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What to do if nails exfoliate on your hands?

Medical expert of the article

Dermatologist, onkodermatolog
, medical expert
Last reviewed: 17.10.2021

Usually, delamination of the nails is not a cause for concern, apparently associated with an adverse chemical or mechanical effect, upon the elimination of which the defect usually disappears as the nail grows back. In this case, you can only pay more attention to nail care or contact a professional beautician.

Constant delamination of the nail plates, longitudinal and transverse cracks, chipping cause anxiety, inconvenience and the question arises: What to do if the nails on the hands are exfoliating ?

First of all, analyze your nutrition and behavior: do you bite your nails ; whether you use them by picking or unscrewing something; do you always wear household gloves when working with household chemicals; how accurate is your manicurist, what tools he uses, and so on. If the answer is not clear to you, you need to see a doctor and be examined.

Salon procedures such as nail sealing only mask the problem, they can be applied if you need to look your best one-time, however, the nails will still have to be treated.

There is no one medicine that would make nails strong and smooth. Errors in nutrition, enthusiasm for diets can lead to a lack of various nutrients and affect the strength of the nails. In addition to the alimentary factor, brittle nails due to metabolic disorders lead to a rather long list of diseases that need to be treated by specialized specialists with specific drugs. [1]

If hypoproteinemia (protein deficiency) is detected, then a dietary meal with a high protein content, intake of vitamin-mineral complexes is prescribed  . If anemia is detected, iron preparations, vitamins B1, B6, B9, B12 are prescribed. These deficiencies may be associated with a lack of zinc in the body. This element is necessary for the normal functioning of many enzymes (more than two hundred), its deficiency negatively affects the course of almost all metabolic processes in the body.

The lack of one element usually entails a deficiency of another, therefore, preference is given to complex preparations containing vitamins, mineral components, amino acids that can restore the chemical composition of nails.

The drug Natubiotin can help with nail delamination caused by congenital or acquired deficiency of biotin (vitamin B7) - a coenzyme for the cleavage and neosynthesis of glucose, lipids, fatty acids, propionic acid esters, protein and carbohydrate metabolism. Full cellular development is impossible without a sufficient amount of it. Biotin deficiency can be congenital and associated with increased consumption in hereditary cocarboxylase deficiency. Acquired deficiency is more often associated with kidney and small bowel disease. Biotin improves the absorption and enhances the action of other B vitamins, which take part in many processes, in particular - hematopoiesis, is a source of sulfur, one of the main components of collagen.

Biotin is contraindicated in case of intolerance. The tablets contain lactose, so it is not prescribed to patients sensitized to it.

In other patients, allergies in the form of rashes are extremely rare.

During treatment with biotin, the proteins of raw eggs should not be consumed, as their use increases the consumption of biotin.

Due to the lack of data on the use of Biotin by children under 12 years of age, as well as by pregnant and lactating women, these categories of the population are not recommended to use tablets.

In case of splitting nails, the recommended daily dose is 5 mg (one tablet). It is taken once a day before meals, with plenty of water.

Helps improve nail health Brewer's yeast with sulfur. In addition to sulfur, the supplement contains a full complex of B vitamins, vitamin E, essential amino acids, arachidonic, linolenic, oleic fatty acids. The drug increases the secretion of gastric juice and, accordingly, improves the digestion of food, contributing to the complete assimilation of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, thereby normalizing the metabolism in the body. Its only contraindication is individual hypersensitivity to the components. The recommended daily intake for adults is 7-10 capsules. They are swallowed whole before meals with the required amount of water. You can eat 10 minutes after taking it.

Zinc deficiency can be replenished with Zincite. This element is necessary for the synthesis of full-fledged onychoblasts. In addition, it promotes the absorption of vitamins A and E by the nail cells. It is indicated for replenishing zinc deficiency of various origins - associated with diseases of the liver and kidneys, intestines, alimentary factors, with its increased consumption in diabetics, patients with collagenoses, excretion when taking diuretics and in other cases. The main active ingredient is zinc sulfate. The form of the drug is soluble tablets. Can be used at any age. If it is necessary to take iron supplements at the same time, it is necessary to observe a two-hour interval between doses. Zincite is contraindicated in patients with hypersensitivity to its components, acute hepatic and renal failure, encephalitis. Pregnant and lactating women are prescribed by a doctor in cases of proven hypocincemia.

