Brittle nails, which are typified by splitting and peeling, afflict about 20 % of the population. Certain disorders and health conditions result in peeling of fingernails as well as toenails, on the other hand if only the fingernails are affected the cause is most probably external.
Important causes for brittle nails include:
- Repeatedly wetting and drying the hands causes the nails to dry out.
- Trauma to the nails can cause them to split and peel too. Biting the nails leaves them damaged, ragged and susceptible to further impairment. Also, when you use your fingernails as tools to scrape, it results in nail injuries, and nails can break.
- Chemicals play a vital role in making your nails brittle and damaged. Household cleansers, nail polish, adhesives used to glue-on nails and nail polish remover, trigger nail damage.
- Fungal infection is another significant etiological factor.
- Splitting and peeling of nails could be due to hypothyroidism, a disorder in which the thyroid gland functions inadequately and fails to synthesize sufficient hormones.
- In some cases of psoriasis, the individual may complain of splitting of the nails. In fact, in severe cases, the nail may crumble altogether.
- Iron deficiency anemia causes brittle nails. Iron helps manufacture hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of RBCs. An insufficiency of iron in the body is seen as cold hands and feet, headache, a pale skin, and a poor appetite, along with peeling of the nails.
Natural Remedies To Treat Splitting And Peeling Nails
- Examine the splitting and peeling nails for signs of pitting and discoloration, and see a health care provider if these are present.
- Trim the nails to the ends of your fingers, keep them rounded and filed. Long nails hit objects in the course of your daily activities, aggravating the problem. Keeping the nails short helps allay peeling and splitting.
- Rehydrate and strengthen the nails by massaging them twice a day. You could use a blend comprising of olive oil, jojoba oil and vitamin E oil. These oils penetrate the surface of the nail plates, drawing the larger vitamin E molecules along with them, nourishing and fortifying the nails.
- Moisturize your hands daily, and especially after you wash them. Experts advocate using a moisturizer containing alpha-hydroxy acids or lactic acids and leave overnight. Some dermatologists advise wearing cotton gloves afterwards; it will keep the moisturizer in contact with the fingernails.
- Most essentially, make sure that you consume a nutrient-rich, balanced diet. Eating adequate protein is necessary, it keeps the nails healthy. Omega-3 oils promote nail health.
- Vitamin B complex supplement helps restore peeling nails back to health. Also, take a biotin supplement along with B complex. However, do confer with your doctor.
- Always wear rubber gloves whilst washing the dishes, handling household cleaners, or when you have to have your hands immersed in water for a long time.
- Peeling and brittle nails are a sign of stress; thus ensure that you manage your stress well.
- Importantly, steer clear of nail polish, nail polish remover, artificial nail glue and nail hardeners. These are loaded with harsh chemicals which damage your nails.