Everyone strives to have beautiful nails, but brittle nails can spoil the beauty. Weak and brittle nails that can easily become cracked or chipped are a common problem affecting both men and women. There are three main factors that cause brittle nails – aging, long-term use of nail polish and frequent exposure to water.
Brittle nails can also be associated with some diseases, such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, lung conditions, psoriasis, lichen planus, alopecia areata, eczema, anemia, fungal infection, and endocrine disorders.
Other causes include exposure to chemicals, frequent use of nail polish remover, dehydration, excessively dry environment, nutritional deficiencies and some kind of trauma.
At times, brittle nails can be a symptom of other serious health problems like hepatitis, jaundice, lupus or heart disease.
Dry, cracking or splitting nails can cause lot of discomfort. However, you can easily treat brittle nails with simple home remedies that that will make your nails strong.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for brittle nails.
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is very nourishing for weak and brittle nails. The saturated fat in coconut oil works as a great moisturizer. It will also prevent many kinds of nail infections.
- Slightly warm some coconut oil and apply it on each nail. Massage gently and thoroughly for five minutes. This will improve blood circulation and keep the nails moisturized. Follow this remedy two to three times daily.
- Another option is to mix one-quarter cup of warm coconut oil and a little lemon juice in a bowl. Soak your nails in this solution for 10 minutes before going to bed. Wear gloves overnight for best results.
Follow either of these remedies for several weeks until your nails become healthy and strong.
Along with coconut oil, you can also use olive oil to treat brittle nails.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another good remedy for brittle nails. It is loaded with nutrients that are healthy for your nails, such as vitamins, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron. Plus, it has malic acid and acetic acid that can help fight nail infections.
- Mix equal amounts of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and water in a small bowl.
- Soak your nails in this solution for a few minutes.
- Immediately after, gently push down the cuticles.
- Do this once daily and within a few days your nails will become much stronger.
You can save the solution for future use.
3. Vitamin E Oil
Often the main culprit behind brittle nails is lack of moisture. Vitamin E oil is a great remedy to keep your nails moisturized and hydrated. It will also help strengthen and nourish your nails and cuticles.
- Break open a vitamin E capsule to extract the oil.
- Apply the oil on your nails before going to bed.
- Massage gently for five minutes to help increase circulation to the nail bed.
- Do this daily for one or two weeks to notice a change in your nails.
For added benefits, you can also take vitamin E capsules orally.
Horsetail contains high amounts of silica, a vital mineral for strong and healthy nails. Plus, this herb can help get rid of white spots in your nails.
- Add two teaspoons of dried horsetail herb to a cup of hot water.
- Cover and steep for 10 minutes.
- Let it cool down and then soak your nails in it for about 20 minutes.
- Pat dry your nails and then rub some olive oil on them.
- Leave it on overnight, wearing gloves for best results.
- Repeat this remedy three or four times a week.
You can also drink one to two cups of horsetail tea daily for added benefits.
5. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil can also help treat brittle nails, especially when caused by fungal infections. Being a powerful antiseptic, it helps fight infections. It will also help treat discolored nails.
- Mix one-half teaspoon of vitamin E oil and a few drops of tea tree oil.
- Rub this solution on each of your nails and massage gently for a few minutes.
- Leave it on for 30 minutes.
- Rinse it off with lukewarm water, pat dry and apply a moisturizing lotion.
- Do this twice a day for a month.
6. Sea Salt
Sea salt has many healing minerals that are good for your nails. It can help strengthen brittle nails as well as soften cuticles and add a brilliant shine to your nails.
- Mix two tablespoons of fine grain sea salts in a small bowl of warm water.
- Add two drops each of wheat germ oil and frankincense, myrrh and lemon essential oils.
- Soak your nails in this solution for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Rinse it off with warm water, pat dry and apply a hand cream.
- Follow this remedy two or three times a week and very soon you will notice the results.
7. Lemon Juice
To strengthen and improve the condition of brittle nails, lemon juice is a good option. Plus, it will help brighten your nails and make them look whiter than ever.
- Mix one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and three tablespoons of olive oil in a small bowl. Heat it in the microwave for a few seconds, until the mixture feels warm to the touch. Apply it to your nails using a clean cotton swab before going to bed. Wear gloves and leave it on overnight.
- Another option is to mix together equal parts of fresh lemon juice and argan oil and soak your nails in the solution for 20 minutes.
Follow either of these remedies once daily for two to three weeks.
Beer is another effective home remedy for brittle nails. It has selenium, potassium, phosphorus and biotin that help make your nails strong and healthy.
- Heat one-quarter cup of olive oil until it is warm to the touch.
- Mix it with one-quarter cup of apple cider vinegar and one-half cup of beer.
- Soak your nails in this mixture for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Follow this remedy once or twice a week.
9. Blackstrap Molasses
A lack of iron in the body can make your nails weak and brittle. Blackstrap molasses is a good source of iron. It contains several nutrients that benefit your overall health.
- Mix one tablespoon of blackstrap molasses in a cup of hot water or milk.
- Drink this once or twice daily for a few weeks.
Note: This remedy is not recommended for those who are diabetic.
10. Biotin Supplement
Biotin is very important for strong and healthy nails. It can be very effective in treating splitting, thin or brittle nails.
A study done in Switzerland and published in the journal Cutis found that people with brittle nails had a 25 percent increase in nail plate thickness after taking 2.5 mg of biotin daily for up to six months.
- Take a biotin supplement daily to strengthen your weak nails. Consult your doctor for the correct dosage.
- Also include biotin-rich foods like egg yolks, whole grains, cereals, cauliflower, soybeans, fish, milk, lentils, and bananas in your daily diet.
- Wear plastic gloves to protect your hands and nails from exposure to water or chemicals. If you can’t wear gloves, keep your nails short to minimize the surface area where water and chemicals can be absorbed.
- Rub petroleum jelly or a thick cream onto your nails several times a day to hold moisture around and under your nails.
- Avoid using nail lacquers, polishes or adhesives that have harsh chemicals like acetone or formaldehyde.
- If you have weak and brittle nails, avoid using artificial nails as they can lead to nail fungus.
- Steer clear of alcohol-based hand sanitizers as they can make your nails dry.
- Do not cut away the cuticles. You can push them back to avoid infection. Use cuticle oil or cream to avoid dry skin and hangnails.
- When choosing nail polish, opt for fortified polishes.
- Take a break from wearing nail polish occasionally to allow your nails to be exposed to natural air.
- Keep an eye out for signs of fungal infections, so that the problem can be treated quickly.
- Follow a healthy diet and drink adequate water throughout the day to avoid dehydration.
- Expose you nails to natural sunlight for a few minutes daily to nourish them with vitamin D.