A woman trying to polish her brittle nails

Brittle nails may be described as dry, thinning or slow to grow. They may separate from the nail bed, the cuticle may be lost or the nail may have vertical lines called striations.

Brittle nails may be rough on the nail plate surface, and may be fragile, both breaking and peeling easily. Most commonly observed in 40-60 year olds, brittle nails are one of many possible hypothyroidism symptoms.

Low thyroid hormone slows the body’s metabolism and can decrease the action of sweating, which helps to moisturize the body. As a result of lower metabolism and sweating; skin, hair and nails become noticeably dry and brittle.

If you are experiencing brittle nails or are experiencing other hypothyroidism symptoms, it is advisable to speak to your physician about getting a thyroid test done.


Jamwal A, Sharma A, Rather PA. Cutaneous Manifestations of Hypothyroidism: Prospective Hospital Based Clinical Study. J Adv Med Dent Scie (2013).1(2):5-12.

D. Rigopoulos, Ralph, D. (2012). Management of simple brittle nails. Dermatologic Therapy 25 (6), pp. 569-573.

The Lowdown on Thyroid Slowdown (2014). Harvard Health