WHETHER you love following the latest nail trends or you prefer the all-natural aesthetic, nail care is often viewed as a form of self-care.
But what happens when you have peeling nails?
And is it necessarily a cause for concern?
Peeling nails generally refers to when your nails become brittle or weak and split or peel on the tip.
Typically, this will be a vertical split from the tip toward the cuticle of the nail, in addition to separation of the keratin layers in the nail, commonly known as peeling.
Peeling nails can also have layers of nail plate separation which creates an uneven nail surface.
Brittle nails can split at the distal part of the nail (or away from the centre), and due to aging and consistent hand washing, brittle nails can also have what is called longitudinal ridges, which are lines that appear along the nail.
You may also notice cracks, white lines, and flakes along the nail beds, and your nails may feel dry, thin, sensitive, or rough to the touch.
What causes peeling nails?
Believe it or not, your nails can tell you a lot about what’s going on inside the body.
A common trigger of weak, peeling nails is iron deficiency anaemia, so if you have other symptoms such as fatigue, talk to your doctor who can order a simple blood test to see where your levels are.
Plus, because nails need a variety of vitamins to grow, nutritional deficiencies in biotin, zinc, vitamin D, and protein can also cause peeling nails.
Repeated trauma to the nails from manicures can lead to a vicious cycle, as the application and removal process will weaken your nails.
More specifically, soaking your nails in water and/or chemicals like nail polish remover, can dehydrate and compromise the nail’s health, leading to peeling and splitting.
You may depend on polish, gel, or acrylics to camouflage your fragile nails, but this can further strip away the moisture and natural oils thereby making them dry, brittle, and prone to splitting and peeling.
It’s unavoidable, but aging can cause your nails to peel.
They will likely become more dull and brittle, but research also shows that nails grow slower as you age, resulting in more exposure to water, harsh soaps, and chemicals, which can cause further peeling.
Exposure to harsh chemicals
Peeling nails are a common occupational hazard for people who are exposed to harsh chemicals like acetone, harsh soap, sanitizers, cleaners, and laundry detergent, since they strip your nails of natural protective oils.
Repetitive hand washing or wetting and drying of the hands can cause peeling nails.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but soaking your hands in water actually strips away the moisture and natural oils in your skin and nails, which causes them to feel dry and brittle.
This is especially common in the winter months when your skin and nails are already dehydrated.
Home remedies for peeling nails
Keep your nails moisturised
Regularly applying moisturising creams or oils to the nails and cuticles can prevent dryness and brittleness.
To take it a step further, sleeping with cotton gloves or socks on your hands will lock in the oil’s moisture.
Avoid harsh chemicals
Limit exposure to harsh chemicals like detergents and cleaning agents as they can weaken the nails.
Instead, wear gloves while doing household chores or activities that involve prolonged exposure to water or chemicals.
Use nail strengtheners
Apply nail strengtheners or hardeners that contain ingredients like keratin, calcium, or vitamins to help the nails. – Online.