Onycholysis: When The Fingernails Starts Falling off!

  • 26 days ago
4 minute read.
Onycholysis: When The Fingernails Starts Falling off!

Onycholysis, a condition where nails detach from the nail bed, can be painful and bothersome. It's not usually dangerous, but it can affect how your nails look and feel. Understanding why it happens, how to treat it, and how to prevent it.

Fingernails might seem small, but they're pretty important. They protect the ends of our fingers and help us do things like pick up small objects. So, when a fingernail falls off unexpectedly, it can be a bit of a shock. In this blog, we'll talk about why fingernails fall off, what happens next, and how to take care of your nails afterward.

What is Onycholysis?

Onycholysis, also known as detached nails, is where the nail plate separates from the nail bed. This separation creates a gap that can vary in size and is often visible as a white area under the nail. Onycholysis can affect both fingernails and toenails, and it can occur on one or more nails at a time.

Clinical Signs and Symptoms of Onycholysis

The clinical signs and symptoms of onycholysis may include:

  • The gap between the nail and the nail bed.
  • White, yellow, or greenish discoloration of the affected nail.
  • The brittle or crumbling texture of the nail.
  • Pain or discomfort, especially when pressure is applied to the nail.
  • Changes in the shape or appearance of the nail.

Also Check: Are Your Nails Spotted?

Why Do Fingernails Fall Off?

Fingernails can fall off due to various reasons, including:

  1. Trauma or Injury: The most common cause of fingernails falling off is trauma or injury to the nail. It can occur due to activities that put repetitive pressure on the nail, such as typing, playing musical instruments, or even habitual tapping. Acute trauma, such as slamming a finger in a door, can also lead to nail detachment.
  2. Fungal Infections: Fungal infections, such as onychomycosis, can weaken the nail structure, making it more prone to detachment. Fungal infections often cause the nail to become discolored, thickened, and brittle, which can eventually lead to nail loss if left untreated.
  3. Skin Conditions: Skin conditions like psoriasis can affect the nails, causing them to become thickened, pitted, and discolored. In severe cases, psoriasis can lead to the detachment of the nail from the nail bed, resulting in nail loss.
  4. Chemical Exposure: Contact with harsh chemicals, such as those found in cleaning agents, nail polish removers, and other nail products, can damage the nail and surrounding skin. Prolonged or repeated exposure to these chemicals can weaken the nail and lead to detachment.
  5. Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to certain nail products or medications. These allergic reactions can cause inflammation and irritation of the nail bed, leading to separation of the nail from the nail bed and eventual nail loss.
  6. Underlying Health Conditions: In some cases, nail loss may be a symptom of an underlying health condition, such as thyroid disease, diabetes, or autoimmune disorders. These conditions can affect the health of the nails and may lead to nail abnormalities and loss.
  7. Poor Nail Care: Neglecting proper nail care, such as keeping the nails clean and trimmed, can increase the risk of nail problems, including nail loss. It's important to maintain good nail hygiene and avoid habits that can damage the nails.
  8. Medication Side Effects: Certain medications can cause side effects that affect the nails, such as brittleness, discoloration, and detachment. If you suspect that a medication is causing nail problems, consult your healthcare provider for advice.

Also Check: Foods For Nail Health

Risk Factors Associated with Onycholysis

Certain factors can increase the risk of developing onycholysis, including:

  • Frequently exposed to water or chemicals, such as while cleaning dishes or swimming.
  • Poor nail hygiene, such as not keeping the nails clean and trimmed.
  • Pre-existing nail conditions, such as nail psoriasis or fungal infections.
  • Use of artificial nails or nail products, which can damage the nail and surrounding skin.
  • Certain medications, such as tetracycline antibiotics or chemotherapy drugs, can affect nail health.
  • Underlying health conditions, such as thyroid disease or diabetes, which can impact nail growth and health.

Also Read: Do Hair, Skin, And Nails Supplement Really Work?

Management and Treatment of Onycholysis

  1. Keep the nails clean and dry, and avoid prolonged exposure to moisture or chemicals.
  2. Avoid trauma or injury to the nails, and wear gloves when working with chemicals or doing tasks that may damage the nails.
  3. Trim nails regularly and avoid using artificial nails or harsh nail products.
  4. Use antifungal treatments if a fungal infection is suspected, and follow the prescribed treatment plan.
  5. Address any underlying health conditions that may be contributing to onycholysis, and follow the recommended treatment plan.

In severe cases, a healthcare professional may recommend surgical intervention or prescription medications to treat onycholysis.

Also Check: 10 Tips for Strong and Healthy Nails


Onycholysis is a common condition that can be distressing and challenging to manage. However, with the right care and treatment, it can be effectively managed. If you suspect that you have onycholysis, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. Taking proactive steps to protect your nails and address any underlying health issues can help prevent onycholysis and maintain healthy, strong nails.

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