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Thread: What causes nails to break?

  1. #1
    SVZ
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    Default What causes nails to break?

    Dear Paula,
    What causes fingernails to split and break? Is there anything I can do about it?

    Connie, via email

    Dear Connie,
    You would think with all the nail products available everyone would have strong, durable nails that grow long without breaking or peeling. Sadly, we know that isn't true, but we keep hoping. Much like the hair we are born with, the kind of nails we have is pretty much genetically predetermined. Some of us are born with tough, sturdy, resilient, and almost unbreakable nails, while others, like me, have paper-thin nails that easily split, peel, and break. Unfortunately, there is very little that can be done to change this predetermined trait. There is little to no research showing that vitamin or herbal supplements can improve or change the condition of your nails. In fact, the only research that exists is dated (Cutis, April 1993, pages 303-305), and it indicates only that biotin supplements may help some people; however, this was a limited study (there are no others) and the conclusion was that biotin is probably no more helpful than moisturizing or being careful about soaking your nails in water. There's no evidence that applying or eating gelatin, calcium or other minerals, other vitamins, or herbal supplements will improve or strengthen your nails.

    Healthy nails that become weak or that show a dramatic change in their appearance and growth can indicate the presence of a serious medical condition. If your nails were previously doing great and suddenly undergo a noticeable negative change, you could be experiencing health problems that require medical attention. Extreme color change, severely scooped nails, pitting in the nail, and nails lifting from the nail bed are just a few of the changes that need medical attention rather than just a shopping spree at the drugstore or an appointment with a manicurist (Source: www.mayoclinic.com).

    While the severe nail conditions I just listed require medical attention, peeling nails and some breakage or weakness along the upper edge of an otherwise normal-looking fingernail is nothing to worry about. Aside from genetics, the most common cause of split or peeling nails is repeated wetting and drying. Nails swell when they absorb water and shrink as they dry. As they undergo this shrinking and drying process, the nail cells and layers lose their ability to adhere to one another. The layers subsequently separate along the outer nail edge, where air dries the nail from beneath.

    You can protect your fingernails in the same way you protect your hands: wear rubber gloves when doing household chores. As often as you can, especially after long immersion in water, massage a moisturizer or just plain olive oil (it's a great emollient and antioxidant) over and around the nail and cuticle, which helps protect the nail. Trim your nails gently with fingernail clippers and file them using a fine-grained file or emery board. Nail polish remover can be drying, so apply moisturizer after using it. As a rule, don't severely push back or cut the cuticles, because the cuticle protects new nail growth.

  2. #2
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    I keep my nails very short and don't use nail polish on my fingers, although I do my toes. In addition to being too much trouble (long nails, that is), it interferes with my typing.

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Causes Nails To Break?

    yeah I don't cut my cuticles anymore

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    Elite Member Tiara's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Causes Nails To Break?

    I just have false nails put on every once a month. I like having nails because it makes my hands look nicer but my own nails are rubbish!
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    Elite Member moomies's Avatar
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    Sorry for necro-ing this thread but I have brittle nails so I was looking for some info on the net.

    What Causes Brittle Nails?

    Quick Tip
    Brittle nails are simply nails that have dried out to such a degree that they are splitting or simply snapping off.This is a common problem for a lot of women, but if you know what is causing it, you are that much closer to fighting back.

    Known Causes
    • -contact with harsh household products
    • -low grade polish removers
    • -metal nail files
    • -chlorine from swimming pools
    • -shortage of calcium or essential fatty acids
    • -products containing formaldehyde
    Tips that Can Help
    • -Use polish removers no more than once a week. The low grade polishes I mentioned above can be extremely drying and have the strength of paint strippers in some cases.
    Foods That Can Help
    • 1. Salmon
    • 2. Tuna
    • 3. Shrimp
    • 4. Trout
    • 5. Cauliflower
    • 6. Liver
    • 7. Milk
    source:
    http://beauty.about.com/cs/nailgrowt...ittlenails.htm


    Brittle nails are often a normal result of aging. Other possible causes include:
    • Low levels of zinc and iron
    • Thyroid problems
    • Certain nail polishes, nail polish removers, and nail hardeners
    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/e...cle/002028.htm

