|MadSci Network: General Biology|
I am assuming that it is the fingernails and not the skin surrounding the nails that are peeling (the latter is actually very common). What it sounds like your describing is onycholysis, which is where the nail splits off. There can be numerous things that cause this ranging from a skin disease called psoriasis, to infections in the nails caused by yeast. Also, there are things you may be doing to try and help this, but it may have actually perpetuated it. Some people react to nail hardeners so that the nail peels or splits. Also, the glue used for applying artifical nails can cause nail problems. Other things include trauma to the fingernail bed which at the base of the nail can have long term if not permanent effects on the nail. And also, immersing your hands for long and numerous times a day can soften and weaken the nail enough to cause it to split or peel. When no other signs of skin disease are evident, onycholysis is most frequently seen in women with long fingernails. With normal activity, the extended nail inadvertently strikes objects and acts as a lever to pry the nail from the nail bed. The cure for this is trimming the nails. And finally, if it is simply brittle nails, there are several things you can do since this is similar to dry skin. Almost 20% of the adult population have this problem, so you're not alone. You may want to add moisture to the nails. The moisturizers that contain alpha-hydroxy acid or lactic acid such as Lac-Hydrin, help the most especially when applied at bedtime and then putting on a glove or cotton sock so the moisturizer doesn't rub off as easily. Also, B complex vitamins or specifically Biotin (2.5mg/day and no more) may help. Good luck.
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