Skin Deep

How to prevent and repair brittle nails


Special to The Miami Herald

Household chores, dry air and cold weather can all strip moisture from nails and leave them more prone to breakage.

Luckily, a little TLC goes a long way to restoring their resilience.

Keeping hand lotion by the sinks in your house will help you remember to lube your hands and nails after washing. Nail strengtheners and polishes won’t change the structure of your nails, but they can help make them more resistant to breakage while you adopt the habits below.

What you can do

•  Wear rubber gloves for house chores. They prevent harsh cleaning products from damaging your nails.

•  Don’t use your nails as tools. Using your fingers to pry things open can bend tips and weaken nails.

•  Short nails are less likely to break than long ones.

•  File regularly. Rough edges are more likely to snag and break.

•  Use lotion. In addition to offsetting winter-dry air, it helps restore moisture that nail polish removers can deplete. Use any good body or hand lotion, ideally after each hand washing and before bed.

• Take a 2500 mcg biotin supplement daily. Studies have shown that biotin can increase nail thickness by up to 25 percent resulting in less flaking and splitting of the nails.

•  Protein and calcium have also been shown to play a role in nail strength; be sure to get these nutrients as part of a balanced diet.

• The latest generation of gel manicures can help strengthen nails. Long-lasting manicures like CND’s Shellac and OPI’s GelColor manicures are designed to last for about two weeks, but as an added plus they also help prevent nails from breaking as long as the polish is on.

Read more Skin Deep stories from the Miami Herald

  • Skin Deep

    The connection between lymph and how you look

    You’ve surely heard the word “lymph” or are familiar with the concept of “lymphatic drainage,” but do you really know what this is and what it means for your appearance?

  • Skin Deep

    A Closer Look at Melasma

    Skin discoloration, or hyperpigmentation, is usually a sign of sun damage that begins to worsen as years of unprotected sun exposure rise to the surface of the skin. While typical age spots become visible around the late ‘30s and early ‘40s, a skin condition called melasma usually makes its presence known much earlier.

  • Skin Deep

    Gluten-free beauty

    Read labels to determine if gluten is being used in your cosmetics.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category