Only few reports exist about the occurrence of brittle nails. We examined 1,584 persons with respect to the incidence of this anomaly. The patients were from five different groups: outpatients of a dental clinic, blood donors, residents of an old people’s home, patients of a clinic for internal diseases and patients of a general practice. Approximately 20% of the subjects examined had brittle nails. Women suffered from brittleness of nails much more frequently than men (27 vs. 13%) with a ratio of men to women from 1:1.6 to 1:7 depending on age. 44% of the subjects affected (75% of the females, 25% of the males) had tried one or several treatments but only 26% believed in their curative effect. The market for the therapy of brittle nails in the FRG is estimated to be between 2 and 4 million people.

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