Home Remedies to Strengthen Your Nails Postpartum

Nail fragility is one of the most frequent manifestations of pregnancy due to circulating estrogens. We tell you some home remedies to strengthen your nails postpartum.
Home Remedies to Strengthen Your Nails Postpartum
Maria del Carmen Hernandez

Reviewed and approved by the dermatologist Maria del Carmen Hernandez.

Last update: 22 December, 2021

Postpartum nails undergo major changes that make them more prone to breaking or cracking. While there are several medical treatments to make them healthier, there are also some home remedies you can use to strengthen your nails. Learn all about them in the following article!

Postpartum nail changes

Pregnancy is characterized by significant hormonal changes in the woman’s body, which cause inevitable changes in the appearance of the hair, skin, and nails.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Dermatology, nail alterations occur between 2 and 40% of pregnant women. Some of the most common manifestations are ingrown nails, brittleness, or the appearance of white spots on the nails.

Therefore, it’s likely that during the postpartum period, a mother’s nails will be weaker. However, after a few months and with the normalization of hormones, they can return to their usual state.

Home remedies to strengthen your nails postpartum

Many remedies can strengthen your nails and prevent breakage while giving them a healthier appearance and better growth opportunities.

A balanced diet

Nails, like the rest of the body, require a varied and balanced diet to maintain healthy development. Therefore, a suitable diet is one that includes fruits, proteins, water, vegetables, and a great variety of vitamins and minerals.

Also, a diet that’s low in iron can lead to brittle and fragile nails. In turn, biotin, an important type of B vitamin, helps increase the strength of hair and nails. It can be found naturally in the following foods:

  • Yeast
  • Boiled eggs
  • Sardines
  • Walnuts
  • Cauliflower
  • Bananas

Castor oil

A person preparing a dropper of castor oil.

The application of castor oil on the nails, with a gentle massage on them, can promote blood circulation and growth.

In turn, it’s not a good idea to cut the cuticles too short as they expose the nail matrix and make it more vulnerable to damage and infection. Instead, it’s advisable to moisturize them with castor oil regularly, as it provides the nails with a large amount of vitamin E. This nutrient is responsible for the shine of healthy nails.

Avoid certain harsh products

It’s important to avoid using nail polish removers with acetone, as they can weaken and dry your nails. If acetone is the only option, it’s best not to soak the entire nail and to wash it well and hydrate it.

No nail procedures, such as powder or gel, help to strengthen nails. In fact, those that require harsh removal methods can greatly affect them.

The best option is to paint your nails with polishes that have little or no toxic chemicals, like the ones mentioned below:

Home gel polish kits that use UV light pose a significant health threat because they’re not regulated and users are often not trained to use them.

File your nails and keep them neat

Having healthy and strong nails can improve the appearance of your hands. But not only do they provide aesthetic benefits, they can also contribute to the performance of various daily tasks.

For this reason, keeping your nails neat and square-filed can prevent them from breaking or snagging. In addition, proper nail care helps deter biting.


Dry skin, in most cases, is accompanied by dry nails. When the skin around the nail bed is dehydrated, it can damage the nails as they grow.

To avoid dry skin, the American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends applying petroleum jelly, emollients, and moisturizers that contain vitamin E, vitamin A, allantoin, or urea on your hands and nails.

Keep your nails dry

The permanence of humidity in the nails can weaken them and make them softer and more prone to breakage. To avoid this, it’s always best to dry your nails after showering or swimming.

Also, it’s an excellent idea to wear gloves when washing surfaces, clothes, or dishes. Not only does this prevent contact with water but also with cleaning products that are very aggressive for the skin.

Cuticles should be left in place, not pushed back or cut because they serve to keep pathogens out.

A woman putting lotion on her hands.

Strengthen your nails postpartum and seek medical consultation if necessary

In conclusion, nail, skin, and hair changes are normal postpartum phenomena. Fortunately, the implementation of home remedies to strengthen these structures contribute to improving their appearance.

As we always say, it’s not advisable to use medications that haven’t been indicated by specialized medical personnel. Many over-the-counter products promise to improve nail health, but there’s little scientific evidence that these options provide more than just cosmetic benefits.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Gel manicures: Tips for healthy nails. [Internet]. Disponible en: https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/nail-care-secrets/basics/pedicures/gel-manicures
  • Nail care secrets. [Internet]. Disponible en: https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/nail-care-secrets
  • Erpolat S, Eser A, Kaygusuz I, Balci H, Kosus A, Kosus N. Nail alterations during pregnancy: a clinical study. Int J Dermatol. 2016 Oct;55(10):1172-5. doi: 10.1111/ijd.13316. Epub 2016 Apr 20. PMID: 27097299.
  • Haneke E. Onychocosmeceuticals. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2006 Mar;5(1):95-100. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2006.00232.x. PMID: 17173580.
  • Atwater AR, Reeder M. Trends in nail services may cause dermatitis: not your mother’s nail polish. Cutis. 2019 Jun;103(6):315-317. PMID: 31348454.
  • Gatica-Ortega ME, Pastor-Nieto MA, Gil-Redondo R, Martínez-Lorenzo ER, Schöendorff-Ortega C. Non-occupational allergic contact dermatitis caused by long-lasting nail polish kits for home use: ‘the tip of the iceberg’. Contact Dermatitis. 2018 Apr;78(4):261-265. doi: 10.1111/cod.12948. Epub 2018 Jan 12. PMID: 29327355.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.