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Tips for strengthening brittle nails
Tuesday, December 10th 2013, 2:59 PM CST
Dr. Amy J. Derick
My nails are brittle and break easily. Can you tell me how to strengthen nails?
Weak, brittle nails easily split and crack, snagging on clothes and looking unkempt. But a few easy dos and don’ts will help restore their health.
Here’s how to strengthen nails and get them looking in great shape.
- Keep your nails short, since longer nails are more brittle.
- Use regular polish since it acts as a protectant and enhances moisture, and look for formulas with nylon and rayon fibers.
- At night, apply a low-percentage urea or lactic acid cream lotion.
- You may also want to consider a biotin supplement: 2.5 mg per day is the right dose to strengthen nails from the inside out.
- Avoid products that can dehydrate nails, like acetone-based nail polish, waterless hand sanitizers and fragranced hand lotions, and be sure to wear gloves when using harsh household cleansers.
- Pick or peel nails, or bite cuticles.
Finally, keep these steps in mind when you’re trimming your nails: Soak them in a soapy solution first. The extra step softens nails, which can prevent cracking, splitting and horizontal layering. Use a nail file instead of clippers if you can, and -- if you must use clippers -- make sure they’re perpendicular to the nail plate to avoid layering.
Dr. Amy J. Derick is a dermatologist in Barrington, Ill. She is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology and a clinical instructor at Northwestern University. She has previously contributed to Life & Beauty Weekly.
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