This Is What It Could Mean If Your Nails Are Peeling

By | March 20, 2019

It could be your lifestyle, or there could be something going on deeper in your body.

Why pay attention to your nails?

Close up of nails that have problem by peeling after doing manicure. Health and beauty problem. Chanita Chokchaikul/Shutterstock

Nail problems seem like a pretty benign thing to worry about, but this isn’t only about “OMG I broke a nail”: Brittle nails can be a sign that something’s going wrong in your body, and peeling nails are a symptom of that brittleness—though other times, your lifestyle could be damaging them from the outside. Read on to find out when to worry and how to protect your fingernails.

You’re getting up there in years

elderly woman handOlena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock

Your hair and skin aren’t the only things that change as you age. As you get older, your nails naturally get more brittle and change in texture, leaving them vulnerable to peeling. “We get wrinkles in our skin, and we get wrinkles in our nails,” says Chris G Adigun, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. “Each peak and each valley is a weak area that is prone to splitting.” Are they changing appearance in other ways? Find out what the color of your bare nails says about your health.

You use cleaning products regularly

Cropped shot of waiter wiping the counter top in the kitchen with cloth. Man cleaning and maintaining commercial kitchen hygiene.Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Cleaning products can strip your nails of moisture and healthy oils, which can lead to peeling if you’re using them regularly for your job. If you can’t escape the chemicals themselves, fight the effects by being diligent with moisturizers, suggests Dr. Adigun. She recommends an oil- or emollient-based moisturizer like Restore, which give a heavier dose of hydration. Keep an eye out for this fingernail mark that could be a sign of cancer.

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