious mind, which makes it more powerful for changing the way that you think and feel. If you don’t deal very well with stress, it can help you to react in a healthier and more positive way so that the effects aren’t so evident in your skin.