Brittle Nails - Causes and Symptoms

What Is Brittle Nails: Causes And Symptoms


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

Common Causes

  • Nervous anorexia
  • Lichen planus
  • Nail biting
  • Onychomycosis
  • Progeria
  • Psoriasis
  • Turner syndrome

Rare Causes

  • Contact allergy
  • Alopecia areata
  • Anemia
  • Bulimia
  • Finger turner
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • 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.

Symptoms And Diseases

  • Symptoms from A to Z
  • Diseases from A to Z
  • Signs or symptoms?

Random Symptoms

  • Night blindness
  • hearing loss
  • Colaluria
  • Derealization
  • Weight loss

Random Diseases

  • Transient ischemic attack
  • Chondrocalcinosis
  • Chondromalacia
  • Infantile Cerebral Palsy
  • Muscle contracture

Similar Posts