Nails contain fibrous proteins called keratin, which is also in skin and hair. It makes your nails strong. If your nails are weak, peeling, ridged, or flaking, it can be due to either external trauma or an underlying internal health condition.
The color, shape, and texture of your nails acts like a window into your body. Your fingers could be signaling that something needs your care and attention. Check to see which problems could be an answer to healthier, better-looking nails.
8. Exposure to Chemicals
Chemical exposure can be involved when you get your nails done at a salon. Manicures with gels or acrylics can look beautiful, but polish and other cosmetics involved in nail decorating are absorbed into your system, like anything you put on your skin.
These products can lead to brittleness and cracking due to too much buffing and scraping of the nails. This, along with using the chemical acetone to remove the gel and acrylics, weakens the nails. Use an acetone-free cleaner to remove polish or gels.
7. Too Wet or Too Dry
If you wash your hands a lot, have a job that always keeps your hands damp, or if you do not use enough moisturizer between washes, your hands may get too dry. “The most common cause of peeling nails is repetitive wetting or drying of hands”, says Blair Murphy-Rose M.D., F.A.A.D., a dermatologist at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Try keeping them drier and/or moisturize whenever possible, depending on the issue.
6. Nutritional Deficiencies Due to Poor Diet
One vitamin, B7 or biotin, is well known to cause brittle nail problems when deficient in your diet. Biotin helps our body create the building blocks of protein. Iron deficiency or anemia, low minerals like calcium, or low vitamin D all help build up keratin protein.
Eating a well-balanced diet can assist with these nutritional deficiencies or try a supplement.
5. Thyroid Malfunction
Low thyroid function causes a slower turnover rate of cells of skin and nails; this older tissue becomes more brittle. The thyroid makes many of the hormones in your body and that can affect many problems and symptoms. “Nail changes are more common with hyperthyroidism than hypothyroidism, but why it happens is still unknown”, says Caren Campbell M.D., a San Francisco-based dermatologist.
4. Fungal ProblemsOnychomycosis is a fungal infection of the nails. It can make your nails peel, thicken and become brown or yellow in color. This underlying condition along with others could be a more serious problem. “There might be a systemic issue or disease that affects the nails”, says Tanya Kormili, M.D.
3. Kidney Disease
Poor kidney function, damage, or kidney failure can cause brown discoloration to your nails. It also causes “half and half” nails; half-moons of white that extend from the base of the nail to halfway up, followed by a brown or red color to the nail tip.
2. Lung Disease
Different lung issues and breathing problems can yellow your nails. These people have respiratory difficulty or conditions like pleural effusion or lymphedema.
1. Age-Related Nail Problems
For many over the age of 60, your nails may start to naturally become thinner, split, and ridged. They usually have poorer circulation which affects the health of your nails. Dehydration is often a symptom found in elderly people; this affects your nails and skin. It is recommended to use a moisturizer and nail strengthener to help both your nails and skin.
Peeling and flaking nails are annoying and unsightly, but protecting them from damage is an easy fix. Look into the above reasons or visit a dermatologist if the problem is persistent.