How To Treat And Prevent Peeling Nails

Before nails started to serve a mainly cosmetic purpose, in the days of prehistoric times, human nails were used for defending, digging, protecting the fingertips, and enhancing the ability to grasp and pick up objects. Keratin, the protein found abundantly in the hair, is the same thing nails are made of. While the layers of the nails are supposed to normally stay intact, some individuals may experience peeling with the tough nail layers. Peeling nails causes them to weaken, look thin, and eventually split and break. Onychoschizia is the medical term used to characterize splitting or peeling fingernails. External nail trauma can cause this to happen or it could be the result of a systemic condition indicative of a pathologic process happening in the body. A fingernail takes six months on average to grow its entire length, so it is possible nail abnormalities are caused by trauma that happened several months earlier.

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Avoid Acrylic Or Gel Nails

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No matter what the cause is of the fingernail peeling, the application and removal of acrylic or gel nails can have harsh effects on the natural nail. When these types of synthetic nails need to be removed they are often soaked in a hot water or an acetone solution for a prolonged period of time. These type of nail soaks tend to quickly and easily dry out the nails, causing peeling. Additionally, these artificial nails are constantly pressing and putting unnecessary pressure on the nail, which can result in peeling. Having acrylic or gel nails tends to encourage individuals to use their nails as a tool more often, which also causes trauma to the natural nail. If fake nails are not removed by soaking, it usually means an individual has picked them off themselves or a nail technician has pried them off the natural nail. Both processes tend to lift and tear away portions of several layers of the natural nail, causing trauma that results in continued peeling. An individual needs to avoid acrylic or gel nails altogether to prevent any potential harm from them causing peeling nails.

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Proper Nail Care On A Regular Basis

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Most individuals do not know what proper nail care on a regular basis entails, but using the proper techniques and being consistent can help prevent peeling and weak nails. One example of proper nail care is to use a pair of sharp clean nail clippers or nail scissors to trim the nails across the uppermost region of the nail weekly to prevent the nails from growing into the skin at the corners. Trimming down to where no white is visible is okay, however, caution should be taken to ensure the nails are not trimmed too short. In addition to clipping the nails weekly, it is also good nail care to smooth the borders of the fingernails so they don't snag on linens or clothing. A rounded nail shape with no sharp edges is the best shape to prevent breaks and peeling. It is also a good practice for an individual to apply cuticle oil or coconut oil to their cuticles if the area is frequently dry or tend to fray. It is okay to occasionally buff the nails, however, it is important to only do so in one direction, as the nail plate can get thinned out if a back and forth motion is used.

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Increase Intake Of Iron

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Iron deficiency anemia, which means the body does not have sufficient numbers of healthy red blood cells and is low in hemoglobin, is a common cause of peeling nails. Red blood cells are able to carry oxygen throughout the body with the hemoglobin in them. This can be a serious condition if it is not treated. One way for an individual to tell if this is the cause of their peeling fingernails is to compare the condition of their toenails to the condition of their fingernails. If both look similar and are peeling and brittle, this can indicate the individual is low in iron. Other symptoms that may occur with the peeling fingernails if they are caused by low iron are a rapid heartbeat, general weakness, shortness of breath, and dizziness. Individuals increasing their iron intake by taking iron supplements or eating more foods rich in iron can help bring low levels up. In addition, ensuring their daily multivitamin has iron in it can help prevent brittle, weak, and peeling nails.

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Take A Biotin Supplement

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Biotin, vitamin B7, is one of the eight B complex vitamins many everyday foods contain in small amounts. It is a substantial element of the body's enzymes that have the job of metabolizing carbohydrates, fats, and other substances. Biotin also has a key role in maintaining the health of the nerves, cells, skin, and digestive tract. Though a biotin deficiency is uncommon, it is possible, and the symptoms are brittle and thin hair, weak nails, and fatigue. Several studies have suggested taking the daily recommended dose of biotin in supplement form has helped with skin protection from acne breakouts and fungal infections. In addition, biotin helps prevent rashes and cracking or drying of the nails. Because fungus can grow under the nails as well as on the skin, biotin can be effective in preventing nail fungus that can result in nail peeling. Biotin is also known to have an anti-inflammatory effect and stimulates cell healing and restoration within the body including the skin, nails, and hair. Anyone who experiences peeling nails can take a biotin supplement to strengthen their nails.

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Protect Nails When Cleaning

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Cleaning around the house or the business almost always involves the exposure of the fingernails to water. Even though many cases of peeling nails are a result of too much water exposure, sometimes additional substances and chemicals used to clean can result in peeling, dry, and damaged fingernails. Hand and dish soaps are formulated to strip oils from dish and skin surfaces, and this includes the nails. This can be prevented by using cuticle or coconut oil after washing hands or dishes to introduce moisture back to the nail bed. Bleach and floor cleaning solvents also have this effect, albeit on a much larger scale. These substances are a cocktail of toxic substances that are not meant for contact with the skin or nails. Just like bleach and floor cleaners are great at eating through the grime and goo in the shower and on flooring, they are also extremely abrasive in the same way to the skin and fingernails. Even a single exposure of beach to the nails can result in drastic changes that cause them to peel, split, and break. It can take several months to repair this damage. To prevent this from happening, gloves should always be worn to protect nails when cleaning and when handling any kind of cleaning chemicals.

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