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Other names: Reed nail[1]
SymptomsExcessive ridges along nails[2]
CausesExcessive hand-washing, nail polish remover, hypothyroidism, anorexia, bulimia[3]
Frequency2F>M, 20% of population[3]

Onychorrhexis, also known as brittle nails, describes nails with excessive ridges.[3] As a result, the nail becomes weak, breaks easily and splits at the free-edge.[1] Fissures and notches may develop.[4]

It is caused by frequent contact with soap and water, and excessive hand-washing.[3] Other causes include frequent use of nail polish remover, and conditions such as hypothyroidism, anorexia, bulimia.[3] Ibrutinib and oral retinold medicines can cause onychorrhexis.[3] It may be normal in the elderly.[2] It may possibly be associated with iron or zinc deficiency, and arsenic poisoning.[1]

Treatment is with biotin.[3]

Onychorrhexis affects up to 20% of the population.[3] Females are affected twice as often as males.[3]

Signs and symptoms

The nails have excessive ridges.[2]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 MacGilchrist, Claire (2020). "3. The skin and nails in podiatry". In Burrow, J. Gordon; Rome, Keith; Padhiar, Nat (eds.). Neale's Disorders of the Foot and Ankle (9th ed.). Elsevier. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-7020-6504-0. Archived from the original on 2023-06-30. Retrieved 2023-05-31.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Johnstone, Ronald B. (2017). "2. Diagnostic clues and "need-to-know" items". Weedon's Skin Pathology Essentials (2nd ed.). Elsevier. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-7020-6830-0. Archived from the original on 2023-06-30. Retrieved 2023-05-31.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 James, William D.; Elston, Dirk; Treat, James R.; Rosenbach, Misha A.; Neuhaus, Isaac (2020). "33. Diseases of the skin appendages". Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology (13th ed.). Edinburgh: Elsevier. p. 784. ISBN 978-0-323-54753-6. Archived from the original on 2023-07-01. Retrieved 2023-05-31.
  4. Bolognia, Jean L.; Schaffer, Julie V.; Duncan, Karynne O.; Ko, Christine (2021). "58. Nail disorders". Dermatology Essentials (2nd ed.). Elsevier. p. 564. ISBN 978-0-323-62453-4. Archived from the original on 2024-01-20. Retrieved 2024-01-17.