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5 causes of brittle nails that you should know

Brittle nails can be a normal sign of ageing or could be due to abuse like using excessive nail polish, remover or overuse of chemicals. However, there are some health issues that could lead to brittle nails too.

If you often suffer from brittle nails and your nails break repeatedly it could be your body s sign of indicating some danger. Often an underlying health condition can trigger this and make your nails soft and brittle. Sometimes brittle nails can be a normal sign of ageing or could be due to abuse like using excessive nail polish, remover or overuse of chemicals. However, here are some health issues that could lead to brittle nails that you should know:

Iron deficiency: This is the most common cause of brittle nails in women. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, low levels of iron can make your nails soft and brittle. Lack of iron makes the nail beds weak and this is why they turn to become yellow and brittle.

Thyroid problems: In women, thyroid problems are very common. Brittle nails could also be due to thyroid problems, especially hypothyroidism. In hypothyroidism, the metabolism slows down and this makes the body sweat less. Sweat acts as a natural moisturiser of the body. Less sweat makes the skin dry, the nails weak and brittle.

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Fungal infections: There are a host of fungal infections that could be a reason behind brittle nails. One can pick up a fungal infection due to abuse of the nails or overuse of chemicals. You can pick up a fungal infection while repeated hand washing with a chemically loaded soap, sunburn (as the skin bed dries) prolonged exposure to cold, dry weather (which robs the nails beds of moisture), exposure to chemicals such as nail polish remover or repeated injury or trauma to the nail.

Lichen planus: This disease is triggered by the immune system in response to stress, allergens or a viral infection. It may affect the skin, scalp and nails, as well as the mouth and the genitals. It can also be a cause of brittle nails.

Nail psoriasis: It is a skin condition that alters the way your toenails and fingernails look. They may get thick and change colour or shape. They can also become tender and soft. One of the symptoms of nail psoriasis is brittle nails.

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