Thin fingernails - causes and home remedies

Thin fingernails - causes and home remedies

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Thin fingernails - women in particular suffer from this. The nails are too thin, they bend and tear constantly. This is often due to deficiency symptoms or certain illnesses, but can also result from incorrect or insufficient care.

The natural nail growth

Nails typically grow an average of 0.1mm within 24 hours and between 3 and 7mm within a month. They grow in the warmth, i.e. in summer, faster than in winter and better for younger people than for older people. The fingernails also grow faster than the toenails. However, this nail growth can be disturbed. The nails grow too slowly or do not become really firm, remain thin, tear and then break off again. Various causes can be responsible for this.


Often there is a lack of vitamins and / or minerals in thin fingernails. A lack of vitamin B, D, A or even zinc, iron or calcium - all of which can lead to thin nails. Here a blood count helps to determine the deficiency. Thyroid diseases or hormonal irregularities, such as during puberty, pregnancy or in the menopause, may also result in thin nails in addition to other symptoms.

Incorrect or insufficient maintenance can also be the trigger. Wrong filing, aggressive cleaning agents and insufficient moisture are possible causes of thin nails. If the hands frequently come into contact with disinfectants, the skin and nails can dry out. In such cases, special care is necessary.

Home remedies

Various home remedies can help with thin nails. The motto is: try it out! And do not give up straight away, because the home remedies must be used regularly over a longer period of time, otherwise they cannot work (4 - 8 weeks). However, if all the means mentioned do not work, a visit to the doctor is recommended. Maybe a disease or a deficiency in the thin nails is to blame.

Olive oil

A fingernail oil bath once or twice a week is good for the nails and strengthens them. For this, a little olive oil is warmed up and the nails are bathed in it for a few minutes. If done over a long period of time, this can strengthen thin fingernails again.

Almond oil, linseed oil

The regenerating almond oil helps especially when nails are repeatedly exposed to aggressive substances and are therefore "stressed". Of course, this must be a cold-pressed, high-quality almond oil. Something of this is massaged into the nails every day. Instead of almond oil, linseed oil can also be used.

Burdock root oil

The burdock root oil is known for the treatment of stressed hair or for promoting the growth of eyelashes. This is also a suitable means for the care of nails. The oil is massaged into the nail every night before going to sleep. This is a very inexpensive home remedy.

Lemon juice as a cure

The vitamin C contained in the lemons, for example, not only strengthens the immune system, but also promotes nail growth. In addition, the lemon juice makes the nails a little lighter. To strengthen the thin fingernails, they are bathed in fresh lemon juice for about five minutes every evening for about a month, then washed off with water and rubbed with olive oil or coconut oil on the nails and hands - cotton gloves on top and that's it the nocturnal hand cure.

Coconut oil, argan oil

As a cure, overnight, coconut oil or argan oil are recommended. The coconut oil / argan oil is warmed up slightly and massaged into the nails in the evening. Your hands can benefit from this treatment. So that the whole thing can work better, we recommend wearing cotton gloves overnight.

Another application of coconut oil / argan oil is a nail bath: Half an espresso cup full of oil is mixed with the same amount of honey and three drops of essential rosemary oil are added to the whole. In it, the nails are bathed at least twice a week for about 15 minutes.

Homemade nail cream

The following homemade nail cream is a treat for thin fingernails: two tablespoons of olive or almond oil, a tablespoon of honey, a pinch of salt and an egg yolk are mixed together and applied generously to the nails. After a contact time of about half an hour, the cream is rinsed with plenty of warm water. This procedure is best done three times a week.

Nail bath with apple cider vinegar

A nail bath with apple cider vinegar strengthens thin nails. Apple cider vinegar is mixed with water in a ratio of 1: 1 and the fingernails are bathed in it for about 10 minutes. This is best done two or three times a week.


The onion is also worth trying. Cut an onion, rub it on your nails and let it air dry. This procedure is also carried out two or three times a week.

The right care

Proper care should always be taken with thin fingernails. If the hands frequently come into contact with disinfectants, the skin and nails should be regularly cared for with a moisturizing cream. An oil pack overnight is highly recommended. For the manicure, use a file that is gentle on the nails. It is best to avoid metal files. Polishing files with a sandpaper surface, glass or ceramic files are preferred.

With frequent contact with water or when using aggressive washing substances, wearing gloves is a good way to protect the nails. So that the nails grow better and cannot tear easily, they should always be kept short.

In professional nail salons, the nails are covered with a plastic. This protects the nails, but it remains questionable whether they can recover. This is still very controversial. In any case, it is healthier to leave the natural nail and strengthen it with home remedies or special varnishes that are available in drugstores or pharmacies.

Healthy nails - from the inside out

For healthy fingernails, something must also be done from the inside. As, as mentioned at the beginning, a lack of vitamins and / or minerals is often responsible for thin fingernails, a healthy, vitamin-rich and low-acid diet is the be-all and end-all Sausage. In addition, care should be taken to ensure that there is enough liquid in the form of still water. If a deficiency has been found in the blood, this must be replenished with suitable nutritional supplements. Professional advice is essential.

To strengthen thin fingernails, the regular consumption of nettle tea can help. The nettle herb contains many minerals such as silica (silica). And this is important for the connective tissue and for a healthy nail substance. In addition, the nettle flushes waste and toxins out of the body, as it has a cleansing effect on the kidneys. The nettle tea is best drunk between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the afternoon and for a maximum of six weeks. After that, a break is required.

Food for the nails

In addition to a healthy diet, there are some foods whose ingredients have a particular effect on healthy, firm nails. For example, these are pumpkin seeds. They contain a large portion of zinc, which strengthens the immune system and connective tissue. Furthermore, beans in every form are recommended. These contain biotin (vitamin B7), which is particularly important for nail growth.

Carrots are good for the moisture of the nails, kale provides a portion of calcium, broccoli contains iron, which is crucial for the oxygen content, eggs provide healthy protein and bananas contain potassium, zinc, silicea and vitamin B6, among others. Millet is also recommended as it contains a fair amount of silica. For example, millet flakes can be added to the daily cereal.

Thin fingernails - not just a blemish

Thin fingernails are a beauty flaw especially for women. They do everything to get healthy, firm nails again. However, “everything” is often too much. Proper care, a regularly used home remedy and a healthy diet - this should be enough. However, if there is no improvement after six to eight weeks, a doctor should be consulted. A comprehensive blood count can reveal deficiency symptoms or a disease that can then be treated so that the fingernails can also regenerate. (sw)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Susanne Waschke, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


  • H. Zaun, D. Dill: Pathological changes in the nail, spitta Verlag, 10th edition, 2013
  • Anke Niederau: The big book of nail diseases: cause, podiatric diagnosis, therapy, prophylaxis, Neuer Merkur Verlag, 3rd edition, 2016
  • Thomas Dirschka, Roland Hartwig, Claus Oster-Schmidt: Clinic Guide Dermatology, Urban & Fischer Verlag, Elsevier GmbH, 3rd edition 2010

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