Brittle Nails – Why Do My Nails Keep Breaking?

Brittle nails can be a frustrating and common problem that many individuals face.

Whether you’re constantly dealing with broken nails or struggling with weak and peeling nails, it’s important to understand the underlying causes and potential solutions.

Here we look at the reasons behind brittle nails and provide valuable insights to help you maintain healthy and strong nails.

Understanding Brittle Nails

Brittle nails, also known as onychoschizia, refer to nails that are prone to breaking, splitting, or peeling.

This condition can affect both fingernails and toenails, causing discomfort and aesthetic concerns.

While occasional nail breakage is normal, persistent brittle nails may indicate an underlying issue that needs attention.

Causes of Brittle Nails

There are several factors that can contribute to brittle nails.

Understanding these causes can help you identify potential triggers and take appropriate measures to improve the health of your nails.

Some common causes include:

  • Excessive exposure to water: Frequent contact with water, such as prolonged handwashing or swimming, can weaken the nails and make them more prone to breakage.
  • Harsh chemicals: Regular exposure to chemicals found in cleaning products, nail polish removers, or even certain cosmetics can strip the nails of their natural oils, leading to brittleness.
  • Nutritional deficiencies: A lack of essential vitamins and minerals, such as biotin, iron, and zinc, can affect the strength and health of your nails.
  • Underlying health conditions: Certain medical conditions, including hypothyroidism, psoriasis, and fungal infections, can contribute to brittle nails.
  • Aging: As we age, our nails tend to become drier and more brittle due to a decrease in natural oil production.

Preventing Brittle Nails

While some causes of brittle nails may be beyond your control, there are steps you can take to prevent and minimize nail breakage.

Consider the following tips:

  • Keep nails trimmed: Regularly trim your nails to a manageable length to reduce the risk of breakage.
  • Avoid excessive exposure to water: Wear gloves while doing household chores or tasks that involve prolonged contact with water.
  • Moisturize your nails: Apply a moisturizing nail cream or oil to keep your nails hydrated and prevent them from becoming dry and brittle.
  • Protect your nails: Use a protective base coat before applying nail polish to shield your nails from harsh chemicals.
  • Eat a balanced diet: Ensure you’re consuming a variety of nutrient-rich foods to support overall nail health.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Why do my nails keep breaking?

There can be various reasons for recurrent nail breakage.

Some common causes include excessive exposure to water, harsh chemicals, nutritional deficiencies, underlying health conditions, and aging.

2. How can I prevent my nails from breaking?

To prevent nail breakage, it is important to keep your nails trimmed, avoid excessive exposure to water, moisturize your nails regularly, protect them with a base coat, and maintain a balanced diet.

3. Can nutritional deficiencies affect nail health?

Yes, nutritional deficiencies, particularly a lack of biotin, iron, and zinc, can impact the strength and health of your nails.

Including these nutrients in your diet or taking supplements can help improve nail health.

4. Are there any specific foods that promote nail health?

Yes, certain foods can promote nail health. Foods rich in biotin, such as eggs, nuts, and whole grains, are beneficial for nail strength.

Additionally, consuming foods high in iron, such as spinach and lean meats, can also support healthy nails.

5. Can medical conditions contribute to brittle nails?

Yes, certain medical conditions like hypothyroidism, psoriasis, and fungal infections can contribute to brittle nails.

If you suspect an underlying health issue, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

6. Is it necessary to use nail products like moisturizers and base coats?

Using nail products like moisturizers and base coats can help protect and nourish your nails.

Moisturizers keep your nails hydrated, while base coats provide a protective barrier against harsh chemicals found in nail polishes and removers.

7. Can frequent manicures or nail polish weaken the nails?

Frequent manicures and the use of nail polish can potentially weaken the nails if proper care is not taken.

It is important to give your nails breaks between manicures and use acetone-free nail polish removers to minimize damage.

8. Are there any home remedies for brittle nails?

Yes, there are several home remedies that can help improve the strength and health of your nails.

Some examples include applying olive oil or coconut oil to moisturize the nails, soaking them in a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water, or using a nail strengthener containing ingredients like biotin and keratin.

9. When should I seek medical advice for brittle nails?

If you have tried various preventive measures and home remedies without improvement, or if your brittle nails are accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional.

They can help identify any underlying health conditions and provide appropriate treatment.

10. Can stress contribute to brittle nails?

Yes, chronic stress can potentially contribute to brittle nails. Stress can disrupt the body’s natural balance and affect the health of your nails.

Engaging in stress-reducing activities and practicing relaxation techniques may help improve nail health.


Brittle nails can be a frustrating issue, but understanding the causes and taking preventive measures can help improve their strength and health.

Excessive exposure to water, harsh chemicals, nutritional deficiencies, underlying health conditions, and aging are common factors that contribute to brittle nails.

By following proper nail care practices, maintaining a balanced diet, and seeking medical advice when necessary, you can promote healthy and strong nails.


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