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What Causes Nails To Split

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What Causes Split Nails?
  • Nails support and protect the sensitive tips of our fingers and toes.
  • Common causes of nail problems include injury, infection and skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis.
  • Some conditions need professional treatment from a doctor or a dermatologist.
  • People with diabetes or compromised immune systems have a higher risk of fungal nail infections.
  • Toenail problems tend to be more common among older people.

What Causes A Split Nail

A split nail is usually caused by nutrient deficiency, ;physical stress, accidents. Splitting nails accidentally are, ;completely normal and unavoidable. This article will show you 10 Ways to stop nails from splitting horizontally and explain the cause of your split nail, how to prevent them, and when to see a doctor.

Nail Splitting And Nail Cracking

Split nails or cracked nails can be problematic all on their own, but they can also be fingernail disorders that signal another health problem. Nail splitting and nail cracking can be due to a thyroid condition or psoriasis. If you find that your nails are brittle or split or crack easily and often, talk to your doctor about health conditions that may be responsible.

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Brittle Nails: Causes And Tips To Strengthen

2 Minute Read

If your nails split, peel, or are simply weak, you have brittle nails.

Brittle nails occur for a variety of reasons. They may be a normal sign of aging or the result of polishing your nails too frequently. When the weather is cold, brittle nails may result from dryness. Weak nails also can be signs of a health issue, such as hypothyroidism or anemia.

Before you assume the worst or head to the doctor, learn how to strengthen brittle nails and the reasons why you might be experiencing them.

Reasons Whyyour Hair Skin And Nails Are Suffering

How to fix a split nail: Causes, treatment, and prevention
  • Erika Geisheimer, Blog Coordinator
  • Communications, Good n’ Natural Health Food Store

Irritated or aging skin? Thinning or dry hair? Brittle or unhealthy nails? While using topical products is a valid method of treatment, it also helps to consider that more often than not, external symptoms are a manifestation of some internal dysfunction or imbalance, whether it is too much of something or not enough of another. Consider the following potential underlying causes that are triggering your beauty blunders!

1. Nutrient Deficiencies

Protein The amino acids in protein are building blocks for thick, shiny hair and strong nails. Deficiency symptoms include dry, shedding hair and weak nails. As a general rule, aim to consume at least half of your body weight in grams of protein per day! Specifically, collagen is the main structural protein found in skin and other connective tissues. When levels fall; hair thins, skin sags & wrinkles and nails become brittle. Elastin fibers form a matrix with collagen in hyaluronic acid. Together these ingredients function to lock in moisture and make skin, hair and nails smooth, elastic and firm. With age, menopause and damage from toxins, our natural renewal rate of these nutrients slows down. Important collagen building blocks include Silica and Biotin, as well as Sulfur, Zinc and Vitamin C.

2. Sluggish Liver

3. Stressed Lifestyle

4. Hormone Imbalances

5. Oxidative Stress

6. Poor Gut Health & Inflammation

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Structure Of The Nail

Nails are made from a protein called keratin. This is the same protein that makes up skin and hair. Nails grow from cells that multiply within the base of the nail, then layer on top of each other and harden. This is called keratinisation.The strength, thickness and growth rate of nails are characteristics that we inherit from our parents. The structures of the nail include:

  • Nail matrix where nail growth occurs, tucked under the skin behind the nail
  • Nail plate the visible part of the nail
  • Nail bed the nail plate sits on top of the nail bed. The nail plate looks pink because of the blood-rich capillaries in the nail bed
  • Lunula the crescent-moon shape that you can sometimes see at the base of the nail plate
  • Nail folds the slender skin grooves that hold the nail plate in place
  • Cuticle the flap of thin tissue over the base of the nail plate.

How To Fix Splitting Nails At Home

The first step on how to fix splitting nails is knowing the reason your nails split, understanding what is causing the nail to split, can be helpful in determining which treatment will be the best one for you. So how to fix vertical split nail and horizontal split nail?

Step 1: Preparing the nail.

Apply nail polish remover on a cotton ball and remove your nail polish and make sure your nail is clean. The best way to remove nail polish is to put the soaked cotton ball on your nail, let it rest for 10 seconds and then wipe it off .

Step 2: Teabag

For this repair, we will use a tea bag as a patch. Cut the top of a tea bag, you can dispose the tea leaves . Then, cut the tea bag to fit the shape of your nail .

