6 Reasons your nails keep breaking.

Look down at your hands right now. Now focus on your nails. What do they look like? There is a lot more to nail health than meets the eye. What your nails look like on the surface comes from the nail matrix, which is the living tissue below your cuticle. It is deep in your fingers and determines what your nails look like on the surface. There are a lot of reasons why your nails might be weak and breaking and all around in not great shape. Here are the top 6 reasons:

1. Your iron count is low.

This is the number one cause for brittle nails. Iron is essential when it comes to nail health. It is easy for your iron levels to dip into dangerous territories if you are not getting proper nutrition. Leafy greens, red meat, dried fruit, beans, and seafood are good things to incorporate into your diet to keep your iron levels up. 

2. You have a thyroid problem.

Your thyroid controls a lot of what goes on in your body. If your thyroid is out of wack it can cause weight gain/loss, hair loss, acne, fingernail brittleness, and so much more. If you have unexplained weight loss/gain or anything I just listed, there is a change your thyroid is on the fritz. You can get it checked with simple blood work at your doctor. 

3. You leave nail polish on for too long.

This one seems obvious, but a lot of people don’t think about it. Have you ever noticed that when you take nail polish off after a long period of time they have a yellow tint to them? This is because your nails aren’t meant to have polish on them. However, if your nails are yellow/brittle simply due to the overuse of nail polish, consider yourself lucky! Things could be a lot worse. Just lay off the polish for a few weeks at a time.

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4. You’re missing out on key vitamins.

Vitamin B is crucial to nail health, especially if you aren’t getting enough protein in your diet. There are supplements that have been credited for making nails and hair strong, such as Biotin (a popular B vitamin). A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that taking 2.5 mg of the B vitamin daily can improve nail strength after six to nine months. If your thyroid is good, you don’t wear nail polish, and you’re eating plenty of iron, look into incorporating some Biotin into your life. 

5. You have an autoimmune disease.

Nail brittleness may be a sign of a connective tissue disorder, otherwise known as an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases include; Rhematoid arthritis, Celiac disease, Type 1 diabetes, Temporal arthritis, and so on. There are a lot out there and almost all of them can cause weak and brittle nails. But don’t be too worried, there would be a lot of other symptoms if you had an autoimmune disease, so if brittle nails is all you have there is a good chance it’s not from one of these diseases. If you think you might have an autoimmune condition check with your doctor immediately. You might also want to check out this great book written by one of my professors.

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6. Your hands are too dry.

According to Ellen Marmur, (MD, and associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai in New York City), you should reapply lotion after every time you wash your hands. Sounds excessive right? Wrong. Water dries your skin out, and if the skin around your cuticles is dry, then the nail matrix is too. If the nail matrix is dry then your nails will grow out weak and be prone to splitting, breaking, and flaking. 

Your nails indicate a lot about your health. If your nails are breaking there is a good chance there is something wrong with either your health, or your lifestyle. Once you figure out why your nails aren’t as strong as they should be, it is easy to fix. Just remember to lotion up and take breaks from nail polish, and if that doesn’t fix it see your doctor to determine what the culprit is. 

 

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