Fingernails Splitting in Layers Causes & Treatments

Fingernails splitting in layers always indicates that there is something wrong with the nail, such as a type of nail dystrophy.  It is important to identify why your nails are splitting so that the proper treatment can be used.  There are many treatment options that will not only stop the splitting, but they can also improve the overall health of your nail.

What Causes Splitting Fingernails?

Many issues can contribute to this problem, with some of the most common being older age, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid problems, and harsh nail care.  These conditions can all lead to a reduction in the moisture of your nails.  Like the skin, when nails are dry, they can split and flake off.

Fingernails splitting in layers can also be caused by trauma to the nail.  For example, if you frequently bite your nails, this causes significant damage that can lead to parts of the nail cracking and being prone to further damage.

Hypothyroidism can also lead to splitting nails.  This condition causes underproduction of certain thyroid hormones.  Your body starts to slow down and in addition to issues with your nails, you can also experience weakness, joint pain, and fatigue.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease and it can affect most parts of your body.  It can affect the skin and nails, and when it affects the nails, your fingernails splitting in layers and becoming brittle are quite common.

Treating Splitting Fingernails

Fingernails splitting in layers requires care to help prevent a worsening of the condition.  Moisturizing your nails is very important and you should soak your hands for 15 minutes each day in water, but be careful to not frequently wash and dry your hands.  Moisturizers should be of the emollient type because these are thick and can provide a good dose of moisture.  All of your nails should be treated and not just those that are currently splitting.  Nail hardeners are helpful and they can increase the strength of your nail.

If you have a condition that can compromise nail integrity, you want to talk to your doctor.  He or she can help you deal with the associated nail symptoms to help prevent the splitting from getting worse.  For example, if you have hypothyroidism, treating this condition can often alleviate your associated nail problems.  If home care does not help fingernails splitting in layers, you may want to consult a dermatologist to see which medical treatments may be an option.