Brittle Nails: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Many medical conditions can affect the shape or texture of the fingernails. Brittleness of the nails, meaning that the nails easily become cracked, chipped, split, or peeled, can be observed as a sign of aging or in response to the long-term use of nail polish or exposure to moist conditions (including frequent swimming or dishwashing). Some diseases are also associated with changes in the nails, which can include brittleness. Thin and brittle nails can be a sign of hypothyroidism, for example. The term onychoschizia refers to splitting of the fingernails as well as brittle or soft nails. Taking biotin (a vitamin) supplements can help in some cases of brittle nails, and application of moisturizers after soaking in water can also be of benefit.

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/20/2017
Next Article

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Skin Care & Conditions Newsletter

By clicking "Submit," I agree to the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. I also agree to receive emails from MedicineNet and I understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet subscriptions at any time.