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What Causes Dry Hair And Brittle Nails

How To Strengthen Brittle Nails

Causes of brittle toenails and its management – Dr. Rasya Dixit

Do you frequently wash your hands or do the dishes? Nails that fluctuate between wet and dry environments can become brittle. In fact, the most common reason for brittle nails is that they simply dried out.

If you want to strengthen your nails, there are several easy and inexpensive options:

  • Moisturize. Try a dedicated nail oil or a hand lotion with alpha hydroxy acid or lanolin. If nails are soft but brittle, they may be too moist, so cut back on the moisturizer.
  • Limit manicures. To strengthen brittle nails, limit the number of manicures you have to avoid subjecting nails to the chemicals in nail polish and polish removers. Especially avoid acetone-based nail polish removers. For soft, brittle nails, a layer of polish may actually help.
  • Go natural. Remove all nail polish and leave them free of polish for a few months to give your nails a chance to recover.
  • Avoid alcohol-based sanitizers. Hand sanitizers are a convenient way to keep germs at bay when soap and water arent available. But alcohol can dry out your nails and skin.
  • Get a paraffin wax bath. As an indulgent nail treatment, an at-home paraffin wax bath soothes and moisturizes nails and hands. Soak your hands in the bath for 10 to 20 minutes then give the wax time to dry before peeling it off.
  • Wear gloves. When washing dishes or working with cleaning fluids, wear rubber gloves to protect your fingernails.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on March 22, 2018

How Many Of These Signs And Symptoms Do You Have


Dry, pale, and cool skin Moist, velvety, and warm skin like a babys Dry skin with deep cracks and scale Deep, noticeable lines on your palms and soles Yellowish-orange color on your palms and soles Doughy and swollen face, especially on your eyelids, lips, and tongue Widening nose Sweating less than before Goiter Protruding eyes Flushing on your face and red palms Darker skin in the creases of your palms, on your gums, or elsewhere in your mouth Rashes, especially in the creases of your skin Painless lumps and patches of scaly, discolored skin, and the affected skin feels hard and waxy Reddish spots on the skin that come and go

Protruding eyes

When eyes protrude, its often a sign of thyroid disease.

Painless lumps and patches of scaly skin feel hard and waxy

Lumps on discolored skin that feel hard and waxy can be a sign of thyroid disease.


Thinning eyebrows on the outer edge Coarse, dull, dry, and brittle hair that breaks easily Soft and fine hair with lots of shedding Thinning hair or balding patches Growing more slowly Dry, itchy scalp and dandruff Less hair on your legs, arms, and other areas


Thick, dry, and brittle with visible ridges Soft, shiny, and easily crumble Growing more slowly Peel, crumble, or break easily Lift up Curved with swollen fingertip and thickening skin above the nail

Curved nails with swollen fingertip


Itchy skin without a rash Untreatable and itchy hives

Existing skin disease

Brittle Vs Thinning Hair And Hair Loss

Is your hair brittle, or is it actually thinning? Unfortunately, many women dont know the common characteristics of damaged hair, so they dont know that they have a problem. Being able to identify your hairs condition is the first step towards fixing it. But how can you tell the difference between brittle, dry and thinning hair? And more importantly, what can you do to fix it? Lets take a look.

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Cause: Low Thyroid Levels

Sweat is your body’s natural moisturizer. Low levels of the thyroid hormone, called “hypothyroidism,” lessens how much sweat your body makes. The result is drier hair, skin, and nails. Along with brittle nails, you might have other symptoms like aches and pains, fatigue, weight gain, and memory problems.

What Vitamin Deficiency Causes Hair Loss And Brittle Nails

Brittle Nails: Causes &  Risk Factors + 9 Natural ...

Disclaimer: HairLossGeeks is independent and reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn More. Consult with your doctor before making any changes to your daily routines or diet.

