During menopause, many women find that their nails become drier and more brittle, as a result of hormone changes. Here's what you can do to help protect and rejuvenate your nails...
Hot flushes and night sweats might be among the more well-known symptoms of menopause, but dropping levels of hormones can also have a range of other symptoms, including making your nails dry and brittle, and prone to flaking, chipping and splitting.
Why does menopause cause brittle nails?
In the years leading up to menopause (known as perimenopause), the hormones in your body begin to fluctuate. The hormone oestrogen helps to regulate fluid levels in the body, and imbalances in oestrogen can result in dehydration, weakening your nails’ protective layer of keratin and leading to brittle nails (or onychorrhexis).
Many women approaching menopause find that their nails break more easily, and are more likely to tear, split or peel. Your nails may become ridged, cracked, discoloured or chipped, and they may curl over at the ends. These can all be signs of brittle nails.
What can help with brittle nails?
There are a number of things you can do to help with brittle nails caused by menopause, from making some simple lifestyle changes, to using products that are specially designed to protect and care for your nails.
Eat a balanced diet
Eating a balanced, nutritious diet during menopause can help to protect the health of your nails. A lack of certain essential nutrients, including B-vitamins, calcium and folic acid, can contribute to ridges, dryness, cracking and hangnails. You should also make sure your diet includes plenty of protein, fatty acids, Omega 3 and vitamin C.
To ensure you’re receiving the nutrients your body needs, make sure you eat plenty of protein (found in meat and fish), dairy products, nuts, beans and peas, fruit and green vegetables.
To help combat the risk of dehydration, you should also drink plenty of fluids.
Take a nail supplement
Taking a supplement can help to make sure you have all the nutrients you need to nourish and protect your nails.
The Live Better with community recommend Lindens hair, skin and nails tablets, which contain a range of micronutrients to help promote healthy nails and Bioglan Beauty Collagen tablets, which contain collagen, biotin, selenium and vitamin C.
You should consult with your doctor before taking any supplements or natural remedies.
Keep your nails moisturised
To help keep your nails and cuticles healthy and supple, you should moisturise them regularly, and particularly after bathing, showering or washing your hands. You can give your nails an intensive moisture boost overnight by applying moisturiser and wearing a pair of cotton gloves.
It’s important to use a product that’s gentle on your nails and cuticles and will not dry them out further. Some women find that soaking their nails in almond oil or warm olive oil can help to keep them soft and healthy.
You can also use a specially designed nail oil, such as Defiant Beauty nail oil, which helps to protect and strengthen brittle nails:
“I love this - my nails needed a real boost and some TLC and this is perfect. They're strong now. And shiny!” Margie, Live Better With community member
The Live Better With community also recommend argan oil, which contains vitamin E, Omega 6 and antioxidants, and is known for its moisturising and restorative properties.
Treat and protect damaged nails
If your nails are suffering the effects of the menopause, using a nail treatment such as Evaux EvoNail nail repair solution can help to reconstruct and strengthen your nails while also encouraging healthy regrowth.
Some nail polish removers can dry out nails and cuticles considerably. Using an acetone-free nail polish remover or cleanser, such as EvoNail ultra-gentle nail cleanser, can help to maintain the natural balance of the nail.
It’s also a good idea to give your nails a break from nail polish now and then, to give them a chance to breathe.
Wear gloves when doing chores
There’s nothing like hot water and harsh chemicals for drying out nails. Wearing protective gloves when you’re doing household chores, and using a gentle moisturising hand soap whenever you wash your hands, can make a big difference to the health of your nails.
Keep your nails well-groomed
You can also help to protect your nails by keeping them well manicured. Keeping your nails shorter can help to reduce the risk of breakage, and gently trimming the cuticles will help to keep them in good shape and promote healthy growth.
You can view the full range of Live Better With products for brittle nails here.
While menopause can cause a number of unwanted side effects, including problems with dry, brittle nails, you can take steps to help keep your nails healthy and live better.
Do you have any tips for boosting brittle nails during menopause? Looking for advice? Why not join our Menopause Community Forum.