Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is there any danger to using a nail strengthener?"
I have brittle, flaky nails that I want to treat, but otherwise I'm a healthy, older guy. I've tried to treat it with diet, but to no avail. Is there a good natural way to strengthen your nails? If I use the chemical nail strengthener (the kind that comes in a nail polish bottle) is there any risk? Are they medically recommended?
Poor nail strength is a complex issue that combines diet, genetics, and the presence or absence of certain diseases. There are no methods that have been thoroughly studied to strengthen nails that I could recommend. Chemical nail strengtheners (like the ones that come in the nail polish bottle) are probably fine to use if you'd like. The nail itself is not living tissue, so permanent damage is unlikely as long as you avoid getting the chemicals on your fingers themselves. Just make sure to ask you primary care physician first. If you feel you are having some sort of reaction to the material (rash or blisters on your fingers), make sure to stop you treatments right away and call your doctor. My suggestion is that you pose this question to your primary care physician. He or she can give you the most sound advice while taking into account your own past medical history including other medications you are taking and allergies you may or may not have. It is possible that if your problem is severe enough, that your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist that can take a more comprehensive look at your nails and recommend a more advanced treatment.
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