BRITTLE, DISCOLOURED NAILS
WHAT CAUSES IT: We often think that leaving on nail polish too long can lead to yellow nails, which are also easily breakable. While that is true, the biggest culprit that causes yellow brittle nails is a fungal infection. "Nail discolouration could be due to fungal infections, trauma, calcium deficiency and other hereditary nail disorders. In most cases, discoloured nails are a result of infections with common fungi that can be found in the air, dust and soil. Chronic medical conditions like diabetes can also affect the appearance of nails," says Dr Simal Soin, dermatologist, Three Graces, New Delhi. "Brittle nails or nails that are prone to breaking show vitamin and mineral deficiency. It can also be due to a long-term habit of nail biting," adds Dr Indu Tolani, dermatologist, Clinic Dermatec, New Delhi .
TACKLE IT: Proper hygiene is very important to fight against fungal nails. It is also recommended not to apply polish to nails suspected of infection. In case of severe problems it is better to consult a doctor rather than stick to home remedies. Dr Soin advices that if nails get brittle as well as discoloured, see a doctor for prescription medicines. Agrees Tolani, who suggests that you need to treat the infection first. "Oral calcium and Vitamin D3 supplements and oral antifungal medications can be prescribed. Locally nail lacquers are used to improve fungal infections," adds Soin.
QUICK FIX: If you have brittle nails that are prone to breakage, then you can camouflage this by opting for artificial gel. UK-based nail and hair expert Pammy Kaul suggests that gel-based artificial nails are the best solution for women with nails that refuse to grow. "The gel nails are easy to apply and you have the option of deciding on your nail length. They are also gentle on the nails. In fact we have found that people with nail-biting problems actually forget to bite their nails once they start wearing gel-based nails." To strengthen the
nail bed of brittle nails, Tolani suggests that you apply coconut oil every night on your nails. During the day, keep the nails shiny and strong by massaging
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