Strengthening Nails With Lemon Soak

  • Irenosen Addeh Master of Science (MSc), Public Health, University of Debrecen, Hungary
  • Regina Lopes Senior Nursing Assistant, Health and Social Care, The Open University

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Having very brittle nails can be disheartening. They never grow beyond a certain length and break and split easily, ruining your dreams of having long, firm, and beautiful nails.

What could cause brittle nails? Studies have revealed that your quality of nutrition could result in this,  vitamin C deficiency could be the reason behind brittle nails.

Lemon soak contains a high amount of vitamin C. Hence, treating your hands with a lemon soak can strengthen and make your nails healthier.

There are several ways to treat your nails with lemon soak. This article aims to reveal how using lemons can strengthen and firm up nails.

How to treat brittle nails using lemon soak 

Lemon soak can be prepared by soaking a few slices of lemon in olive or coconut oil. This is a straightforward DIY method that can bring excellent results. 

Soak your hands in a solution of slices of lemon and olive oil or coconut oil for about 5,10 mins. 

This routine could be giving you firmer nails. The reason for this will be discussed as we move further in this article.

Benefits of lemon soak for nails

Applying lemon soak has several benefits. These benefits come from the following:

  1. Vitamin C Content
  2. Exfoliation properties
  3. Brightening effect
  4. Antimicrobial Properties

Vitamin C content in lemon soak

The secret behind the effect of lemons on nail health can be linked to their high vitamin C content. “Lemons, being a citrus fruit, have a high vitamin C content,” explains Dr Melissa Ann Prest, a certified nutrition specialist.

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient the body requires to produce collagen, a protein to build connective tissues. These tissues support the skin, muscles, and bones.

Of course, your nails fall under this. Hence, each ounce of vitamin C absorbed by your body aims to ensure stronger connective tissues and, consequently, stronger nails.

Lemons exfoliate your nails

For exfoliation, lemon's acidic properties account for its exfoliating effect on your nails. This exfoliates because “lemon juice contains alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) such as glycolic acid,” says Neda Mehr, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Pure Dermatology Cosmetic & Hair Centre.

The AHAs and citric acid in lemons eliminate dead and dull skin cells and impurities surrounding nails, resulting in freshly-looking nails.

Lemons brightens your nails

Lemons gradually remove yellowish stains and discolouration, leaving you with brighter nails. Yellow nails are usually the result of inadequate levels of vitamins and minerals.

Lemons are a good choice to brighten your nails since they contain an adequate amount of vitamin C alongside small amounts of potassium, calcium, and iron.

Lemon's antimicrobial properties on your nails

Studies have evaluated the antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of lemons. This study revealed that the highest antimicrobial activity was obtained with the acetone extract of citrus lemon. 

In addition, lemon is an excellent source of vitamins and antioxidants, such as vitamins C and B, which help nourish and revitalise skin. 

These nutrients will improve the general health and attractiveness of your feet, making them appear and feel refreshed.

What's more about lemon soak?

Hydration! Lemon soak possesses an excellent hydrating effect. How can hydration affect the strength of your nails? 

Dehydrated nails result from little moisture or excess exposure to moisture. Nail moisture can be removed by frequently soaking and drying hands after washing dishes or handwashing.

Dehydrated nails usually look dull and flake easily. However, rehydrating your nails requires the use of oils. For this lemon soak, olive or coconut oil is a great hydrating agent.

Again, when using lemon soak to maintain hydrated nails, you must keep a routine to avoid interfering with the benefits of your efforts.

This means that you should avoid activities that counter the result you crave. These activities include:

  • Washing the dishes without dishwashing gloves: This exposes your nails to the harmful effects of the chemicals contained in detergents.
  • Prolonged exposure to moisture: Exposing your nails to moisture for a long time causes them to lose strength.
  • Not drinking enough water: Not drinking enough causes your body to lose its hydration generally.

How do oils hydrate your nails?

