Autumn leaves stopped clinging and let go. The whining winds of winter gently creep. The cold weather sets in leaving your fingernails dry and brittle. What could have hit you?

No need to run to your dermatologist and solicit an expert’s opinion. Here’s the explanation. With aging, nails become brittle. The low humidity in winter air tends to exacerbate the nail condition. The lack of moisture in the air makes nails get dry, making them look dull.

You’ve Nailed It

Fingernails and toenails are composed of layers of keratin, a tough protective protein manufactured by the body. These layers are composed of approximately 18 per cent of water and less than five percent of lipids.

On average, fingernails grow about 3 mm (0.1 inch) per month; toenails only a third of that, or 1mm (0.04 inch) per month. The nails naturally grow but their growth is slowed down certain factors. These include:

  • Aging

Nails tend to grow the fastest between the ages of 10 and 14. Nail growth begins to slow down with age.

  • Season

Weather affects nail growth. Nails grow faster in warm weather than they do in cold weather.

  • Health Condition

Yellow nails may indicate diabetes while yellowing thick nails that grow slowly might be a symptom of a lung condition. Slowdown in nail growth may also be a sign of poor blood circulation.

  • Hormonal Imbalance and Changes

Hormonal imbalance can cause nails to grow more slowly. However, hormonal changes can also affect nail growth in healthy people. Women experience faster nail growth during pregnancy and slower nail growth during lactation. Women might also experience faster nail growth before menstruation begins.

The Breaking Nail

Do you have bails that break easily? A nail hardener is what you need.

A nail hardener is a popular nail polish treatment that helps to strengthen flimsy nails to become less prone to splitting and breaking. The nail hardener treatment is enriched with proteins that help to encourage healthy nail growth.

The hardener may contain calcium for soft or weak nails and nail conditioners for brittle nails adding a balance to the structure of the nail plate surface. Experts suggest to use it a few times a week and wearing it alone or with a nail polish color. For best results is suggested that you apply a thin layer every day until you decide to change your nail polish.

However, not all hardeners are formulated with safe ingredients as some may contain formaldehyde or formalin, which have the following effects:

  • Formaldehyde initially hardens the nail. But it eventually makes the nail brittle and is at risk for lifting or separating off of the nail bed
  • Formaldehyde can cause severe allergic reactions at the surrounding nail folds, making the skin extremely irritated, painful, and swollen.
  • Formaldehyde are claimed to cause cancer.

With the threat posed by formaldehyde, it is important that the formulation used in the hardener are ingredients that work with the body’s natural chemistry. In this way, the stimulation of nail growth and protection of one’s nails does not pose danger to health.