why do my toenails peel off in layers

Brittle nails, characterized by nails that split or peel into layers, affect as much as 20 percent of the population, according to a report by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Some health conditions can result in peeling of both fingernails and toenails, but if only your fingernails are affected, the cause is likely to be external. Most cases of splitting nails are caused by moisture, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Repeatedly wetting and drying your hands, and, by extension, your fingernails, can cause the nails to dry out. Too much moisture can also weaken the nails, softening them and causing them to peel. Fingernails can be protected from moisture by wearing gloves for activities in which the hands are immersed in water, such as washing dishes. The AOCD recommends applying a lotion containing lanolin to relieve dry and brittle nails. Injuries to the nail can cause them to split and peel. Nail biting leaves fingernails ragged and prone to additional damage. Using your fingernails as tools for scraping and prying will also cause nail injuries, and nails can break and split during normal everyday activities. Keeping your nails trimmed short and filing them with an emery board into a rounded shape can prevent the splitting and peeling from getting worse.


Chemicals, including household cleansers, can dry out fingernails. Colored nail polish, adhesives used in glue-on nails and nail polish remover, particularly if it contains acetone, can all cause nail damage. The effects of chemicals can be remedied by limiting exposure and moisturizing the nails after contact. Applying a coat of clear nail polish once a week may also prevent damage, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Medline Plus states that splitting nails may be caused by hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland is underactive and doesn't produce enough hormones. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include weakness, fatigue, unintentional weight gain, joint pain and heavy menstrual periods. See your doctor if you experience these symptoms, as your peeling nails may have a medical cause. Iron deficiency anemia may result in brittle nails, according to MayoClinic. com. Iron helps the body produce hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying portion of red blood cells. Iron deficiency anemia can also cause cold hands and feet, pale skin, headaches and a poor appetite.


A diet of iron-rich food or iron supplements can resolve the deficiency, but a doctor should be consulted to diagnose the problem if symptoms are present.
We love a peel as part of a facial. But peeling nails? Not so much. While peeling nails is usually not a sign of a major medical issue, it might indicate that your manicures are doing more to work against you than for you. Here s what it means and what to do if your digits are acting unruly. Read our tips on how to ensure your next trip to the salon will help your nails become stronger and healthier, not the other way around. What Is It? The first thing to keep in mind if you ve got peeling nails is that nail changes are common as we get older, says , the director of cosmetic and clinical research in the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. While the exact reasons behind age-related changes are unknown, medical experts tie them to dysfunctional blood circulation and the cumulative effects of UV rays, according to a 2011 study conducted by researchers at the Another factor: Just as our bodies develop with age, the growth rate and shape of the nail plate can alter as we get older.


In medical speak, peeling nails is known as onychoschizia, in which thin layers of the nails literally separate from the free nail edge and peel back. The condition is rarely associated with any general health concerns, Zeichner says. It could be the result of excessive hand washing, nail dryness, or the use of acrylics and other nail polishes. He adds, however, that brittle nails could be a sign of low thyroid function or anemia. Yellowing nails are sometimes associated with lung disease; white discoloration of half or more of the nail may signal kidney or liver disease. If in doubt, see your physician to check it out. What Not to Do: Before you head to the salon, let s make sure your manicure is actually helping, and not hurting, your nails. Nadine Abramcyk, a cofounder of Tenoverten, a New York Cityвbased nail salon, says, Overbuffing on top of the nail weakens it tremendously. It could also make it more prone to peel. She recommends making sure the buffer moves in a single direction and never sits directly on top of the nail. A buffer should only be used gently along the edges of the nail and the nail bed, to clean up the cuticle area.


A file with a strong grit can tear the nail, causing more damage and potential nail breakage. A healthy manicure has light cuticle care with only a bit of trimming, filing with a softer file and buffing along the edge of the nails with cuticle oil to avoid damage to the nail bed, says Abramcyk. Extra Credit: Give your nails time to breathe between manicures, says Abramcyk. Removing polish at home with a nonacetone remover and then applying a nontoxic strengthening basecoat can help restore the nails. The ($32 for 10) are biodegradable, paraben-free, and infused with essential oils, aloe, and vitamin E to keep nails nourished without the harsh odor. You can stash them in your bag. Abramcyk also advises staying away from basecoats that claim to be nourishing but contain formaldehyde as an ingredient. She recommends ($18) and ($18) as safe and healthy options. To further moisturize and protect the nails, cuticles, and hands, the beauty guru loves ($33 to $39), from Japan, and ($18). Abramcyk s finalвand the simplestвtip for keeping your nails healthy and smooth? Drink water, and much of it. Beauty Hacks: How to Get Whiter Nails

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