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How to Prevent Nails from Breaking

Brittle nails are an unfortunately common side effect that can come along with the many hormonal changes during the menopause transition. Additionally, as people age, nails may become weaker and more prone to splitting. Sometimes, nails may stay that way permanently, but there are still ways to prevent nails from breaking. Nail breakages can range from simply inconvenient to downright painful, so it's important to address the problem before the breaks occur. Read on to learn the top tips on how to keep nails from breaking!

How to Prevent Nails from Breaking

Clip and File Your Nails

Clipping nails regularly is important for nail health because it continually keeps the edges of the nail new and fresh, rather than worn-out and prone to fraying and breaking. It can also be helpful to clip nails down a bit shorter, since longer nails are more likely to snap off.

Don't Rip Your Nails

Ripping and biting at nails are habits that may be hard to break, but unfortunately, they make nails very, very prone to breakage. Picking at nails is often a nervous habit, but it can have the unintended consequence of resulting in brittle and constantly-splitting nails.

Avoid Household Cleaners

Everybody knows that strong soaps and other chemicals can dry out the skin, but fewer people realize these products have the same effect on fingernails. Harsh chemicals dry nails out quickly, making them more likely to break, so you should always wear gloves if you have to use a household cleaner.

Watch Your Texting and Typing

Typing is so common today that few people think about the damage done to fingernails by consistently tapping away on a keyboard or screen, but it can cause a surprising amount of damage. If you can hear your fingernails clacking on a surface, you might be slowly wearing down their strength and heading towards a break. Keep nails short or make an effort to type with the pads of your fingers rather than your nails.

Keep Manicures to a Minimum

Nail polish, and especially nail polish remover, contain chemicals that ultimately dry out and weaken fingernails. If your fingernails are constantly painted, or if you're always changing colors, you may be weakening your fingernails more than you realize. Even the nail polishes and polish removers that advertise themselves as being good for your nails can still cause this damage.

Never Cut Cuticles

Many people think of cuticles as mostly annoying, useless bits of skin that surround the nails, but that's not true. Cuticles are actually essential for nail health, as they protect the edges of your nails from bacteria and irritants that might weaken the nails at the base. Cutting cuticles only increases your chances of developing problems with nail strength later on.

If you suffer from weak nails, you can follow these tips to keep your nails healthy and whole. For more information on preventing nail breaks, check out these 6 tips to restore brittle nails.

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Sources:
  • Gibson, L. (2014). Is it possible to prevent split fingernails? Mayo Clinic. Retrieved April 20, 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/split-fingernails/faq-20058182
  • Iorizzo, M. et al. (2004). Brittle Nails. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 3(3), 138-144. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17134428
  • National Institutes of Health. (2015). Nail abnormalities. Retrieved April 20, 2017, from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003247.htm