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Why are my finger nails brittle?

We explore the reasons for brittle nails and provide you with ways you can help keep your nails in good condition.

Dr. Kline & Green Team
1 April 2020
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During the cold months, you’re likely to notice your fingernails becoming brittle. So, why exactly does this happen? More importantly, what can you do to prevent it? Below, we’ll go over exactly what may make your nails weak and brittle. We’ll also dive into a couple of strategies ensuring your nails stay in tip-top shape over time.

Causes of Brittle Fingernails

Nail changes, such as brittle fingernails could occur for different reasons. Here are a couple of factors to take into consideration when determining the cause of your brittle fingernails.

Overuse of Polish

Contrary to popular belief, the overuse of nail polish and gels, powder dip, or acrylics can be extremely detrimental to your fingernails. This is because some of these products such as nail polish remover contain harsh chemicals that can damage the nail surface. This can also be a problem on your toenails. Polish dries up your nail plate and makes it more difficult for your nails to properly replenish the natural keratin layer. Brittle nails are usually a result of lack of hydration, and polish can dehydrate the area. If you are having issues with your nails it might be time to cut back on the manicures and polish sessions.


As you get older, your nails naturally become more fragile and less resilient. While some of this is difficult to prevent, you can delay aging by taking good care of your nails and engaging in a proper diet.

Medical Condition

You may have a medical condition or taking medication that could lead to dry, brittle nails. However, you can still take care of your nails by employing a regular maintenance routine.


Brittle fingernails are more common during the fall and winter— But why? This is because cold air can easily dry out your exposed extremities and leave fingernails dehydrated. Therefore, try to wear gloves or other appropriate weather protection whenever you go outside. Moreover, it’s wise to amp up your moisturization routine during the colder seasons for preventative maintenance.

General Climate

In the same way that the weather affects your fingernails on a daily basis, the climate as a whole can affect the strength of your nails. If you find yourself with brittle nails after moving to a new area, consider adjusting your fingernail routine. You may need more or less hydration depending on how your immediate climate has changed.

Improper Nutrition

Nail brittleness could be a sign of improper nutrition— Consider consulting your doctor or nutritionist to make sure that you’re getting all your essential vitamins and minerals. Health conditions such as iron deficiency can cause nail problems with your nail bed and nails such as ridges, brittleness or weak nails so this is another area to investigate if you are experiencing problems with your nails.

How Can I Improve My Fingernails?

Just as you might adopt a skin care routine to look after your skin such as moisturizing or other dermatology products, you can do the same thing with your nails. Here are a couple of ways you can improve your brittle fingernails and improve your nail health:

Protect Your Hands

Especially when you’re outside, it’s a good idea to protect your hands as much as possible. Gloves can protect your hands from drastic environmental changes. This also extends to wearing rubber gloves while washing dishes or wearing protective equipment when doing yard work.

Regular Nail Care

To ensure healthy nails, you’ll need to engage in regular nail care. That means trimming, moisturizing, and keep your nails properly cleaned.

Eating A Nutrient-Rich Diet

Brittle fingernails could be an indicator of a poor diet. Make sure you are eating lots of fruits and vegetables for natural sources of critical vitamins and minerals. Moreover, natural fats like omega-3s can help develop strong, glossy nails from foods like wild Alaskan salmon and high quality meat.


To keep your nails in the best shape possible, you’ll want to use a regular moisturizer and/or nail strengthener. Drs. Kline + Green offers HYDRATE for just the purpose. The nail strengthener lotion restores damaged, brittle splitting nails and proactively protects your nails for the future. It’s especially important to implement a moisturization routine during the cold months when your nails are super susceptible to drying and developing cracks.

Protecting Your Nails Is A Process

Developing healthy nails takes considerable time and effort, but it is ultimately worth it in the end. Working to change your lifestyle to create healthy, strong nails is likely to improve your overall health.

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