How Can I Fix My Dry, Brittle Toenails?


At this time, our office continues to be open to new and existing patients. We use hospital-grade sanitizers and are taking measures to ensure patients maintain social distancing by not having anyone wait in our reception room with others. We are continuing operation in an effort to keep patients out of the urgent care clinics and hospital emergency departments, which increases the chances of being exposed to the virus. We have x-ray and ultrasound in the office to prevent you from having to go elsewhere.

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Keratin is a popular word right now, as many salons have started using the protein to make your hair softer, smoother and more manageable. But did you know that your nail root produces keratin, and that protein forms the main basis of your toenail?

Now that you know your nails are made of keratin, you can begin to understand why toenails can get dry and brittle—if something destroys that protein, the nails begin to crumble, just aUnpolished toenails like these stay healthy s your hair dries out and gets split ends without keratin or other nourishing proteins. 

There are a bunch of different ways the keratin production in your toenails can slow down or be stopped altogether, leaving you with crumbling, unattractive nails:

  • Aging—our nails get thicker, dryer and sometimes change color as we get older
  • Long term nail polish use
  • Fungal infections

Once your nail becomes dry and crumbly, how can you fix it? In my Houston podiatrist office, I offer a large array of topical and oral medications that can help improve nail health. While we’re working on healing the underlying cause of your toenail problem, I also use Keryflex nail restoration, a product that can be applied over your nail to make it look healthy and new while treatment is still in progress.

Keryflex works by creating a nonporous nail on top of your existing one; it forms without impeding your natural nail’s growth and healing. The best part is, application is done in one quick appointment at my Tanglewood Foot Specialists office.

Of course, even with great treatment options, we’d all rather avoid brittle nails, so here are some tips for keeping your toenails healthy and full of keratin:

  • Stay away from nail polishes and removers that contain formaldehyde, acetone or toluene  
  • Take a break between pedicures to allow your nails to recover
  • Keep your cuticles—they act as barriers to prevent the nail from drying out
  • Protect your feet from fungal infections by wearing shoes in public places like pools and restrooms

 These steps should keep you safe, but if you have any trouble with dry, brittle or fungal toenails, come see Dr. Andrew Schneider for quick and painless restorative treatment.

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.