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.