To prevent zinc deficiency in children under one year old, the recommended daily dose is from 10 to 15 mg, over one year old - from 15 to 20 mg, for adult patients - 15-25 mg.

Good reviews about the vitamin-mineral complex Complivit Radiance. It contains calcium, magnesium, iron, silicon, copper, selenium colbalt, a full set of B vitamins, ascorbic and lipoic acid, vitamin E. It is recommended to use it in the recovery period after suffering infections and intoxication, stress, overvoltage, to eliminate the consequences of inappropriate nutrition... Nails recover quickly, become strong and healthy. Contraindicated in case of sensitization to components. It is better for pregnant and lactating women to refrain from taking it. The complex cannot be used simultaneously with other vitamin preparations. Take one tablet daily during or after a meal.

If a fungal disease of the nails is found, then antimycotics cannot be dispensed with. Generally, preference is given to topical preparations, for example, Lotseril, produced in the form of a varnish or solution, is considered a modern effective remedy. Its active ingredient amorolfine exhibits fungicidal activity against yeast, mold and other types of fungus. Amorolfine penetrates well into hard-to-reach places and is able to destroy a fungal infection that has not affected the nail root. You can even apply colored decorative nail polish on the surface treated with Lotseril. Treatment with this remedy should be under the supervision of a physician. The overall effect of the varnish on the body is minimal. Usually, a course of continuous treatment takes from six months to a year, if the instructions are followed in good faith until the symptoms disappear completely.

Systemic treatment is sometimes required. Good results are obtained by treatment with Binafin tablets  . The active ingredient of the drug, terbinafine hydrochloride, is a modern and powerful fungicide. Penetrating into the cells of the fungus, terbinafine inhibits the enzymatic activity of squalene epoxidase in cell membranes, disrupting the synthesis of sterols. This leads to disastrous consequences for the fungus - destruction of the membrane of the fungal cell, metabolic disorders in its nucleus and cytoplasm. [2]

Terbinafine  has a very broad spectrum of activity. To destroy dermatophytes  [3],  [4]molds and certain other types of fungus fairly low-dose administration. The drug has a fungistatic effect on some types of yeast. [5]

The daily dose is usually taken as a single dose. Pharmacokinetic properties of tablets do not depend on food intake. The dose is calculated based on the patient's weight (the minimum weight of the patient is 12 kg, the age is two full years): children whose weight does not exceed 20 kg are given half a tablet of 125 mg or a quarter of 250 mg; with a weight of 20-40kg, take a whole 125mg tablet; children weighing more than 40kg and adults are prescribed a 250mg tablet.

The medicine is quite toxic, it can cause allergies and other side effects from the digestive organs, central nervous system and hematopoiesis. People with liver pathologies should be especially careful - periodically monitor its work, since the treatment can be long (from a month to three). For patients with kidney disease, the dose is adjusted downward. Female patients taking hormonal contraceptives should keep in mind that during treatment with Binafin, the menstrual cycle may be disrupted.

Physiotherapeutic treatment can be prescribed for onychomycosis and onychodystrophies as a general tonic. [6]In case of mycotic lesions of the nail, treatment with short-wave ultraviolet rays can be effective - they can destroy even fungal spores. Ozone and laser therapy is also used. 

Warming up using high-frequency currents can be prescribed as general strengthening thermal procedures. Also, vitamin preparations can be delivered to the nail plate using phonophoresis or iontophoresis.

Home treatment

Nails - victims of cosmetic tricks or household carelessness, it is quite possible to help without leaving your home. There are many ways to take care of your hands and nails with century-proven products that can be found in kitchen cabinets or home medicine kits. Home procedures are not contraindicated for patients whose nails have suffered from metabolic disorders caused by somatic pathologies. They will not be able to replace the course of the necessary therapy, but they will help to improve the condition of the surface of the nails from the outside, feeding them with vitamins and microelements, strengthening and moisturizing the outer layer of the nail, without exerting a significant systemic effect on the body as a whole.

Alternative nail treatment consists of local procedures - hand baths, nourishing masks, applications. Any of them is best done before bed, so that for several hours the nails can freely absorb the benefits applied to them.

Healing baths (water 37-40 °; duration - about a quarter of an hour; quantity - every two to three days):

  • dairy - add a tablespoon of olive oil and ground cinnamon on the tip of a knife to a glass of warmed milk, mix;
  • with sea salt (classic) - the solution is prepared in the proportions: a teaspoon per 200 ml of water;
  • mix freshly squeezed juice from one apple with the same amount of warmed fresh beer and hold your nails in this composition;
  • with gelatin - a tablespoon is dissolved in 200 ml of hot water, allowed to cool to body temperature.

