Whether you do it out of concentration, nervousness, or boredom, biting your nails not only makes them break easier, but it also opens you up for infections. All nail polishes contain drying ingredients that sap moisture from the nail plate and weaken it, and that drying effect doesn’t stop once the polish has hardened, Dr. Marmur says. Brittle nails can be a frustrating symptom of the menopause, especially at a time when women have to deal with a host of other symptoms. Retrieved April 26, 2016, from http://smokefree.gov/health-effects. A variety of natural and alternative remedies exist that are able to address this imbalance. Treatment…, A look at ridges in fingernails. ", American Osteopathic College of Dermatology: "Brittle Splitting Nails. Weak and brittle nails that can easily become cracked or chipped are a common problem affecting both men and women. Brittle nails can simply be the result of aging, repetitive or lengthy exposure to water and chemicals (like cleaning materials), use of nail polish remover, and/or from wearing nail polish for long periods of time. Brittle nails are more likely to be susceptible to nail problems like fungal infections, which will only compound the problem.Keeping nails clean is one of the most basic - but possibly most important - steps in preventing future nail problems from becoming more difficult to treat. Although these numbers vary among individuals, it generally takes about 6 months for adult fingernails to grow out completely and about 12 months for toenails to grow out. Brittle nails are usually also classified as either soft or dry. It could also be the result of using harsh chemicals such as acetone to remove nail polish. MenopauseNow.com. Brittle or crumbly nails can also be caused by: (4) Many people enjoy having strong and shiny nails, so when their nails turn brittle, it can be a disappointment. Brittle nails can be a side effect of some cancer treatments like chemotherapy. Soft brittle nails tend to be thin and peel easily, while dry brittle nails are prone to splitting and breaking. Keratin, which also makes up the cells in your hair and skin, works to protect nails from damage. If your nails don’t become stronger with home remedies, such as wearing gloves while doing household chores and moisturizing your hands and nails after washing, talk to your doctor. Iron deficiency and anemia are leading causes. So if it feels like you can’t keep your freshly painted mani intact, don’t ignore the constant breakage. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD), brittle nails fall into two categories: dry and brittle or soft and brittle. Here you are, thinking you’re doing the right thing by never skipping your base coat, and it turns out you’re wrong. It is a common issue that causes soft, thin, or splitting nails. A few small studies show that taking a daily dose of biotin can thicken and strengthen nails. Although they are not as commonly thought of as traditional symptoms of menopause, dry hair and brittle nails affect a large number of menopausal and postmenopausal women. Here are 11 rarer skin diseases you’ve likely never heard of. Water dries your skin out, and if the skin at and below your cuticles is dry, then the underlying nail matrix is, too. Similarly, low hormone levels from an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can also cause brittle nails. They’re most commonly caused by the repeated washing and drying of fingernails. You can’t do anything about age-related nail changes, but you can reduce the risk of split, cracked, and brittle nails. As the condition’s severity increases, you may experience severe pain as your nails break and peel, and you may notice small pin-like holes emerging on them.