Our nails have a physiological but also an aesthetic role not to be overlooked: discover our tips for nail care and for brittle nails remedies to strengthen it naturally.


The nails can be considered as corneal productions of the epidermis placed on the dorsal face of the last phalanges of the fingers and toes, formed by an invagination of the epidermis itself.

Nails: their physiological and aesthetic role

From a physiological point of view the nails are real protective plates placed at the end of the fingers to give them greater tactile sensitivity and to help the hands to take small objects. Normal, healthy nails are therefore very important in everyday life because they make hands and feet more efficient, increasing sensitivity. In some circumstances they can serve as a defense, but, as Umberto Borellini also tells us in his book “Cosmetology manual: from functional dermocosmetics to cosmeceutics”, their important aesthetic role should not be overlooked. Their beauty is conditioned by two important factors: shape and consistency.

Nails: because their consistency is so important

The consistency of the nails should not be neglected, especially the elasticity, flexibility and resistance to compression and traction. The nail abnormalities that can be observed at the cosmetological evaluation are numerous and range from hard nails (thickened, with subungual hyperkeratosis, onychogrifotics), to soft nails (often of normal thickness but abnormally flexible and semitransparent), and to delicate nails, which can occur with single or multiple distal fissuring, ononicity, Heller’s canaliform dystrophy, partial transverse fractures (more frequent for those with long nails).

The problem of nails that most frequently leads people to the dermatologist is that of nail fragility (brittle nails), which is a set of alterations that may be due to damage to the matrix and / or already formed nail and can be partial (for superficial mycotic leukonychia or for keratin granulation) or total (as in the course of diffuse onychomycosis or psoriasis). Clinically we can observe: lamellar dystrophy, roughness, jaggedness of the distal edge, alteration of the consistency.

Brittle nails possible causes

Nail fragility can be apparently idiopathic, or linked to dermatological diseases that also affect the nails, or to systemic diseases.

The most frequent form affects women most, especially housewives, and is caused by mechanical and chemical damage to the nail plate. Above all, environmental factors are responsible (frequent washing, manual domestic work in hot-humid environments, microtraumas, etc.), which promote excessive hydration and rapid dehydration. The water content of the nails can easily vary because the nail is porous. Under normal conditions the nail contains about 18% of water; an increase of more than 25% makes it soft and flexible, while a reduction of around 16% makes it more brittle. Nail fragility is frequent also in some professions: chemists, health personnel, photographers, shoemakers, mechanics, cooks, etc.

Also various dermatological pathologies such as eczema, lichen, psoriasis, alopecia areata, onychomycosis, may be responsible for nail fragility. In these cases, as there is a pathological abnormality in the skin, there may be a correspondent at the nail level.

Nail care: our tips

First of all, the nails must be protected, avoiding excessive humidity and always using two pairs of gloves during housework (cotton on the skin, rubber on). The hands should be washed with neutral detergent, at most four times a day, then applying an emulsion on the nails to avoid excessive dehydration for 3-4 month cycles.

Manicure is the basis of nail cosmetics and should be carried out correctly. Some important tips: the removal of the old nail polish should be done no more than once a week; the nails must then be adjusted with a file or with a fine frosted card rather than cut (when the cuts of the scissors tighten the whole nail it is in fact possible to cause fractures of the lamina); it is useful to soften the finger tissues near the nails by washing them with hot water and soap for several minutes; the cuticle must be pushed back gently and quickly with a piece of soft tissue, so as to make the cuticle finer and increase the visible nail surface, creating an oval shape. The cuticle represents a sort of suction cup that prevents the penetration of microorganisms and various debris in the proximal nail pocket: for this reason it should always be avoided to cut it too much, due to the risk of infectious processes. Subsequently the nail should be cleaned and polished or colored with a nail polish applied in 2-3 layers.

brittle nails and Nail care: natural remedies from Lake Como

Erboristeria Como has chosen to select some completely natural and professional products for you, made by Microcosmo, a little company near Como Lake which produces professional products for beauty shops, 100% naturals.

  • oily extract nails and cuticles: it is a special oleolite produced by a company from Como, excellent for brittle and tired nails from reconstructions and for delicate and reddened cuticles. In particular: the spagyric lavas, hypericum, calendula and yarrow oleolites favor the regeneration of the dermis and epidermis, stimulating blood circulation, soothe the skin and strengthen the nail; the rosehip oil, rich in fatty acids, is excellent in the case of thin and opaque nails, helps make them stronger, healthier and brighter; the essential oil of lemon, in addition to giving a pleasant citrus aroma, is among the essential oils the most suitable for strengthening brittle nails and lightening any stains given by nicotine. How and when to use this product: just apply a drop on the nail and gently massage to favor absorption. It can be used daily or during periods of greatest need. Making nails strong and beautiful is ideal when using nail polish and wanting to have a luminous, healthy and shiny effect.
  • phase 1 and 2 mycosis treatment compound: this compound includes two separate solutions to be applied in succession: the synergy between them guarantees us a very high anti-fungal action to fight the onychomycosis (read more here). The two solutions are studied by selecting the most effective natural substances on this kind of skin problems, such as colloidal silver and some specific essential oils including the tea tree. This treatment is also enriched with precious particularly nourishing and emollient oleolites with purifying, antifungal and antiseptic activities. This compound should be applied 2-3 times a day for at least three months (obviously the timing should be evaluated according to the individual case) and could also be used after a possible footbath with warm water and epsom salts perhaps with a few drops of tea tree.
  • ingrown toenail gel: this product is the ideal treatment for the ingrown nail (which we have already discussed here), to be massaged on the part until completely absorbed. The product is composed of natural ingredients consisting of aloe juice, magnesium sulfate, spagyric oleolites and specific plant extracts for the treatment of this specific problem.

Dr. Laura Comollo

For any clarification or for more information Contact us.

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