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Brittle toenails are a common problem that makes the nailslook unattractive, which can be a problem, especially for women. However, thisproblem is more than a cosmetic issue, as it sometimes indicates a healthcondition that needs to be addressed.

Thick and brittle toenails, ridges, Mee’s line, white spotsdiscoloration and opaque nails are the most common nail problems and each ofthem may indicate a health problem. Sometimes, however, brittle nails can becaused by low supply of sebum to the nails, which reduces moisture and causessplitting and breaking of the nails.

Causes of brittletoenails

Even though they are the very extremities of the human body,toenails can reflect the condition of internal organs, including the heart. Itis therefore important to understand what the possible causes of dry andbrittle toenails are.

The most common cause of brittle toenails is dryness.Toenails can become dry if there is not enough sebum which covers and protectsthe nails in a thin layer. Reduced supply of the sebum can, again, be caused bya wide range of factors, like exposure to harsh chemicals, excessive use ofnail polish and of nail polish remover, especially if it contains acetone,frequent washing of hands and spending a lot of time with toenails wet.

Fungal infections are also known to cause brittle nails. Inaddition, dryness of the nails can make them more susceptible to fungus. Otherdamage caused by fungus includes thickening and breaking of the nails anddiscoloration.

An unbalanced diet is a significant cause of brittle nails.Generally, any nutrient deficiency makes the nails prone to breakage, but inmost cases it is the deficiency of vitamin B5, biotin, vitamins C and D,calcium and also iron.

Being the extremities of the body, brittle toenails canindicate a problem in blood circulation or heart issues. Respiratory problemsmay decrease the oxygen supply to the nails, resulting in breakage and poorquality of the nails. Other conditions associated with brittle nails mayinclude dehydration, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism and kidney problems.

Treatment for brittletoenails

Since brittle toenails can be caused by many underlyinghealth problems, it is important to get checked for them. Treating a specificcause will improve the condition of toenails and restore their quality.

If the problem is caused by a vitamin or mineral deficiency,it can be solved by having a more balanced diet and by taking supplements.

Fungal infections require specific treatment, which usuallyconsists of antifungal medication in form of topical creams and ointments.

It always helps to maintain proper hygiene and to applyspecial creams designed to lock the moisture in the nails and make themstronger and less prone to breaking. Home remedies like petroleum jelly, oliveoil, almond oil and vitamin E oil also help and they can be used on bothfingernails and toenails to keep them healthy.

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