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How to Treat Peeling Nails: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention!


CNS NewsThe reasons for peeling or splitting nails are numerous. The illness is known by doctors as Onychoschizia. Increasing iron consumption, cutting short, and moisturizing nails, among other things, are possible treatments.

Occasionally, the fingernail breaks horizontally might cause the thin layers of the nail to pull back. Layers of keratin, a fibrous protein that is protective and found in skin and hair, make up nails. Although keratin strengthens nails, it can also cause thin layers of nails to peel off due to external stress or underlying medical conditions.

The nails may appear thin when this happens. They might also experience discomfort or sensitivity. Here, we’ll examine the reasons for peeling nails as well as preventative and remedial measures.

What Are the Reasons Behind This?

Peeling nails are frequently the result of a little iron shortage. However, this symptom can also be brought on by a few outside factors and underlying medical disorders.

External causes include:

  • washing the hands excessively
  • washing dishes without gloves
  • peeling nail polish off instead of using remover
  • wearing gel or acrylic nails
  • using the nails to pick things up or open things
  • buffing the nails too much
  • exposing the nails to certain chemicals
  • spending time in hot or humid places

Because nails can grow slowly, the effects of external trauma cannot show up for several months. Peeling or brittle nails can be a symptom of the following underlying medical conditions:

How to Treat Peeling Nails: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention!

  • iron-deficiency anemia
  • dehydration
  • underactive thyroid
  • lung disease, which may also cause yellow nails
  • kidney disease, which brown discoloration on the nails can also indicate

As a person ages, changes in nail growth are also possible. According to research trusted Sources, blood circulation issues and prolonged UV radiation exposure may be the cause of age-related changes in a person’s nails.

Read More: How to Treat Nail Fungus Naturally: A Complete Guide!

Similar Signs and Symptoms

Peeling nails are more likely to be caused by a modest iron deficit than by a serious underlying medical issue. Nonetheless, people should still be mindful of various illnesses that can result in peeling nails. They will be aware to inform a doctor about any additional pertinent symptoms they may be experiencing in addition to their peeling nails. The other signs of ailments that could result in peeling, brittle, or discolored nails are discussed below.


If left untreated, a minor iron shortage might worsen and result in anemia. When the body lacks sufficient hemoglobin and has fewer healthy red blood cells, anemia develops. Red blood cells contain a material called hemoglobin, which aids in the movement of oxygen throughout the body. Severe iron shortage can cause the following symptoms in addition to peeling nails:

  • chest pain or a rapid heartbeat
  • feeling very weak or tired
  • shortness of breath
  • a headache
  • feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • having cold hands or feet
  • having a sore or inflamed tongue
  • pale skin
  • changes in appetite


People can become dehydrated if they do not drink enough water or non-caffeinated beverages. Dehydration may cause a range of symptoms, as well as peeling nails. These can include:

  • dry mouth, eyes, and skin
  • increased thirst
  • infrequent urination
  • dark yellow urine
  • a headache
  • feeling dizzy
  • tiredness

Underactive Thyroid

An underactive thyroid does not produce enough hormones. As well as brittle nails, an underactive thyroid may cause:

How to Treat Peeling Nails: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention!

  • reduced sweating
  • dry skin
  • constipation
  • difficulty concentrating
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • decreased appetite
  • weight gain
  • feeling cold
  • feeling tired

Lung disease

In some instances, nail abnormalities may be a sign of lung disease. According to the American Lung Association, the symptoms of lung disease may include:

  • a cough lasting a month or longer
  • shortness of breath
  • mucus production lasting a month or longer
  • wheezing
  • coughing up blood
  • unexplained chest pain

Kidney disease

According to a 2015 articleTrusted Source, brown discoloration on the upper half of the nail may indicate kidney disease. Other symptoms may include:

  • reduced appetite
  • weight loss
  • itchy skin
  • frequent need to urinate
  • water retention
  • trouble sleeping
  • shortness of breath
  • blood in urine
  • muscle cramps

The best way to treat peeling nails is:

  • eating iron-rich foods or taking iron supplements
  • keeping nails trimmed short
  • filing nails to a rounded edge so that they are less likely to catch and tear
  • keeping nails moisturized

The recommended daily intake of iron is 18 milligrams (mg)Trusted Source. Iron-rich foods include:

  • spinach
  • legumes, such as peas and beans
  • shellfish
  • organ meat, such as liver
  • red meat
  • pumpkin seeds

ResearchTrusted Source suggests that coconut oil is a safe and effective skin moisturizer. Rubbing coconut oil into nails may help to keep them moisturized. Although it is rare, underlying health conditions can sometimes cause peeling nails. Below are the treatments for each of these conditions.

Read More: How to Treat Thumb Nail Infection at Home Step by Step and Tips!


The standard treatment for iron deficiency is to eat more iron-rich foods or take iron supplements. If a person has symptoms of anemia, they should speak to their doctor, who can recommend the best treatment.


People can treat mild dehydration by drinking more water. If they have severe dehydration, they may need to receive intravenous fluids in a hospital.

How to Treat Thumb Nail Infection at Home Step by Step and Tips!

Read More: Paw-Sitive Care: Healing Your Dog’s Split Nail Safely and Swiftly!

Underactive thyroid

It is possible to treat an underactive thyroid with a synthetic form of the T4 hormone that a healthy thyroid produces.

Lung disease

There are several treatments available for this condition. The best one will depend on the type of lung disease that a person has. One type of lung disease is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Treatments for this may include:

  • stopping smoking
  • medication
  • oxygen treatment
  • non-invasive ventilation
  • surgery

The following tips can help to prevent peeling nails:

  • avoiding wearing acrylic or gel nails
  • Use nail polish remover to take off nail polish
  • wearing rubber gloves when washing dishes or cleaning with chemicals
  • using the fingers rather than the nails to open things or pick them up
  • trimming nails and gently filing them to a rounded shape
  • keeping nails moisturized
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