Splitting and peeling nails is a common condition that requires attention. Aging is considered to be the most common cause of splitting and peeling nails. As we age, the natural oil and moisture starts diminishing that make the nails weak naturally and the nails become prone to breaks and crack. It is important to know the causes of splitting and peeling of nails. Also, you can take good care of your nails, if you know how to heal it naturally.

Causes of Splitting and Peeling Nails & Natural Ways to Heal it

Splitting and peeling of nails can also be the symptom and sign of other underlying medical condition. So, anyone experiencing the symptoms of splitting toenails or fingernails must seek medical care. Some causes of splitting and peeling nails include:

  • Excessive immersion in water
  • Exposure to chemicals
  • Infections
  • Skin conditions.

Some of the harmful nail products can also take away the natural oil from the nails which can cause peeling or breaking of nails. Treating the nails with natural remedies to restore its natural oils and moisture and avoiding exposure to harmful chemicals can prevent the nails from peeling or splitting in future.

Causes of Splitting and Peeling Nails

  • Yeast Infections – Yeast infection usually develops beneath our nails, cause discoloration of your nails and make them fall off. If not treated, yeast infection is the commonest cause of splitting and peeling nails. There are over-the-counter anti fungal ointments to treat the yeast infection, but you must avoid wearing nail polish and apply the ointment twice daily.
  • Insufficient Proteins and Amino Acids – In yesteryears, most of the people used to soak their nails in a mixture of water and gelatin because this process helped them to keep their nails pliable and stronger. This is a proven method indeed as our nails are made out of keratin and the mixture of gelatin is a pure form of amino acid which is the building block for protein.
  • Moisture – In most of the cases it has been found that too much of moisture usually causes splitting and peeling nails. If you wet and dry your nails frequently and repeatedly, then it may cause your nails to dry out. Excessive moisture can easily make the nails weak and soft which may cause the nails to split and peel. The ointments comprising lanolin can be helpful to relieve the brittle and dry nails and are helpful to heal it naturally.
  • Heavy Usage of Nails – Another common cause of peeling or splitting nails is because of heavy usage of nails during usual household chores. We often use our nails for most of the work, which can damage the nails and result in breaking.
  • Medications and Drugs – Some medications and drugs too are responsible for making your skin and nails dry by taking away its natural oils. These medications also deplete some of the essential nutrients from your body. So, before taking any over-the-counter medicines you must always read the possible side effects associated with the medicine. If the medicine is prescribed by your doctor which you can't stop taking, then the best solution is to keep your nails hydrated and moisturized with gelatin solution. This will help the nails to heal it naturally.
  • Lack of Vitamins and Minerals – Lack of vitamin and minerals can cause splitting and peeling nails. Protein, vitamin and minerals play a crucial role in maintaining the natural health of your nails. As faulty dietary habits and highly processed food causes loss of valuable nutrients from the food, it is important to consume foods rich in vitamins and minerals. Our body needs an inclusive variety of foods rich in amino acids, biotin and complete range of Vitamin B for healthy nails.
  • Hypothyroidism – Experts believe that hypothyroidism can also be the underlying cause of splitting and peeling nails. Hypothyroidism is the medical condition where the thyroid glands are not active and can't produce sufficient hormones in body. Some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism are unintentional weight gain, fatigue, weakness, heavy menstrual periods and joint pain. If you experience any of these symptoms along with splitting and peeling nails, then it is the right time to seek medical care for your problem.
  • Changing Seasons Can Cause Splitting and Peeling Nails– With the changing of seasons not only our lips start cracking and bleeding, but our nails are also prone to get affected and damaged because of changes in climate. Whether the climate suddenly turned extremely hot or cold, the human nails are vulnerable to rapid and extreme changes in the climate. However, keeping the nails hydrated and moisturized with superior quality lotions can prevent them from splitting and peeling due to seasonal changes.
  • Deficiency of Iron – Deficiency of iron or anemia is another common cause of splitting and peeling nails. Iron is the crucial substance that is required by human body to produce sufficient amount of hemoglobin, which is an oxygen carrying element of red blood cells. Due to deficiency of iron the person may also experience pale skin, cold hands and feet, poor appetite and headaches. Consuming diet rich in iron and taking iron supplement can solve the issue of iron deficiency. However, consulting a doctor prior to starting any supplement is recommended.
  • Household Cleaners and Other Chemicals – Harsh chemicals or the household cleaners can also be the causes of splitting and peeling nails. If you are cleaning your house yourself, then wearing heavy latex gloves can prevent your nails from getting damaged by the harsh chemicals of house cleaners. Not only your nails are splitting due to the harsh chemicals present in the cleaners, but your body is also absorbing the same.
  • Water & Soap – Washing dishes, performing a variety of household chores and giving a bath to your baby require a huge amount of time where both your hands and toenails are literally soaked up in water. Soaking your nails in water for extended period of time can lead to immoderate splitting and peeling of nails. Apart from water, the soaps that you use can also have drying affect on your nails. Soaps are designed with chemicals that can make the skin and nails dry and take away its natural oils and moisture. As a result, it can cause your nails to split and peel. So, wear a glove to protect both your nails and skin from water and soaps.

Natural Ways to Heal Splitting and Peeling Nails

There are few simple and easy tips that can help people to prevent their nails from splitting and peeling naturally. There are some home remedies to heal splitting and peeling nails naturally. Proper nail care is essential to prevent the nails from damages.

  • Keep the nails hydrated with cream and oil after they have been exposed to water. This is an effective natural way to heal splitting and peeling nails. Coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba oil and shea butter are the good source to moisturize your nails. Simply rubbing these oils on the nails after every shower can keep them hydrated and moisturized.
  • Prefer trimming the nails at its wet stage. This will prevent the nails from splitting and peeling or heal them naturally. Buff the edges of the nails using emery file or glass file and make them round to prevent the split ends from catching and getting stuck on things.
  • While performing any household chores in water or harsh chemicals, make sure you wear a glove to prevent the nails from splitting and peeling or heal them naturally.
  • Nail polish can make the splitting nails worsen and hence your must avoid using them.
  • Prefer taking diet that is rich in protein, Vitamin B Complex and C and iron to heal splitting and peeling nails naturally. Dates, fruits, vegetables and dried fruits are the good source of essential nutrients that are required for healthy nails.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Last Modified On: October 13, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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