Sjögren’s has been linked to brittle nails. Brittle nails are characterized by hardness, peeling, crumbling, fissures, excess longitudinal ridges, or lack of flexibility of the finger and toe nails. This sometimes causes pain and interferes with normal daily activities. Sjögren’s patients frequently complain of this problem.

Here are some nail care tips to apply when dealing with weak nails:

  • Keep the nails short. This prevents the nails from catching on things or acting as a lever and causing further damage.
  • Minimize the negative effects of filing your nails by running the file in just one direction.
  • Round nails typically break more easily than square ones. File your nails into a slightly rounded square for the best results.
  • Avoid filing up and down the sides of the nail. This can pull the nail plate away from the nail fold, which can cause irritation and expose the nail bed to the dry environment.
  • Don’t remove your cuticles. Your cuticles help protect your nails and lock in their natural oils and moisture. Filing, pushing or scraping these away removes an essential protective layer.
  • After clipping and filing your nails, ensure you apply the proper moisturizer to guard against dryness, which can cause brittle nails.
  • Avoid biting the nails, pulling on them or other tasks that cause repeated trauma.
  • Fingernail polish remover has a drying effect on the nail plate and nail bed. If you must use fingernail polish remover, do so sparingly and use a gentle or non-acetone formulation.
  • Protect the nails when performing wet work by using rubber gloves and cotton glove liners.
  • Avoid excess hand washing and exposure of nails to water.
  • Use moisturizer on your nails multiple times per day and reapply the moisturizer after your hands come in contact with water. You can use the same moisturizer used for your dry skin.
  • Steer clear of cosmetic products such as artificial nails and nail wraps which can cause damage.

Although nail care can’t itself cure weak nails, it can help mitigate some of its causes and keep the problem from worsening over time. To fix brittle, weak nails, you should speak with your dermatologist or primary care physician about your ongoing condition. A qualified doctor can recommend a path for repair and recovery.

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