Step 3: Base coat

Apply a thin layer of base coat to your nail, then use the teabag patch you shaped and apply it to your nail , make sure the tea bag covers the nail split. Use your finger to smoothen the tea bag and check there are no air bubbles. Let it dry for 5-7 minutes.

Step 4: clear polish layer.

Apply one layer of clear nail polish on top of the tea bag. Then wait for it to dry for 10 minutes.

Step 5: File & finish

Use a nail file to remove any excess of the tea bag paper. Then apply another layer of clear nail polish and wait for it to dry. After the nail polish is dry, you can apply your nail polish color regularly.

For those who dont like the tea bag opthion, Another great option is theOrly Nail Rescue Kit It is affordable, very easy to use and it works!;;

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Use Quality Nail Polish Products

Quality nail polish products keep your nails safe. Low-grade nail polish products;should be;avoided since they can cause extreme drying and splitting of nails. This;is caused;by nail polish containing acetone;which is;likely to dry out nails. It is, therefore, better to choose non-acetone nail polish remover.

What Are The Best Ways To Strengthen Soft And Splitting Finger Nails

What’s Lacking With Split Nails

The simple, regular application of the lanolin-rich ointment Bag Balm;works wonders to help stop nail splitting. In my almost 30 years practicing dermatology, I’ve never found a better nail product for this type of nail problem.; For Bag Balm to work it’s magic, it’s always important to apply it to nails that just had a nice soak in water . I like to apply it to my nails and hands at night and cover them with cotton gloves.

Nail fragility can be helped even more by moisturizing the nail numerous times a day after washing. It also helps to avoid harsh soaps and solvent exposure that cause lipid loss and protein damage in the nail plate. This includes using only a gentle hand soap instead of dishwashing soap or harsh hand soaps.

Dry nails and hand skin are such a common problems that I created my Dry Skin Hand Repair Kitwith everything we need to avoid dry hands – AND NAILS – and to replenish lost lipids. This is what I use for my 62-year-old nails that naturally want to be fragile, dry and split. It takes work to keep them nice and this is how I do it.

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You Have A Fungal Infection

Onychomycosis, or fungal infection of the nail, can cause several different types of nail dystrophy including nail peeling, says Dr. Rose. You may also experience thickening of the nails and white or yellow-brown discoloration, according to experts at the Mayo Clinic.

If you think you have a fungal infection, make an appointment with your dermatologist, as they can be tricky to treat. Your doc can confirm that you have an infection and will likely prescribe oral antifungal meds to help the nail heal.

Go here to join Prevention Premium , subscribe to the magazine, or get digital-only access.

Your Hands Are Frequently Wet

The most common cause is repetitive wetting or drying of hands, says Blair Murphy-Rose M.D., F.A.A.D., board-certified dermatologist and clinical instructor at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Medical Center. So it happens often with hairdressers, house cleaners, and other jobs requiring frequent soaking of hands.

Your nails may also peel if you spend time in hot or humid places. Too much moisture or prolonged exposure to moisture causes the nail to swell with water and become soft, explains Dr. Peters. The end result is a soft and brittle nail that is susceptible to damage from minimal trauma.

To prevent this from happening, Dr. Peters recommends wearing gloves when doing the dishes, drying your hands and nails thoroughly after washing them, and regularly applying a hand cream that contains vitamin E to replenish any moisture that is lost.

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Exposure To Too Much Or Too Little Moisture

Moisture can be a big problem for toenails. If it gets trapped underneath the nail, a fungus can grow. But, moisture plays another role when it comes to nails cracking or splitting.

Being exposed to too much water is one of the main reasons that nails split. Water can soften the nails, but repeated exposure can make them weak. Leaving your nails in water for too long degrades the arch of the nail, where its easiest to split open. As the nails start to degrade, this arch loses support and can crack. Some people use nail strengthening creams when they notice that their toenails have been compromised.

People who might experience cracking nails due to too much moisture include:

  • Swimmers
  • People who regularly wash dishes
  • Boaters or fishers
  • Frequent bathers;and people who shower for extended periods

Its impossible to stay away from water altogether. But, its important to be aware of how much time your nails spend submerged.

Additionally, you dont want your nails to dry out. This can easily happen if you live in an area with dry air or bitter cold. Keeping your nails moisturized properly is different from submerging them in water regularly.

