3 questions to an expert

When it comes to fragile nails, I first look for external factors that can alter the keratin


Nail fragility is very common, especially in women. Not only does it make the nails unattractive, it can also cause inconvenience in everyday tasks. There are solutions to fight nail fragility. Interview with a dermatologist.

When you see patients with fragile nails, what do they complain of?

Patients complain of having trouble holding delicate objects.

Often their nails get hung on the threads of their clothing. The appearance of the nails varies: they may be splitting into layers or cracking along the length of the nail or be overly scored. The nails are often soft. It seems as if you can see through them.

What are the causes of nail fragility?

The keratin in the nail is produced at the nail matrix.

The nail's solidity depends first on the quality of this keratin production. If the nail plate receives less moisturisation, the nail becomes less flexible and more brittle. I first look for external factors that could alter the keratin, such as frequent exposure to water, contact with chemicals or repeated nail trauma.

What solutions do you recommend?

I advise working on the factors that cause the fragility.

I recommend external moisturisation after washing the hands or a bath, as well as wearing gloves when performing tasks involving water. The nails must be cut rather short and filed to round them off. Nail varnish is acceptable and nail hardeners can be applied to the exposed part of the nail plate.  I readily prescribe gelatine or thioamino acids to promote the production of sturdier keratin.

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