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How to Heal Peeling Fingernails

Peeling, splitting nails can result from myriad causes, including skin conditions, infections, exposure to chemicals and excessive immersion in water. Hooked on Nails points out that aging can also play a role; as your body produces less oil and moisture, fingernail plates can become brittle and prone to breaks and peels 2. Nail products can also strip away natural oils. By preventing exposure to harmful substances and treating nails to restore moisture, you may be able to restore your peeling nails to health.

Examine your peeling or splitting nails for signs of discoloration or pitting, and see a doctor or dermatologist if these are present. According to, these symptoms can indicate a fungal infection or psoriasis 1. notes that psoriasis of the fingernails can affect nails so severely that they can crumble.

How to Treat Damaged Nails

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Trim your nails to the ends of your fingers, and keep them filed. Long nails can strike against objects in the course of everyday activities, worsening peeling problems. Although it may be hard to sacrifice your long nails-- if you have them-- this practice can drastically relieve peeling and splitting.

Rehydrate your nail plates by massaging nails twice a day with a cuticle or nail oil that contains jojoba oil and vitamin E. Hooked on Nails notes that jojoba's tiny molecules can penetrate the surface of the nail plates, drawing the larger vitamin E molecules along with them 2.

What Causes Fingernails to Split & Dent?

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Give peeling nails a moisturizing assist by using a moisturizer with alpha-hydroxy acids or lactic acids before bedtime. Kathy Clement, M.D., a faculty doctor at University of Wyoming, advises donning cotton gloves afterward; this will help keep moisturizer in contact with fingernails.

Eat a nutrient-rich, balanced diet. Ask the Dietitian says to make sure that you get adequate protein, and adds that fingernails are rigid protein structures that reflect the general heath of the person 3. Xomba advises eating fatty fish twice a week; omega-3 oils may help promote nail health.

Take a daily multivitamin that includes B-complex vitamins, which Clement recommends for helping restore peeling nails back to health. Clement also advises taking biotin, or Vitamin B-7, but cautions you should not take more than 2.5mg a day.

Wear rubber gloves whenever you wash dishes, use household cleaners, or have your hands immersed in water.

Exercise regularly to help release endorphins and relieve tension. According to dermatologist Flor A.Mayoral, MD, FAAD, clinical instructor in dermatology and cutaneous surgery at Miami's Miller School of Medicine in Miami, FL, peeling nails can be a sign of stress.


Steer clear of nail polish, nail polish remover, nail hardeners and artificial nail glue. Clement says all of these can contain harsh chemicals that may further damage nails.