Why Do Fingernails Peel?

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There are times that horizontal splits may happen in fingernails, which can result to thin layers of nails peeling back. Doctors refer to this condition as onychoschizia and there are lots of reasons why fingernails peel.

Nails basically consist of keratin layers, which may also occur in hair and skin. The keratin makes the nails stronger, yet external trauma and any underlying health condition may cause the nail’s thin layers to peel away. Once it happens, it may leave nails looking thin and they might also feel uncomfortable or sensitive.

Causes of Nail Peeling

More often than not, mild deficiency in iron is the cause why fingernails peel. But, several external causes as well as underlying health conditions may produce this symptom. The external causes may include the following:

  • Spending time in humid or hot places
  • Exposing nails to particular chemicals
  • Buffing nails too much
  • Using nails to open things or pick things up
  • Wearing acrylic or gel nails
  • Peeling nail polish off rather than using remover
  • Washing the dishes without gloves
  • Washing your hands excessively

Nails may take quite some time to grow, so the external trauma results might not become visible until a few months later. Underlying health conditions that might cause brittle or peeling nails include dehydration, iron-deficiency anemia, underactive thyroid, lung disease, kidney disease, and so on. The changes in the way your fingernails grow might happen as you grow older. According to research, age-related changes in fingernails may happen due to blood circulation issues as well as extended exposure to ultraviolet rays.

Mild iron deficiency is more likely than severe underlying health conditions to be the primary cause of nail peeling. But, it’s useful for everyone to be aware of some conditions that might cause peeling nails. Once you have some relevant symptoms aside from peeling nails, you should not forget to mention such things to your doctor.

Another symptom of conditions that might cause discolored, peeling or brittle nails is anemia. Without treatments, mild iron deficiency may become serious and can result to anemia. Anemia happens once the body is low in red blood cells and doesn’t have enough available hemoglobin. If you do not know what hemoglobin is, it’s a substance found in red blood cells, which help them carry oxygen around your body.

Breaking and peeling of the fingernails may be due to a fungal infection as well. Typically, brittle nails are due to some skin or nail conditions like psoriasis. There are times that brittle nails are a good sign of general medical condition like diabetes or thyroid disease.

Once you consume a diet that’s low in protein or particular vitamins or minerals, you might have a deficiency of such substances that may cause brittle nails. Enough intake of a vitamin called biotin is essential for healthy fingernails. Make sure to consult your doctor if you think that you might have one of such medical conditions or if you’re concerned that your diet might not be enough.

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