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Onychorrhexis – Brittle Nail Disease

Onychorrhexis – Brittle Nail Disease

  • What is it? – When fingernails and toenails break easily because they are weak.
  • Why is it? – As keratin develops with protein as a component, the nail grows according to the appropriate thickness determined by the body. Your nail thickness is pretty much set at birth. Some people are born with very thin and/or fragile nails
  • What causes it? – Humidity at the base of the nail is a common cause. For instance, soaking your hands (or person) in water for a long period of time (taking a bath or doing dishes) on a regular basis. Some people have a hereditary condition of weak nails. As they grow older, their nails become weaker and more prone to breakage. Some diseases and circumstances that might cause a fragile nail are:
    • Hypothyroidism or low thyroid levels
    • Reynaud’s syndrome
    • Skin diseases, such as psoriasis
    • Lack of proper nourishment

Signs of this affliction

  • Flaking at the base of the nail
  • The nails breaking and/or falling off

Basic Treatment

People with brittle nails should not spend a lot of time with their hands in the water. They should dry their hands thoroughly after getting them wet and they should use a mild soap when washing.

Immediately after washing and drying their hands, sufferers of onychorrhexis should apply a moisturizer to the afflicted limb. Two recommended kinds of moisturizer are:

  • Standard “beauty” moisturizers, which work to soften the skin. These will provide instant relief and will assist people with this affliction greatly.
  • Healing moisturizers, which both soften and infuse the skin with herbal or medicinal remedies as well as acting as a barrier between the water and the nail

Some good preventative measures are as follows:

  • Wearing protective covering on hands or feet when immersing them in water
  • Not participating in activities that involve being submerged in water, such as swimming.
  • Protecting the hands from irritating chemicals
  • Supplementing the diet with vitamins and minerals to help the nails become stronger.
  • Identifying nutritional deficits that may be causing the nail breakdown and working to increase those areas

Side Effects

The only potential negative side effect of the above treatment is an allergic reaction to a moisturizer. Stay alert for irritation of the skin to indicate that there is sensitivity.

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