Many medical conditions can affect the shape or texture of the fingernails. Brittleness of the nails, i.e. nails that easily become cracked or peeled, can be observed as a sign of ageing or in response to the long-term use of nail polish or exposure to moist conditions (including frequent swimming or dishwashing). Some diseases are also associated with changes in the nails. For instance, thin and brittle nails can be a sign of hypothyroidism. The term onychoschizia refers to splitting of the nails as well as brittle or soft nails. Taking biotin supplements can help in some cases of brittle nails, and application of moisturizing lotion or cream after extended soaking in water can also be of benefit.

Possible Causes of Brittle Nails

Dehydration

Brittle nails may be a sign of dehydration. Even if the amount of liquids is sufficient (coffee, juice, tea), it may be necessary to drink more water.

Lack of Vitamins

In recent years, food has insufficient amounts of certain nutrients. This has led to nutritional deficiencies in Iron and Vitamins B, C, D, and E. The signs of deficiencies in these nutrients include blue nail bed, brittle nails and the formation of grooves.

Insufficient protein

Nails are made of a protein called keratin. Keratin deficiency can lead to brittle nails. Other symptoms include: fatigue, loss of muscle tone, hair loss and poor healing.

Nail Polish

Nails need air and covering them up with nail polish may deprive them of oxygen. In addition, nail polish contains chemical substances that may cause brittle – friable nails.

Hypothyroidism
When your body has low thyroid hormone levels your nails can appear brittle. Symptoms of low thyroid hormone include tiredness, nail breakage, dry skin, ridges in the nail, memory problems and constipation.

Treatments

Supplements

Your nails need vitamins just like the rest of your body so as to be healthy. When you have low levels of zinc and iron, your nails will show the first signs. You may take a multivitamin that contains vitamins A, C, iron, niacin and calcium. Make sure you are getting enough biotin in a quality B complex formula or try adding the following foods to your diet: peanuts, soy, liver, bananas, oatmeal and mushrooms.

Moisturise Hands and Fingernails

Dry skin can be one of the biggest contributors to brittle nails. Just like skin that gets flaky and cracks when it is too dry, the nails that lack moisture will do the same.

Apply Natural Oils, such as Coconut oil, Argan oil and Vitamin E oil.