Peeling nails might be due to an external trauma to the nail. It is important to note that nails protect the fingertips as well as improve ability to pick up objects.
Nails are comprised of keratin which is a protein that is also present in hair. Take note that nails have several durable layers that can peel. This causes the nail to thin out or weaken which causes them to split.
Aside from external trauma to the nail, it might be a sign of a systemic condition or the presence of a pathologic process within the body. It might take 6 months for a fingernail to grow up to its full length.
What are the causes?
Damage or trauma to the nail can result to peeling. Soaking the hands in hot water while washing dishes or prolonged exposure to water can dry out the nails which leads to peeling nails.
Other possible causes include the following:
- Engaging in activities that presses on the nail
- Picking on or peeling off nail polish
- Overusing the nails as a tool
- Applying acrylic or false nails
If the individual has peeling in both fingernails and toenails, it might be an internal cause. The internal causes might vary but oftentimes, dry peeling nails might be a sign of a vitamin deficiency, usually iron.
Management of peeling nails
If peeling nails might be due to iron deficiency, it is recommended to increase the daily iron intake. Some of the foods that are good sources of iron include:
- Lean meats
- Baked potato with skin
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- White beans
A daily iron supplement can also be taken. Biotin can also be incorporated into the diet to help strengthen the nails.
In addition, take the necessary steps to keep the nails moisturized and avoid prolonged exposed to water. For those who perform regular household chores involving water, use cotton-lined rubber gloves. If engaging in water activities such as swimming, apply a cream or lotion on the hands and nails.