Splitting and peeling fingernails is a widespread problem, occurring in approximately 20 percent of people and more common in women. The most common cause of brittle nails, called onychoschizia, is aging, which weakens nails and causes them to crack and peel. Discover other likely causes for brittle nails and ways to keep them healthy and prevent future problems. Splitting and peeling nails can be symptoms of an underlying health condition, so those who experience symptoms in both fingernails and toenails should see a medical professional for advice.
One of the most common reasons for brittle nails is repeated exposure to moisture. Fingernails become softer and more likely to split, break, and peel when they are exposed to water and dried frequently on a daily basis. Wearing rubber gloves during tasks like dish washing, floor mopping or other household chores that require putting your hands in water is one of the simplest remedies for splitting and peeling nails.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals
Contact with harsh chemicals can cause dry, brittle nails. Wear rubber gloves when using detergents and avoid nail polish removers that contain acetone or formaldehyde. Frequent manicures can be damaging, as nail polish and other nail products contain chemicals that can be drying.
Using a hand and nail cream that contains lanolin, vitamin E or alpha hydroxy acids several times daily is a simple remedy for splitting and peeling fingernails. Be sure to rub it into and under the nails to moisturize the nail beds. For extremely dry and brittle nails, you can do an intensive treatment by coating the hands thickly with a heavy cream or petroleum jelly, then putting on cotton gloves and allowing the treatment to soak in overnight.
Splitting and peeling fingernails can be given a boost by increasing your intake of certain vitamins and minerals. Often, the first symptoms of poor nutrition are dull, lifeless hair and dry, brittle fingernails. Vitamins, minerals and nutrients are distributed by the body in a systematic manner, with vital organs and processes taking priority. Therefore, if these nutrients are in short supply, hair and nails will be the areas that are forced to do with less. Among the essential nutrients for healthy hair and nails are biotin, vitamin A, B complex vitamins, vitamin C, copper, zinc, iron, protein and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients are best absorbed by the body when consumed in natural food sources, but supplements can be used as the next best option.