Onychorrhexis is a very long and technical name for brittle nails. Nails that peel and or break easily would likely be suffering from onychorrhexis and understanding the nails and the body will help in coping with onychorrhexis.
Both the fingernails and toenails are made up of protein layers and like the texture, strength and thickness of an individual’s hair; the thickness of the nail is largely hereditary. Some people are genetically inclined to thin brittle nails, though some health conditions, environmental factors and the aging process can also contribute to onychorrhexis. Heath conditions that can result in brittle nails include Raynaud’s syndrome, psoriasis, hypothyroidism, and malnutrition. Environmental factors that can lead to brittle nails include frequent hand washing, prolonged exposure to dry and or cold air, and excessive exposure to chemicals such as nail polish remover; all which are extremely drying.
If you have experienced an inability to grow out your nails, find that your nails peel or break easily it is likely that you suffer from onychorrhexis. If other’s in your family also have brittle nails then you probably have a genetic disposition to the condition. If you have a job that requires your hands (or feet) to be in water or chemicals excessively or are often in dry and cold air this is likely the cause of your onychorrhexis and treatment as well as prevention would depend on your ability to change your environment. If; however, neither the hereditary nor the environmental factors fit your situation you may want to seek the advice of a physician as it may be a symptom of a much more serious health condition.
To treat and prevent onychorrhexis you will want to limit the amount and frequency of soap and water exposure to your hands or your feet. It is also beneficial to use a hand moisturizer such as a lotion; however, over exposure to petroleum based products may contribute to Koilonychia, another nail disorder. Therefore use a lotion or hand cream that contains natural plant oils. Wearing protective gloves while working with water or in dry and cold conditions can greatly improve the strength and condition of your nails and be sure to get proper nutrition and take a supplement if needed.
The treatment for onychorrhexis is largely in the prevention. Since nails continuously grow, as you change the conditions that create the problem the thin brittle part of the nail will eventually grow out leaving a stronger thicker nail in its place. The treatments and preventions that are used will need to be continued in order to avoid the onychorrhexis from reappearing.
It is important to check with your physician for any underlying health conditions should none of the prevention and treatment methods work as the onychorrhexis may be a symptom of poor health. The treatment of the underlying health condition will then in the majority of cased treat the condition of the onychorrhexis. Brittle nails in it self poses no risks other than being unsightly and at times embarrassing. The use of acrylic nails will often cover the problem but will not solve the issue and can lead to other conditions including fungal infections