If Your Nails Break Easily, You May Be Dealing With 'Eggshell Nails'

You know your nail health is important, but you don't typically check your nails for changes like you would the moles on your skin, for instance. So, diseases of your nail bed might creep in without you even noticing them. This is true of the nail disease known as eggshell nail, or hapalonychia. According to Healthline, this is a condition that makes your nails more thin, fragile, and curved, causing them to quite literally break as easily as an eggshell. 

As a result, they might split or fray at the ends for no apparent reason. And just a small amount of pressure on them can make your nails split or even snap off. Bumping your nail against a door or wall could cause total nail loss, which takes brittle nails to a whole new level. It also makes fake nails and manicures nearly impossible to achieve. However, it's worth noting that eggshell nails don't just happen for no reason. 

They typically have an underlying cause that can be treated, which will give your nails renewed life. It's time to take action, so you can finally sport all those fantastic nail designs you've been dying to try. 

Conditions associated with eggshell nails

When something is wrong with your body, it tends to give you little clues. One to look out for is eggshell nails. When your nails start to get soft and brittle, it means the underlying tissues, blood vessels, and nerves have something going on with them. Eggshell nails can manifest from several different disorders, according to John Montgomery Yost, MD, MPH

One of the most common causes is environmental issues like the use of chemicals on your nails or the weather where you live. Stress, vitamin deficiency, and malnutrition can also lead to problems with the nail matrix, causing your nails to become softer. If you take certain medications, you might want to look at the side effects to see if they could be the cause. 

If you can't pinpoint an environmental factor or medication, then it could be an underlying condition causing your eggshell nails. Dr. Yost points out that thyroid diseases, Raynaud's phenomenon (where extremities overreact to heat and cold), and peripheral vascular disease are a few main players in the eggshell nail condition. It could also just be your genetic predisposition, but thankfully that doesn't mean you don't have options available to treat it.

How you can treat eggshell nails at home

Specific diseases causing your brittle nails will require a visit to your physician. However, malnutrition, stressors, vitamin deficiency, and environmental factors can all be fixed at home. You just need to take a few extra steps to get your nails back to their full health again. One of the best things you can do for your nails is to eat a balanced diet. Vitamin B12, vitamin C, and iron all strengthen and improve the look of your nails.

Consider adding a few more veggies to your plate or try taking vitamin supplements daily to ensure you're getting all the nutrients you need. Steering clear of things that can dry out your nails and wearing gloves when your hands are submerged in water is also pivotal. It may be helpful to invest in a clear matte cosmetic lacquer to help to strengthen your nails, too. 

Above all else, though, you'll want to steer clear of artificial nails and manicures, since they can make the condition worse. Nails add a lot of color and glitter to your life, but they are more than just accessories on your fingers. They have a lot to say about the overall health of your body. Pay attention to important cues your nails are giving you about your overall wellness and take action if you're concerned.