Page Contents

Wondering what vitamin deficiency causes hair loss and brittle nails? Were going to properly address that on this post but before we start, let me quickly ask you a question:

Whats usually your first reaction when you look at the comb after combing your hair?

Personally, I used to feel very sad and depressed after seeing the strands of tangled hair on the comb once I see how much hair we lost. It wasnt a happy experience. In fact, it was scary and depressing that was a long time ago though.

Hope youll gain from our experience and pass on the message to the others to benefit. And yes, theres one more thing weve to talk about, your nails.

So, our topic today is about brittle hair and nails vitamin deficiency.

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Reasons Your Hair Is Brittle

Dry, brittle hair shouldnt be taken lightly its something that must be treated. Brittle hair could be the result of a number of things, right from constant heat styling, to medical conditions, such as malnutrition, hypothyroidism and a biotin deficiency.

Brittle hair is basically a combination of frizzy, split-ended, dull, dry, lackluster hair. Just like dry skin, it presents itself differently, from mild dullness to full-blown hair loss and breakage. If youve got brittle hair, and are not sure why, here are a couple of reasons:

  • Excessive heat stylingThis includes using a blow dryer, flat iron, curling rod, and other similar devices. Did you know hair dryers that heat up to over 175 degrees Celsius can cause the formation of water bubbles inside your hair, which damage the shaft? The same applies to curling rods used for more than a minute at 125 degrees Celsius. Essentially, excessive heat cooks your hair and damages it. It makes your hair rough, as well as brittle.
  • Chemical treatmentsChemical treatments, such as keratin treatments strip off the cuticle layer of your hair, and penetrate to middle, cortex layer. This layer consists of the structures that determine the colour, texture, as well as strength of your hair. Chemicals attack these structures and ruin the appearance and health of your locks. Repeated chemical treatments make your hair dull and susceptible to breakage.

What Can Cause Brittle Nails And Hair Loss

As mentioned, hair thinning and weaker nails can be a part of the aging process. Yet it is important to stay on the lookout for other changes that occur, but understand that it may not be a serious problem.

If you regularly bleach, dye, or apply heating products to your hair, you might be damaging it to the point where it begins to thin and fall out. The same goes for getting too many manicures or artificial nails.

Aside from these general problems, there are three more serious issues that might be the culprit.

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Stress Can Make You Go Gray

Anyone who has watched presidential hair change from campaign to campaign has noticed that stress seems to make hair turn gray, and a study on mice published in the journal Nature suggested that chronic stress may indeed contribute to graying hair by causing DNA damage and reducing the supply of pigment-producing cells in hair follicles. Stress can also cause your hair to fall out.

Another type of stress, known as oxidative stress, may also play a role in gray hair. “Oxidative stress may affect pigment-producing cells,” says Paradi Mirmirani, MD, a dermatologist with The Permanente Medical Group in Vallejo, California.

Going gray is actually a totally natural part of aging, as your hair follicles produce less color as you get older. Your genes also play a role in when your hair turns gray, adds Dr. Mirmirani ask your parents how old they were when they saw the first sign of silver, and you might follow suit. In fact, a study published in March 2016 in the journal Nature Communications was the first to identify the gene responsible for gray hair.

What About Conventional Medicines

What Vitamin are you lacking when you have brittle nails? – Dr. Priya J Talageri

Conventional medicines should really be a last resort for this symptom and often, simple changes to your lifestyle and diet or the use of supplements will negate their need. If fungal infections are the cause of the problem, then anti-fungal remedies from your pharmacy or prescribed by your doctor may be needed.

However, if you have found that nothing has helped, it may be that there is an underlying cause such as low thyroid function or anaemia. In these cases it is worth visiting your doctor, as treating any such underlying cause would be important for more than just your nail condition.

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What Causes Brittle Nails

According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology , brittle nails fall into two categories: dry and brittle or soft and brittle.

Dry and brittle nails are the result of too little moisture. Theyre most commonly caused by the repeated washing and drying of fingernails.