    Numerous therapies have been tried for brittle nails. These include application of essential fatty acids, vitamin c, pyridoxine, iron, vitamin D, calcium, and gelatin (17-19). Several systemic therapies for the treatment of brittle nails have also been tried. Oral iron, primrose oil, pyridoxine and ascorbic acid have been suggested to be of some value (20). More recently biotin, a water-soluble B-complex vitamin, has been demonstrated in several studies to be beneficial in the treatment for brittle nails (21-23). The initial rational for this treatment came from the field of veterinary medicine where biotin had been used for the treatment of pathologic hoof changes in horses (24). An association between deficiency of B-complex vitamins had also been proposed as early as 1940 (25). The recommended daily oral biotin dose is 2.5 mg, with two months being the average time before clinical improvements are observed and the recommended time of treatment is 3-6 months. An increase in nail thickness, decreased lamellar splitting, and decreased irregularities of the dorsal nail plate surface were observed in patients with brittle nails treated with Biotin (21). It is not known how long the improvement in nail strength lasts after cessation of biotin treatment. It also remains unclear how biotin-dependent biochemical mechanisms are responsible for nail plate strength, and whether they are necessary for nail keratin or intercellular cement substance production. Lastly, treatments that would increase the rate of nail growth would be beneficial in the treatment of brittle nails.
    http://www.findarticles.com/p/articl...110152641/pg_1
    Vitamin Bs !!!!!!

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    Hit By Ban Bus! pacific breeze's Avatar
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    I've always had horrible soft nails that break all the time. I've spent a fortune on products, vitamins, treatments, fake nails and now I just keep them short and usually polished in clear. Just the other day all my nails were at a decent length and now three have broken off at the quick one after the other.

    I do believe it is genetic because I eat well, and take vitamins etc. and it still happens. I also have very thin, fine hair and I think they are linked somehow,

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    Elite Member moomies's Avatar
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    My hair is thick and coarse and man do I have tons (including unwanted hairs ) but my nails are still brittle. In my case, I think my diet is bad cuz I don't eat 3 proper meals and my meals are prolly not so balanced nutrition-wise.

    If you think it's crazy, you ain't seen a thing. Just wait until we're goin down in flames.

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    My nails aren't dry and brittle, but soft and feeble like PB's. It sucks, especially when I'm trying to break the biting habit - I can do it, but it's a lot easier not to bite them when they look nice and don't snag and tear all the time, *sigh*.

    My hair, though, is very thick and I have a lot of it. So I dunno. I also eat well and take vitamins to supplement, and my multi contains Biotin. I'm basically at a loss. I use a strengthening clear polish, but it doesn't actually penetrate to strengthen the nail, just provides a barrier, like nail-armor. Poo, I say.
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    Elite Member NawdleZouss's Avatar
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    My nails have always been really hard and practically unbreakable. They started to peel last week. I've been really busy lately, could it be stress?
    2 years...

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    I can really tell a big difference, when I take vitamins. When I stop taking vitamins, my nails quit growing and break but while I am taking them, they grow fast and seem to stay in better condition.

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    Elite Member Aella's Avatar
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    I've always had terrible nails-they peel, bend, and generally look like crap. I've tried some products, but to no avail. Now I just keep them really short and don't bother.

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    For some reason, my nails improve and grow very well during the warm months, but they are a disaster, peeling and breaking, during the winter. Maybe it's the electric heating that contributes to it. I have my hands in water a lot, too.

    When I was younger, I used to put two or three coats of Sally Hansen's acrylic nail hardener on before I applied two or three coats of polish. Did I ever grow long talons!

    I used to be able to peel the whole lot off in one go once it started to chip!
    I don't wear nail polish on my fingernails any more because our lovebird likes to play with my nails. I paint my toenails during the summer, though. No problem getting them to grow!

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    i have natural medium-length nails that i play up with polish and hand jewelry and stuff..i think that if you don't have enough calcium, your hair and nails are more prone to breakage?
    it could be a simple matter of making your diet more nutritious..

  14. #14
    Hit By Ban Bus! pacific breeze's Avatar
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    My diet is plenty nutritious and I've had the problem ever since I can remember. So it isn't always that, although it can be a factor.

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