How to Treat Brittle Toenails

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Have you ever struggled with the look and feel of your toenails? Does it always seem like they break or appear too thin?

Luckily there’s an easy explanation and fix to your problem – and here we cover that as well as more about brittle toenails. Keep reading!

thick brittle toenails
By: Dandandandandandandan2014 (Creative Commons Share Alike 4.0)

What Are Brittle Toenails?

When your toenails look cracked, dried up, and they peel at the edges, then these are considered ‘brittle,’ which is a common affliction, especially in women and the elderly.

As we grow older, our body struggles to produce and maintain the natural proteins that keep our bodies looking and feeling healthy.

However, just like your skin, hair, teeth, and eyes can alert you of any anomalies in your body, brittle toenails can be a sign that says much more about you and your habits than age alone.

Why Are My Toenails Brittle?

There can be many reasons behind this; some of them are avoidable, some of them are not.


The older we get, the slower our metabolism becomes and the less we sweat. Sweat is a natural oil that keeps our skin, hair, and nails from drying, but we also retain less moisture with age.

Not drinking enough water and living in a dry or hot environment can cause dehydration, making your nails crack.

Since nails are like skin, they need to be hydrated constantly, as failing to do so can lead to onychoschizia, which is a common problem in women.

Lack of Iron

Iron-deficiency is also a concern, as this can result in your body not receiving the appropriate amount of oxygen it needs.

In this situation, your system will prioritize your organs and bones over your nails or teeth, leaving the latter weak.

Washing Your Hands Too Often

While it’s smart to hydrate from within, don’t over-hydrate the exterior.

Washing your hands too much can weaken your nails, as the natural oils and protein produced by your body to moisturize and protect the nails are washed away.

Hormone Imbalance

Thyroid problems can eventually lead to brittle nails, though the changes are less common.

If you have thyroid problems, they affect your ability to control certain hormones that keep your nails moisturized and healthy.


An overlooked cause for brittle toenails is a fungal infection.

The bacteria will eat away at your nails’ protein and cause them to break apart.

What Are the Best Cures for Brittle Toenails?

Keep Hydrated

Be sure to drink water and eat more fruits which are full of juice as well as vitamins.

brittle toenails cure


Using moisturizing cream daily allows you to gently rehydrate the nails without washing important oils away.

This can serve as a good backup if you forget to drink water.


Taking vitamins such as biotin (a water-based supplement) if you have brittle skin due to dehydration, as well as consuming iron deficiency pills, is a quick way to strengthen your entire body and improve the look of your nails.

Talk to your doctor to see which treatment is the best for you and your situation.

Keep Out of the Sun

Being out in the sun for too long causes you to sweat and lose water, which can lead to dehydration. Make sure to keep out of the sun and wear sunscreen.

If you must spend a lot of time outside, always have drinkable water available at your disposal.

Wear Gloves

Doing the dishes or using cleaning products can wash away the protective qualities of your nails.

Always wear gloves when washing the dishes or doing house chores that involve liquid chemicals such as bleach, Tide, floor cleaners, etc.

Avoid Alcohol-Based/Heavy Chemical Products

Avoiding various everyday products like hand sanitizer and nail polish remover can protect your hands and prevent nails from drying up.

Use natural soaps instead of commercial soaps, which have damaging chemicals such as artificial coloring, synthetic perfume, petrochemicals, and phthalates, all of which cause dryness, irritation, and disrupt the cells on your nails.

Quick Cures for Brittle Toenails

brittle toenails

Mixing olive oil and lemon is a quick and easy way to restore your nails.

The moisture of the olive oil and the acid of the lemon will kill any and all bacteria hiding away in your nails while supplying much-needed moisture.

Apply the mixture on your toenails every two or three days. You should notice an improvement after the second week.


We must always be wary of the everyday products we use, our water consumption, and our diet to make sure we are at our healthiest.

If there is ever any doubt that your current lifestyle is treating you right, just take a look at your nails: they say a lot about you.

Brittle toenails are a sign that something might be wrong, so if there is splitting, cracking, peeling, or discoloration in your nails, consult your doctor to see what changes you can make to improve their state.