On the other hand, soft and brittle nails are caused by too much moisture, often a result of overexposure to detergents, household cleaners, and nail polish remover.

Other causes of brittle nails include:

  • Age. Nails commonly change as people age, often becoming dull and brittle. While toenails commonly get thicker and harder, fingernails often become thinner and more brittle.
  • Iron deficiency. This condition occurs when the body doesnt get enough iron, which leads to low red blood cell levels. Your doctor may measure your ferritin level and provide supplementation if its found to be low.
  • Hypothyroidism. Along with brittle nails, symptoms of low thyroid levels may include hair loss, fatigue, weight gain, constipation, and depression. Your doctor can treat hypothyroidism with the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine, which can be taken orally.
  • Raynauds syndrome. Characterized by circulation problems in the extremities, this condition can affect nail health. Your doctor may prescribe calcium channel blockers, such as amlodipine or nifedipine, or alternatives, such as losartan, fluoxetine, or sildenafil.

Attractive Hair And Nails Are A Sign Of Health

It’s not just about vanity the appearance of both hair and nails is a barometer of your internal health. No matter what issues you are experiencing, it’s important to address nutrition first. Include quality protein, healthy fat, and vegetable and fruit carbohydrates at each meal and snack. Reduce processed and sugary food consumption because those foods contribute to nutritional deficiencies that lead to poor hair and nail health. It may be necessary to complement nutritious eating with supplements, depending on your individual needs. Taking these steps will not only give you strong nails and shiny hair, but will assure of you optimal overall health as well.

Learn more about hair and nail health with these free resources:

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Use A Moisturising Conditioner

Choose a moisturising conditioner to use after your shampoo. Hair conditioners help keep cuticles lying flat and allows them to hold more natural oils.

Tried all this and still asking yourself: why is my hair so dry?

Make sure your diet is rich in nutrients like protein and vitamins. To find out more about how what you eat can help your hair, read our article on why healthy hair needs protein.

What Are The Causes Of Brittle Nails And Hair

The Main Symptoms of Hypocalcemia

Eating disorders come with a variety of physical side effects, and the most visible changes often occur in the health of the skin, hair and nails.

The longer an eating disorder persists, the harder it may be to restore natural hair growth patterns while hair loss may occur on the head, hair growth is often seen on the face, neck or other areas of the body.

Weak and brittle nails may also take time to regrow, which may be helped by certain supplements or following particular nutritional guidelines.

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Mouth Ulcers Or Cracks In The Corners Of The Mouth

Lesions in and around the mouth may partly be linked to an insufficient intake of certain vitamins or minerals.

For instance, mouth ulcers, also commonly referred to as canker sores, are often the result of deficiencies in iron or B vitamins.

One small study notes that patients with mouth ulcers appear to be twice as likely to have low iron levels .

In another small study, around 28% of patients with mouth ulcers had deficiencies in thiamine , riboflavin , and pyridoxine .

Angular cheilitis, a condition that causes the corners of the mouth to crack, split, or bleed, can be caused by excess salivation or dehydration. However, it may also be caused by an insufficient intake of iron and B vitamins, particularly riboflavin (

17 ).

If you experience these symptoms, try adding the foods above to your diet to see if your symptoms improve.

Summary People with mouth ulcers or cracks at the corners of the mouth may want to try consuming more foods rich in thiamine, riboflavin, pyridoxine, and iron to alleviate symptoms.

Weak Or Brittle Nails

Brittle cracked ones

Having weakened nails can easily lead to them

On the other hand, brittle ones can also be another risk factor for splitting. People whose are brittle often exhibit some of these signs.

  • Peeling nails (esp. at the nail tip edges
  • Nails snapping easily with little force exerted
  • Slow growth

Common causes include medical reasons, malnutrition, very dry thin nails, infections or conditions such as Sjögren syndrome.

