Natural Methods Against Sensitive Nails

If you have sensitive nails, you are probably wondering how to make them stronger. Fortunately, a few natural remedies and lifestyle adjustments can help improve your nail health.

You can find our article about the reasons why your nails are sensitive here.

What Are Natural Methods To Protect Your Sensitive Nails?

Reduce Manicure

One of the most effective ways to strengthen your nails is to avoid a manicure. Nail polish, nail polish remover, and nail polish bases all contain drying ingredients that can aggravate sensitive nails. Acrylic or artificial gel nails can also weaken nails. A gel manicure is harmful because it requires acetone-containing nail polish remover to remove it.[9] If you need to get a manicure, try to leave your nails unpainted for two weeks after removing the paint. This will ensure that your nails are not exposed to artificial products and will give them time to heal. [9]

Choose Healthier Nail Polish

No nail polish is all-natural, but you can at least choose one that is free of toluene, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), camphor, and triphenyl phosphate (TPHP or TPP). TPP is a chemical that the body has been shown to absorb through the nails, disrupting hormones. [10] You can choose water-based nail polishes that contain protein or vitamins to help strengthen your nails.

Water-based nail polish takes longer to dry, but is much better for your nails in the long run.

Moisturize Your Hands Regularly

Apply moisturizing lotion to your hands every time you wash them. This will keep your nails moisturized and help prevent peeling and breakage. Use an organic product to protect your nails from chemicals that can dry out and harden. Thick lotions and hand creams for moisturizing nails; more effective than thin, watery lotions. [2]

Avoid Excessive Hand Washing

Wash your hands only when necessary. Use mild, natural soaps that do not contain harsh and drying chemicals. Dry your hands completely after washing and follow with moisturizing lotion. Avoid waterless hand sanitizers with high alcohol as they can dry out your skin and nails. [2]

wear gloves

When washing dishes or doing other work that exposes your hands to water and harsh chemicals, wear natural latex gloves for protection. Because even a few minutes of exposure to hot water can damage your nails. Use a moisturizing hand lotion after you’re done – even if you’re wearing gloves, the heat of the water can dry out your skin and nails.

Reduce Your Time in the Shower

While a long, hot bath or shower may be soothing, spending too much time in water can overly degrade nails, making them prone to bending and tearing. For strong and healthy nails, try to limit your shower to 15 minutes or less.

Apply Liquid Vitamin E to Your Hand

Vitamin E oil helps nourish and strengthen nails and cuticles. Use 100 percent organic liquid vitamin E oil to protect yourself from toxic substances. Just take the dropper from the bottle and apply some oil to your nails, massaging it into the nail bed and around the cuticle to soften and moisturize.

Try All-Natural Nail Oils

While some cuticle oils contain chemicals, you can also find varieties that contain natural ingredients like beeswax, jojoba oil, linseed oil, sweet almond oil, and vitamin E oil. These oils are commonly used as aromatherapy or massage oils, so you may already be lounging around the house. As a bonus, making cuticle oil from all natural oils is a great way to save money!

Try a Biotin Supplement

Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin – vitamin B-7 to be precise – that helps the body convert fat, protein and carbohydrates into energy. Because biotin deficiency is linked to nail breakage and hair loss, this B vitamin is often taken as a supplement to help support nail, skin, and hair health. Some research suggests that taking biotin supplements can make nails firmer and harder and reduce splitting. [11, 12]

Follow a Vegetarian Diet

Getting enough protein helps support nail health. [2] A vegetarian diet includes a variety of protein sources such as beans, lentils, legumes, seeds, nuts and quinoa. A plant-based diet not only provides enough protein, but can provide the total spectrum of nutrients you need – including biotin. Natural plant sources of biotin include grains, bananas, and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, spinach, and broccoli. [6]

Be Gentle During Nail Care

Cutting your nails with metal tools can damage them. Instead, use a fine nail file and work this from side to side from center to side. Regularly filling in any rough areas can prevent further splitting and breakage. [5] In fact, some experts recommend keeping your nails short if your nails are sensitive. [13] Using a wooden cuticle stick is fine but avoid cutting your cuticles. If you’re polishing your nails, move the product in an X-shape over your nail instead of back and forth. Back and forth movement can cause nail splitting. [5]

Global Healing Center, Brittle Nails: Top Causes & Natural Remedies That Work, 2018


  1. Van de Kerkhof PC, et al. Brittle nail syndrome: a pathogenesis-based approach with a proposed grading system. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2005 Oct;53(4):644-51.
  2. Pinning down the cause of nail problems is the first step to prevention, finding solution. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Updated 5 Aug. 2010. Accessed 14 Oct. 2018.
  3. Rieder EA, Tosti A. Cosmetically induced disorders of the nail with update on contemporary nail manicures. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2016 Apr;9(4):39-44.
  4. Stern DK, et al. Water content and other aspects of brittle versus normal fingernails. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007 Jul;57(1):31-6.
  5. Brittle Splitting Nails. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Accessed 14 Oct. 2018.
  6. Biotin: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. Updated 17 Sep. 2018. Accessed 15 Oct. 2018.
  7. Nail Abnormalities. Medline Plus. Updated 14 Apr. 2017. Accessed 15 Oct. 2018.
  8. Kambil SM. Clinical study of skin manifestations of hypothyroidism at a tertiary hospital in North Kerala. Int J Res Dermatol. 2018 Aug;4(3):298-300.
  9. Gel manicures: Tips for healthy nails. American Academy of Dermatology. Accessed 15 Oct. 2018.
  10. Mendelsohn E, et al. Nail polish as a source of exposure to triphenyl phosphate. Environ Int. Jan 2016; 86:45–51.
  11. Colombo VE, et al. Treatment of brittle fingernails and onychoschizia with biotin: scanning electron microscopy. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1990 Dec;23(6 Mon 1):1127-32.
  12. Lipner SR, Scher RK. Biotin for the treatment of nail disease: what is the evidence? J Dermatol Treat. 2018 Jun;29(4):411-414.
  13. Piraccini B, et al. Treatment of nail disorders. therapy. 2004;1(1):159–167.

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