Brittle nails are characterized by alterations in structure and shape, which make them lacking in elasticity and prone to breakage. They are found as part of the symptomatology of nutritional deficiencies , dermatological affections, traumas and systemic pathologies.
The fragility can present itself with vertical streaks and fissures ( onychorrhexis ) or with progressive flaking of the more superficial layers ( lamellan onychoschizia ). In the latter case, the lamina appears friable and undergoes a real fragmentation starting from the free edge of the nail, which takes on a jagged appearance. Onychorrhexis and onychoschizia are common in females and the elderly; they can represent the consequence of repeated micro-traumas, dermatological disorders and contact with chemical substances with a very acidic or alkaline pH for professional reasons (e.g. chemists, health personnel, photographers and painters). Frailty can be transient (due to the action of external or temporary factors) or persistent.
Often, at the origin of the fragility of the nails there are deficiencies, incorrect eating habits or drastic diets that cause a general deterioration of the organism. This symptom is observed, in particular, in case of deficiencies of vitamins (A, E, C and B6 ) and minerals ( iron , zinc , selenium , copper , phosphorus and calcium ).
In addition to nutritional problems, brittle nails can depend on dermatological diseases, such as psoriasis , alopecia areata and lichen planus . Furthermore, the friability can be a consequence of the invasion of the nail plate by pathogenic fungi, in the case of onychomycosis .
Nail alterations and fragility can also occur in the course of anemia , allergies , thyroid disorders , vascular disease (which alters the vascularisation of the matrix), eating disorders (anorexia nervosa and bulimia ) and particularly debilitating pharmacological treatments.
Aging is also a common cause of fragility, especially if you add environmental factors that favor nail dehydration . Prolonged contact with water and the repeated use of solvents, soaps and detergents deplete, in particular, the hydrolipidic film of the skin of the hands and the keratin of the nails , making them drier and prone to breaking. Smoking and nail biting often make the situation worse.
Finally, brittle nails can depend on an excessively frequent and aggressive manicure.
Possible Causes Of Brittle Nails
Brittle nails is a common or probable symptom of these diseases
- Nervous anorexia
- Lichen planus
- Nail biting
- Turner syndrome
- Contact allergy
- Alopecia areata
- Finger turner
- Sjogren’s syndrome
By clicking on the pathology of your interest, you will be able to read further information on its origins and the symptoms that characterize it. Brittle nails can also be a typical symptom of other diseases, not included in our database and therefore not listed.
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