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Common Causes For Dry Hair And Brittle Nails

During perimenopause, hormones in the body begin to fluctuate. These changes can cause a whole host of other symptoms, some of which are less well-known than others. Dry hair and brittle nails are two common conditions that go along with the changing hormones, but many women are unaware of their causes and their connection to menopause. Read on to learn more about what causes dry hair and brittle nails.

White Spots Brittle Nails Hair Falling Out Dr Christine Reader Looks At What Your Nails And Hair Can Tell You About Your Health

What Causes Dry, Brittle Hair?

Our hair and nails are constantly growing. Every day is reflected in a tiny bit of growth and, as a result, they can give useful information about many illnesses such as an under active thyroid, , psoriasis or diabetes to name a few.

And remember if you are worried, its always best to have any changes to your nails or hair health evaluated by a doctor.

Before we get onto what your hair and nails can tell you about your health, lets tackle the thorny question of whether or not you should be taking a vitamin supplement to help them grow.

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Thyroid Disease: A Checklist Of Skin Hair And Nail Changes

Although your thyroid gland sits deep in your neck, your dermatologist may be the first doctor to notice signs of thyroid disease. Thats because many signs and symptoms of thyroid disease develop on the skin, hair, and nails.

The thyroid gland

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that produces hormones, which play a key role in regulating your heartbeat, breathing, and many other functions.

You, too, may also be able to spot thyroid disease, and thats important. Caught early, treatment can prevent complications. When thyroid disease goes untreated for years, it can lead to a dangerously slow heartbeat, an injury that refuses to heal, or unrelenting pain. You may have gained or lost weight for no apparent reason.

To help you find early signs of thyroid disease on your skin, hair, and nails, heres a checklist.

Supporting Your Thyroid Back To Health

Proper Testing Completing a full thyroid panel once a year is an excellent idea for anyone struggling with the above symptoms. A full thyroid panel will include free T3, free T4, T3, T4, TSH, and TPO and I also like to run reverse T3. Reverse T3 is a good marker to see if stress coming from overworked adrenals is at the root of a thyroid issue. It is crucial to find a good practitioner who can review the results with you. Unfortunately, it is common to find that while your lab work is normal, you still have symptoms. We truly must be our own detectives and advocate for our health.

Check Ferritin Ferritin is the stored form of iron. Low ferritin is one of the most common causes of hair loss in women. Given that low ferritin is also a common problem for those with hypothyroidism, it is important to have your iron levels tested, including ferritinespecially if you are experiencing hair loss. It is not enough to be told by your doctor that your iron levels are normal. The range is wide , but you should at least be between 65-80. Liver Capsules are great for low ferritin, and I also love Gaia Herbs Liquid Iron. This type of iron, as opposed to many other forms and brands, tends not to constipate.

Adequate Carbohydrate Intake It is essential that we consume enough carbohydrates to support our thyroid. We have talked about this in-depth in our carbohydrates and stress blog this entire blog is dedicated to how to use carbohydrates strategically to support the thyroid.

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How To Strengthen My Fragile Nails

Management of brittle nails starts with addressing the reasons behind them, along with proper nail care as detailed below:

  • Balanced diet: A nutritious and balanced diet rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals is essential for healthy nails. The role of biotin in the treatment of brittle nails is still controversial though, a few studies have shown thickening of nail following its supplementation.
  • Proper nail care:
  • If your nails look dry, dip them daily in lukewarm water for 5 minutes followed by application of moisturiser on nail plate and surrounding skin. You can use coconut oil or any hand cream for the same.
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to water and detergent.
  • Use gloves while doing daily household work.
  • Cut your nails regularly because long nails are more prone to damage.
  • Avoid too much use of nail paint remover and hand sanitizers.
  • Use proper foot wears with adequate space for moving of the toes.
  • File your nails regularly as small breaks can accelerate the breaking of nails.
  • Nail Lacquer: Certain nail lacquers available in the market have natural ingredients to improve the thickness of the nail. However, the role of these lacquers is still not properly evaluated.

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