How to Repair Peeling Nails

Your nails say a lot about how you take care of yourself. Peeling fingernails can be caused by harsh products, nail hygiene or the manner in which you are using your nails. According to Nia Terezakis, M.D., a clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University, your nails have cells on them that grow in different directions similar to fish scales. Pushing these cells in the wrong directions will cause the nail to split or peel. If you do have a nail that is peeling, repair it as quickly as possible to prevent the problem from worsening.

Repair nails that are split or peeling. (Image: Filip Rasuo/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Trim your fingernails. Trim the nail directly below the area that is peeling. Avoid trimming too close to the nail bed to keep from getting an infection. It is important that you do not simply peel the nail off.

Step 2

Put a small amount of nail glue in the area that is peeling if you wish to keep your current nail length. Apply the glue to a toothpick for easier and more direct application.

Step 3

Buff the surface of your nail. Buff in one direction, starting at the cuticle.

Step 4

Apply olive oil to the nail bed and massage it in. This will restore moisture to the nail bed.

Step 5

Wash your hands in lukewarm water with a mild moisturizing soap. Dry your hands thoroughly.

Step 6

Polish your nails with a clear nail hardener. Allow it to dry completely before applying a second coat.

Things You'll Need

  • Fingernail clippers

  • Fingernail file

  • Fingernail buffer

  • Nail hardener polish

  • Olive oil


Take a daily vitamin supplement that contains biotin to help strengthen your nails.

Rub a moisturizing lotion into your nails after bathing, washing your hands or removing fingernail polish.

Avoid nail polish removers that contain acetone.


Only use nail supplies that have been disinfected to avoid infection.

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