Oils hydrate nails by protecting the nail bed and cuticle from extreme dehydration. Applying olive oil as part of your lemon soak moisturises your nails. It also softens your nails and cuticles, thereby improving their strength.

Tips for using lemon soak

To get the best out of lemons soak, you have got to know these tips:

  • Soak duration should be brief. You should adhere to 5,10 minutes to avoid over-exposure.
  • To maintain moisture, follow up with a hand cream or cuticle oil for hydration and to prevent dryness. Consult your dermatologist to refer you to the most suitable product. 
  • Also, it's advisable to avoid nail soaking too frequently. You could do your lemon soak routine two to three times a week. 

Cons of lemon soak: what are the side effects of using lemon soak

The pros of using lemon soak definitely outweigh the cons of its use. Still there are a few inconveniences associated with using lemon soak. Due to the high acid content in lemons, it may cause your cuticles to suffer dryness and result in irritation and burns. If you have very sensitive skin, you may need to speak to your dermatologist before using this method. Lemon soak may exacerbate existing skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema. 

General tips to maintain healthy, strong nails

Now here are some general tips that can help give you firm and healthy-looking nails in additionally to lemon soaks:

Diet: Eat a balanced diet rich in protein, biotin (found in eggs, nuts, and avocados), vitamin E (found in leafy greens and almonds), and iron (found in red meat and beans). These nutrients are essential for building strong nails. 

Hydration: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your nails hydrated and prevent them from becoming brittle.

Moisturise: Regularly apply hand cream and cuticle oil to keep your nails and surrounding skin hydrated. 

Trim and file: Clip your nails regularly with sharp clippers to prevent them from breaking. Use an emery board to file them smoothly, avoiding harsh metal files.

Go easy on chemicals: Avoid harsh soaps, detergents, and nail polish removers that can dry out your nails. Wear gloves when cleaning or doing dishes.

Give them a break: Take breaks from wearing artificial nails or gel polish to allow your natural nails to breathe and recover.

Wear gloves: Protect your hands and nails when doing chores or gardening.

Mind your habits: Avoid biting or picking your nails or using them as a tool to open cans, as doing this can damage them.

Seek help: If you have persistent nail problems, consult a dermatologist.


Looking at the numerous benefits of lemon soak, it'd definitely be worth giving it a try! Brittle and irregularly shaped nails can make one feel self-conscious. Although the effect of brittle nails is more common in females than males, the regime and routine provided by a nail soak is suitable for both genders. So, what are you waiting for? Go and enjoy the multiple benefits of lemon soak.


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  3. “Surprising Health Benefits of Vitamin C—and What Happens If You Consume Too Much.” Prevention, 29 Sep. 2022,
  5. This DIY Hack Is A Common Favourite — Should You Be Using It?” Mindbodygreen, 20 Mar. 2022,
  7. Otang, W. M., and A. J. Afolayan. “Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Efficacy of Citrus Limon L. Peel Extracts Used for Skin Diseases by Xhosa Tribe of Amathole District, Eastern Cape, South Africa.” South African Journal of Botany, vol. 102, Jan. 2016, pp. 46–49. ScienceDirect,
  9. “Uses of Olive Oil for Nail Care.” Olive Oils from Spain, Accessed 19 Jan. 2024.
  10. Branch, NIAMS Science Communications and Outreach. “Psoriasis.” National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, 12 Apr. 2017,
  11.,can%20be%20 affected%20as%20 well.

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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Adindu Favour

Bachelor of Applied Science - BASc, Pure and Industrial chemistry, Nnamdi Azikiwe University

My name is Adindu Favour certified in analytical and Industrial chemistry. I have several years of experience in writing technical health content and B2B SAAS content. Having worked in the research lab as an analytical chemist, I've been involved in methodology research for different projects and also in methodological reports. My research experiments cut across nutrition, food substances, and drugs. Currently, I'm enthusiastic about AI in healthcare. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
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