There are many reasons that nails peel, such as age, oversaturation with water or soap, hypothyroidism, malnutrition or endocrine disorders. If the nail changes in thickness or color, the cause might be a more serious condition related to organ disease or diabetes.
Brittle nails, also known referred to as onychorrhexis, affect about 20 percent of the population. The condition is more prevalent in women. Nail thickness, shape changes, color changes, pain or bleeding and swelling around the nail can indicate liver, kidney, heart, lung or blood diseases. A dermatologist can test for underlying causes and can treat certain issues, such as psoriasis, or refer a patient to a specialist if the tests indicate other diseases.
If the peeling is caused by lifestyle factors, a change in nail hygiene may be in order. It is recommended to take time between nail polish applications, use gentle soaps and detergents, and use gloves when cleaning or washing dishes. If hygiene changes are not making a difference in the quality of the nails or if the cause is related to diet and nutrition, it is important to work with a doctor to address the problem. One should always seek medical advice before taking any supplements.