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Hello everyone,

I work as a cleaning lady in a hotel. Because of this, my hands are in soapy water a lot of the time. I really hate using gloves because I don't feel what I am doing and it gives me very unpleasant sensations. My nails are extremely weak and brittle. I am not sure if my job has anything to do with that, but because I have a suspicion that it might, I thought I'd mention what I do.

I am not sure what to do. I have used so-called nail strengthening nail polish before but the polish comes off within a day. So that is not really an option either. How can I naturally strengthen my weak and brittle nails so they don't break as easily and look decent?

Thanks!

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Hi Not Silky Soft,

Being a long-time vegetarian, I was suffering from the same symptoms. My nails were really soft, I got splits in them, and they had deep grooves as well. They never grew long enough for me to see the white bit. When I turned 50, I got a letter from my doctor recommending me to take vitamin D tablets because I would now be more susceptible to osteoporosis. I have now been taking both calcium and vitamin D for about four years.

I wasn't expecting to see any changes in my nails, which had been weak for so long that I really did not think they could ever be any stronger. But, since I have been taking the combined vitamin D and calcium tablets, the strength of my nails has definitely improved. My nails don't break as often any more, and I can have nice manicured nails for a change. So maybe you could give it a go?

Good luck with that and I hope it works out for you.
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There are lots and lots of things you can do to actively make your nails stronger. Let's see:

- Brittle nails can be caused by a dietary problem. In that case you can solve your problems by taking a daily multivitamin. You can also try fish oil tablets. They contain the kind of vitamins which you need for better nails, which is Omega 3s.
- Do you ever use your nails to scratch off labels, peel open shoelaces, undo little screws, that kind of thing? Well, stop doing it.
- Don't mess with your cuticles. When you push your cuticles back, you will probably damage your nail bed. Just leave them alone already.
- I do recommend that you do try wearing gloves. You may not like it at first, but I suspect you will get used to it.
- Use a neutral nail polish to protect your nails.
- Do not use antibacterial hand wipes. They may get rid of bacteria, but they will kill your nails in the process. Normal, ordinary soap works just as well.
- Use shea butter to keep your hands and nails well moisturized.

I'm betting at least one of these tips will help you get strong and beautiful nails. Good luck!

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Yes, doing lots of chores, using hand dryers, being in heated or air conditioned rooms, all those things would dry your nails out and make them more prone to breaking. I'm willing to bet that your hands are pretty dry overall, in fact. In short, stop torturing your hands and nails. If anything bad happened to them, you wouldn't be able to do your job, right? I too worked in a hotel as a student, and I remember the absolutely disgusting things people used to do, including but not limited to defecating in the bath and menstruating all over the bed sheets. I am surprised your employer let's you work without gloves, in fact. You could be exposing yourself too all kinds of true health hazards.

So, your nails. Yes, you want to start wearing those gloves, but I doubt that will solve the problem with your nails. Make sure you use a very good hand cream and nail oils as well. Keep your hands and nails moisturized all the time. Then, file your nails into an oval shape so they're less lightly to get caught on things. Keep them short, obviously. Then, put a polish on so you have more of an incentive not to damage your nails. Finally, a healthy diet will make your nails stronger.
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Top reasons your nails may be brittle:

  1. You are deficient in iron. Especially if you also have those tell-tale grooves in your nails, go get a blood test and then either simply eat more iron-rich foods (like spinach, apricots, etc) or take a supplement. Discuss with your doctor first.
  2. You don't use hand lotion, or not enough. Especially if you work with water as you do, you need to be aware that this dries your hands out. Yes, that includes your nails. Any time you're done with water, wash and moisturize your hands.
  3. You don't use biotin. That's that "hair and nail" strengthener already mentioned here. You won't need more than 2.5 mg a day.
  4. You do your nail routine all wrong. But since you don't have one, that won't apply to you.

Hope there's something here that can be of help to you.

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Products to strengthen your nails, well, you've got lots and lots of choice. They're not all equally good of course. CND SolarOil was made for people with dry nails and dry cuticles, so if you're feeling like you have a desert developing on your nails, I'd advise that one. It costs about $9. Barielle Nail Strengthening cream comes in a tub and is a bit more on the pricey side at $17. Still, if you're desperate enough to get stronger nails to ask a question on the web, I assume you are willing to spend a bit to make it happen.

The way you file your nails also makes a difference, so look for a crystal file that will give your nails a lasting shape that makes them less likely to get snagged on things.

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Hello everyone,

Glad to see there are so many people here. I'd like to thank you all for your advice. Today, I noticed that I had a few "scrapes" on the skin of my right hand. Wondering what happened to them, I took a closer look and saw that they were not scrapes at all but cracks in my skin. So it's not just my nails that are dry but my whole hands. I will certainly keep all your advice in mind and try to use some of the tips you recommended. Now is the time to act, that is for sure. My body is telling me that enough is enough and I will go out and buy some gloves as well as look into products for both my skin and nails. Tips for hand creams would also be appreciated.

Thanks!
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Note: If you previously had strong and healthy looking nails and then suddenly they got weak and brittle, this could be a wake up call to let you know you have a health issue that needs seeing to.

If not, weak and brittle nails are probably caused by a combination of exposure to weather, chemicals, hot baths, and a lake of care.

So take Biotin, keep your nails trimmer (filing is better than cutting), stay away from alcohol containing hand sanitizers and nail polish removers, and religiously use cuticle oil to strengthen your nails. This should make a noticeable difference within a few weeks. Do give it time. There is no magic cure, but these things will improve the strength of your nails.
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What to do to get stronger nails? Alright, though everyone seems wildly enthusiastic about using nail strengtheners, I actually heard that they can make matters worse. They're not, like, scientifically tested or anything and basically there's no evidence that they work. I'd stick to moisturizing, not messing with your cuticles if you do, staying away from them household chemicals which you obviously use a lot, so yeah, use gloves alright? I've also heard that washing your hands too often, especially with them antibacterial alcohol bottle thingies, is bad news for your hands so probably also for your nails. Just the old soap and water will do the trick, and then follow it up with some nice hand cream, you know?

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Well, that's true up to a point. I sometimes use OPI's (great brand!) Nail Envy strengthener. When you read a description about the product, they make it pretty clear that it does not permanently strengthen your nails. That is, your nails are stronger only while you are wearing it, and when you remove it, your nails are back to the way they were before. That does not mean the product does nothing for you. If you have nails that tend to break, something like Nail Envy keeps your nails safe, preventing them from breaking, which doesn't just like unsightly but if they break in an awkward way it can also cause bleeding and discomfort. So as long as you keep in mind that they are not a systemtic solution, nail hardeners can be incredibly useful.
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Hello,

You want to:

- Not use any nail polish remover that contains acetone.
- Not expose your nails to household chemicals, which can make them brittle and weak. Wear gloves.
- Use a daily multivitamin, because your nutritional status is shown through your nails and weak and brittle nails are a sign that you are lacking in something.
- Use a nail serum that contains proteins to strengthen them as well. Original O.P.I. Nail Envy is a good product, but there are many others that do something similar for your nails.

Hope that helps!
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