Split nails is a common problem encountered by dermatologists in their daily practice. Splitting fingernails is not just limited to young girls; guys too have been suffering from this problem, since they hardly give any importance to nail care. Though not a serious disease, splitting fingernails is a frustrating condition, especially when the weather becomes cool and dry.
With a fancy name ‘onychoschizia’, splitting fingernails has longitudinal cracks or fracture of the nail plate. Split fingernails are generally caused due to abuse of nails, either due to physical stress or due to exposure to irritants and chemicals. Given below are some of the causes for splitting fingernails.
What Causes Splitting Fingernails?
Fingernail splitting is a common problem among house cleaners, hairdressers, housemaids and those who work constantly in water. Excessive moisture in the nail plate is the cause for splitting of fingernails. When finger nails are constantly exposed to water they swell. When they become dry, they contract. Repeated swelling and drying of nail plate is the root cause behind fingernail splitting.
In young girls fingernail splitting is a common problem due to frequent use of chemicals used to remove nail polish.
Recurrent exposure to certain chemicals while working can affect nail plate and it can cause nail splitting. Even dry cold weather is responsible for fingernail splitting. For this reason, the condition is common during winter season.
Some medical reasons for fingernail splitting include psoriasis, eczema, lichen planus. Nutritional deficiencies and old age can also affect the fingernails and can cause its splitting.
Symptoms Of Split Fingernails
- Fingernail split can occur in one finger at a time or more than one finger at the same time.
- Usually the condition is not painful, unless there is secondary bacterial infection in the nail bed.
- It may be a single horizontal split or multiple splits on the nail plate.
- Many people who are suffering from psoriasis may have split fingernail plate.
- People suffering from lichen planus also have the same problem.
- There may be secondary contamination by fungus and other microorganism.
- Nail polish, polish remover can cause allergic contact dermatitis.
Home Remedies For Split Nails
- If you are frequently working in water, you should wear rubber gloves. This is useful especially for housewives and people doing household chores.
- If you are handling chemicals during your work, protect your fingers and nails by wearing protective gloves.
- Avoid frequent use of nail polish remover which contains acetone or formaldehyde.
- Moisturize your nails or massage your nails with vitamin E regularly when you are suffering from splitting fingernail.
- A lotion containing lanolin when applied to fingernails can be useful for curing splitting fingernails.
- Honey is a natural home remedy for strengthening fingernails. Mixture of honey and lime has to be applied three times in a week over the split fingernails.
- Keep your nails smooth and well trimmed to avoid trauma.
- Eat healthy foods that contain vitamin B complex, vitamin A and minerals such as zinc, iron, copper, vitamin C, vitamin E. Carrots, oranges, green leafy vegetables, eggs, meat and fish, besides whole grains and pulses should be consumed in regular diet.