Also, do not rush to pour out the water in which the potatoes were boiled - this is a ready-made bath, just do not forget to cool.

For dry and brittle nails, oil baths are suitable, for example, from any slightly warmed vegetable oil with the same amount of apple cider vinegar or with five drops of iodine or ten drops of lemon essential oil. It will also not be superfluous to squeeze a couple of vitamin A capsules into the bath.

You can mix equal amounts of slightly warmed vegetable oil with the same amount of fresh beer and squeeze the juice from a quarter of a lemon into the mixture.

After oil baths, the ends of the fingers are not washed, but gently blotted with a paper napkin.

It is quite easy to rub aloe juice into the nail plate and cuticle steamed in a saline solution overnight, or wipe your nails with a piece of any citrus fruit (if you have a choice, it is better - lemon). You can rub garlic juice into steamed nails, especially if signs of inflammation are noticeable or the nails were injured during a manicure. In addition, garlic has fungicidal and bactericidal activity, and also nourishes the nails and skin around them with vitamin and mineral substances.

To moisturize dry skin on the fingers and nail plates, after a bath with sea salt, you can spread fish oil or an oil solution of vitamins A and E on your hands (every other day). At first, such procedures can be done every evening before bedtime, then, when the condition improves - at least once a week.

You can improve blood circulation in the fingers by wiping the nail plates with a cotton pad dipped in red pepper tincture. You can buy a ready-made alcoholic tincture at the pharmacy or prepare it yourself by chopping red hot pepper and pouring it with a glass of alcohol or vodka for a week. Filter the tincture before use. Alcohol dries out the skin, so you need to ensure that your hands are nourished and hydrated at the same time.

An oil mask for nails has a good healing effect. Its composition: in a blender, grind one tomato with a peeled skin with olive and almond oil (take a teaspoon of each ingredient), add four drops of rosemary essential oil to the mixture. Before going to bed, without sparing, you can smear your fingertips with this mixture, you can completely brush your hands. After 7-10 minutes, rinse with water, get wet and lubricate your hands with a nourishing cream.

Regular nightly massage of the nail bed and plate will improve blood circulation and make nails firmer and more elastic. It is done with a soft toothbrush lathered with glycerin or baby soap. You can drip on the brush or rub oil solutions of vitamins A, E, D3, fish oil into your nails after massage.

You can strengthen your nails, make them stronger and more elastic, and even out the effects of build-up, injuries, and edged manicure with the help of trays with herbal infusions. For this, chamomile flowers are brewed, which have the ability to moisturize and relieve irritation; oak bark, which has astringent and bactericidal properties; calendula flowers, which, in addition to anti-inflammatory, also have antifungal activity, and also contain carotenoids; the grass of a string, yarrow, St. John's wort. Mixtures of herbs are used. Herbal infusions help disinfect and heal microtraumas, improve blood circulation in the nail matrix, saturate it with vitamins and nutrients, which accelerates the processes of regeneration of the cells of the nail plate.

Phytopreparations are often taken orally for various somatic diseases. Herbal treatment of serious diseases is recommended under the supervision of a phytotherapist.

At night, after any procedures, it is good to put on cotton cosmetic or special hydrating gel SPA gloves on your hands.

Read also:


The main drugs for the treatment of brittle, exfoliating nails are Thuja (Tuya) and Sepia (the contents of the bag of black cuttlefish), with the second drug suggesting foliation along the free edge of the nail and thickening of the nail plate. Thuja is more used in patients with thin, dry nails that grow slowly, as well as psoriasis. Both drugs can be prescribed for fungal nail infections.

Silicea (Silicea), Psorinum (Psoriatic nosode), Medorrhinum (Gonorrheal nosode), Graphites (Graphite) and many others can eliminate such a problem as brittle nails. Even for nail biting patients, the homeopathic remedies Sulfur (Sulfur) or Ammonium bromatum (Ammonium bromide) can help to get rid of this habit.

With the help of homeopathic treatment, many somatic conditions are overcome, which lead to brittle and flaky nails. But the condition of the nail plates is not the only sign that determines the choice of a remedy for treatment.

Homeopathy takes into account many factors and assumes an individual and comprehensive approach to each patient, which is the key to successful treatment.

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