Whether you like painting your nails or just keep them trimmed and natural, brittle and split nails are a nightmare. Even if you don’t care much about your appearance, they can still snag on fabrics or on your hair and make simple tasks difficult. People will also stare at them and make judgements about your personal hygiene and health.
What causes split nails and what can you do about it?
Causes of Onychoschizia
Split and cracked nail is called onychoschizia in medical terms. Damaged nails are more commonly found on your fingers than on your toes and are usually caused by overexposure to harsh chemicals. Cracked nails do not appear suddenly, but usually begin with the drying of the nails due to repeated or prolonged exposure to chemicals you use on your body.
Sometimes it’s also caused by the lack of humidity or exposure to extreme conditions that result in the drying of the skin and nails. When the nails dry and expand, they become very brittle because they lose the natural oils that are supposed to hold the layers together.
Complications of Onychoschizia
Products called nail hardeners do not remedy the condition, and in fact, will just make the nails more brittle, because they contain chemicals that dry out the natural oils. If the condition is caused by another medical condition, you need to address it first, because nail treatment will not be effective. Some medical conditions that can cause brittle nails include diabetes, iron deficiency, other nutrient deficiency, and thyroid disease.
While there is no life-threatening complication from split nails, it can affect your appearance and the performance of simple tasks using your hands. In some cases, the split nails can make you vulnerable to bacterial and viral infections and injury that can cause the nail layers to peel.
The best way to treat split nails is to prevent it. Just like your skin and hair, your nails mirror your health and if there are chemicals you’re using on the body are harmful. To keep your nails healthy, maintain an ideal length that is suitable to daily tasks.
Long nails don’t give any significant health advantage except that they look pleasing aesthetically to some people. Be gentle with your skin and nails when choosing body products like soaps, moisturizers, cleaners, and grooming tools. Don’t forget to moisturize after washing your hands and to use nail polish and nail cleaning products sparingly.
Treatments of Onychoschizia
Treating split and cracked nails will take some time because you must wait for it to grow. To prevent further damage, you need to address any skin problems you currently have or treat other underlying medical conditions that may be causing brittle nails. You should also do the following:
- Moisturize daily after washing with mild soap
- Avoid prolonged exposure to water and chemicals
- Eat a healthy diet
- Avoid using nail polish and other nail products
- Wear gloves if you need to wash or perform chores