I have a client with brittle nails. What causes this and what should I do about it?
When the nail plate becomes dehydrated, the results can be peeling and splitting nails, which fray at the edges. As a consequence, the nails may break and become more fragile, and can easily catch on clothing. It may also be harder for clients with brittle nails to pick up small objects or button a shirt. This condition also causes polish to chip and peel, although it is still a good idea for the client to wear polish to help protect the nail plate from further dehydration. Use and suggest a non-acetone polish remover, which is also less drying. Treatments with formaldehyde can be drying when used regularly. Treating brittle nails is relatively simple. First, remind the client to wear gloves when using cleaning agents and detergents. Have her avoid trauma to the nail, and not use her nails as tools. Also, recommend clients use a hand moisturizer daily, which will also help moisturize nails. When working on clients with this condition you should avoid excessive mechanical manipulation in the cuticle area. Vigorously pushing back the cuticles with a metal implement, or cutting them, injures the nail matrix (the nail growth center) and causes the nail to weaken.