Onychoschizia means brittle, splitting, soft or thin nails. It is a common problem that is often more prevalent in women and usually occurs with aging. Brittle nails can also reflect health conditions, such as thyroid problems.

While nail abnormalities can often be linked to illness, brittle nails often arise from purely cosmetic causes, such as long-term nail polish use, washing too much and exposure to harsh soap and detergent. Repeated wetting and drying makes nails expand and shrink, which leads to the brittle nails. Brittle nails can result from either being too dry or from overexposure to moisture. When nails become brittle due to too much moisture, nails can become soft and may peel.

Managing Brittle Nails

Preventing the problem is usually pretty simple: Wear rubber gloves when washing dishes and for general housecleaning: give nails a break from nail polish and nail polish remover; and moisturize them regularly.

Filing can also help by smoothing out ragged nails to prevent further damage. Just be sure to use a non-metal file and buff nails in the direction of nail growth only to prevent further splitting.