Sometimes, you may find horizontal splits in your fingernails that result in peeling back of thin layers of the nails. There are several causes of splitting or peeling nails. This condition is called onychoschizia.
Nails are comprised of layers of fibrous protein known as keratin which is also found in hair and skin. Keratin strengthens the nails, but external distress or underlying health conditions may make thin layers of the nails to peel. When this happens, it leaves the nails thin. They feel uncomfortable and sensitive.
Causes of Peeling of the Nails
The main cause of peeling nails is mild iron deficiency. However, there are underlying health conditions and external causes that can lead to this symptom.
Examples of external causes include:
Excessive washing of hands
Wash of dishes without gloves
Peeling off the nail polish instead of using remover
Picking things using nails
Wearing acrylic or gel nails
Spending much time in humid and hot areas
Too much buffing of the nails
Exposing nails to harmful chemicals
Since the nails can take longer time to grow, the results due to external trauma is not much visible until some months later.
The underlying health conditions that may lead to peeling or brittle nails are:
As a person gets older, the nails changes the way they grow.
Studies have also shown that changes in nails as a result of age may be accelerated by long exposure to UV rays and blood circulation problems.
Homemade Natural Remedies for Peeling Nails
The following are the best ways to treat peeling nails at home:
Keep your nails trimmed short
Keep the nails moisturized
Eat foods rich in iron or take iron supplements
Filing nails to a rounded edge to avoid tearing
The recommended amount of iron one should take daily is 18 milligrams (mg). Foods that are rich in iron include:
Legumes such as beans and peas
Research shows that coconut oil is effective and safe skin moisturizer. By rubbing the oil into your nails keeps them moisturized.
The treatments of the underlying conditions include:
Anemia: Eat foods that are rich in iron or take iron supplements.
Dehydration: For mild dehydration, drink more water, but for severe dehydration you need to get intravenous fluids from a hospital.
Under active thyroid: It can be treated by being injected with T4 hormone.
Lung disease: Treatments for this may include surgery, oxygen treatment, or non-invasive ventilation.
Prevention of the Peeling of Nails
Here are the tips that will help you to prevent peeling of your nails:
Use nail polish remover to take off the nail polish
Use fingers and not your nails to pick or open things
Keep your nails moisturized
Avoid wearing gel or acrylic nails
Wear rubber gloves when cleaning
Trim your nails and file them to a rounded shape at the edges
The peeling of your nails can be treated at home. However, if the nails are bleeding or painful, you should see a doctor. You should also visit a doctor if peeling of the nails is accompanied by other symptoms of more serious conditions.
Edited by: Jessa (Feb. 18, 2019)