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What Are the Causes of Onycholysis?

24 November 2020
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Although the word sounds a little strange, onycholysis is simply the nail pulling away from the skin underneath. Although there may be several related causes for this condition, it will take a comprehensive strategy to ensure nail treatments are effective. Below, we look more at what onycholysis is, its causes, and possible treatments for them. 

Nail Treatment Basics for Onycholysis

What is Onycholysis?

Onycholysis is a condition wherein the nail stops bonding to the skin underneath. Ordinarily, this will not present a problem, but it can be a preliminary sign of greater underlying problems.

The Causes of Onycholysis

Injuries are a common cause of onycholysis. Even the simple act of repeatedly tapping your nails on a hard surface can lead to onycholysis. However, this will vary on an individual basis, and it is not the only cause of this condition.

Close-up of a leg with a fungus on nails on a wooden background. Onycholysis: exfoliation of the nail from the nail bed.

Another common cause is negative chemical reactions to nail polish, household cleaners and other strong chemicals. This may cause the nail to lift away from the skin, especially with repeated exposure. In fact, topical reactions may not be the reason as medication can also cause an adverse reaction. 

Furthermore, there are some health problems where onycholysis may be a symptom. These include yeast infections, thyroid diseases and mineral or vitamin deficiencies. For the most comprehensive and personalized information regarding your own instance of onycholysis, talk with your family doctor or a licensed medical professional. 

How Nail Treatment Works for Onycholysis

Typically, the first step in treating your nails is by identifying the underlying cause of the issue. For instance, if toenail fungus is the issue, toenail fungus cream will be the most effective solution. However, other nail treatments may be more effective, depending on the nature of the problem. Another great example is trauma to the nails, which may benefit from bandaging the nails and preventing infections.


Dr. Mitchell Kline and Dr. Jeremy Green are widely recognized as two of the most admired and trusted dermatologists in the world. Due to our patented Drs. Kline + Green™ product line, we can provide instant nail repair relief. To enjoy beautiful clean nails, place your order today. You won’t be disappointed.

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