To keep your toenails properly moisturized, massage a bit of olive oil onto them with a cotton swab. With a bit of extra care and attention to your toenails, you can make sure they arent experiencing too much or too little moisture.

Biotin Is Probably The Best Supplement Ingredient To Possibly Help Brittle Nails

Split Fingernails (Onychoschizia): Symptoms, Causes ...

I tell patients to go to their favorite, high-quality natural food store and ask the vitamin specialist for their best nail formula.; It’s important to know that many of the ingredients in these supplements are lavishly present in whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, natural oils, beans, and fish.;

Eating a richly nutritious diet is key to supporting healthy nails and vitamin supplements should be used in addition to, not in place of, a healthy diet.

Be patient. Your fingernails grow slowly at a rate of about 1mm per month.; As you age, the growth slows down even more.; This means it will take several months for the dry and split portion of your nails to grow out.;

If your entire nail is brittle, it could take as long as a year for your nails to improve. Keep up the good nail care, nutritious diet and your vitamin supplements, hang in there and don’t give up!

Lastly, there are internal diseases that can affect splitting fingernails, the most common being thyroid problems and anemia.; Some skin diseases affect the nails as well and cause splitting.; If your nails don’t improve, see your doctor.


Abdullah L, Abbas O., Common nail changes and disorders in older people: Diagnosis and management.Can Fam Physician. 2011;57:173181.

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Glue Nail Repair Method

This is the simplest method and it only involves using glue.

  • Remove your nail polish If the affected nail has nail polish, it would be best to remove it first with a nail polish remover. Make sure to gently remove it from the nails. Use a piece of cotton with some acetone. Place this on top of the nail to let it soak and avoid rubbing it in to avoid staining the nail.
  • Wash your hand with soap and water The next thing you should do is to make sure that your finger and nail is clean. Do this by washing it with soap and water. This will lessen the risk of infecting the nail.
  • Use your nail glue Nail glue like the IBD;Brush-On Nail Glue shown above can be used. Although it is usually used for attaching artificial nails or tips, it can also help glue natural nails together. Apply a small amount of glue and gently press the nail back together.;
  • Let the glue set and harden Some nail glue easily dry up and harden but may take a while. You should select quick-drying ones so you wont have to hold the nail in place for a long time.
  • Reapply nail polish if desired Once the glue is dry, you can reapply your nail polish. This can also help strengthen the nail and cover the split or crack.
  • You Always Clean Or Wash The Dishes

    Cleaning your kitchen and bathroom is a necessary chore, but repeated, prolonged exposure to chemicals found in cleaners as well as soap and water could be weakening your nails, leaving them brittle and prone to splitting.

    The fix: This ones easy throw on a pair of rubber gloves before scrubbing. This will prevent chemicals, soap, and water from touching your nails while you clean.

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    How Can One Stop Nails From Splitting Horizontally

    While there isnt much you can do about an already split nail, apart from fixing artificial silicon nails. But there are various ways by which you can actually stop your nails from splitting.

    • Clean ;Hands and Nails; Regularly

    This is probably one the most basic nail care tip. Hands look beautiful when the nails are kept neat and beautiful. Wash your hands with gentle hand cleanser or soap. Use a nail scrubber to scrub your nails from both tops and under .

    Tip: for shiny and well-kept nails, apply a layer of petroleum jelly over the nails before going to bed. This will make your that your nails are well moisturized.

    • Keep Your Hands and Nails Moisturized During Winters

    Winters can be harsh for the skin as well as the nails, once you wash your hands and nails, apply a good hand cream on both hands and nails.

    • Protect Your Nails with ;Rubber Gloves

    Dishwashers are made of harsh chemicals when frequently comes in contact with your skin and nails, will make your nails a skin soft and brittle, this can also lead to color change. Similarly when doing other household chores harsh chemicals from soap and cleaning products can damage the nails. This applies while outdoor chores too, for example, while working in your garden wear gloves to protect your hands from blisters, sharp objects, thorns and also from keeping the dirt off your nails.

    • Polish Your Nails
    • Nail Polish Remover- The Real Villain

    Apart from the above tips also make sure that;

    Common Nails Splitting Causes

    Why I Don’t Use Nail Clippers They Cause Nails to Split Crack and Peel

    Onychoschizia can be linked to the aging process as nails can become weak or thick. Any type of cracked nails, such as vertical split nails causes, can be present months after initial damage. This is primarily due to the nail taking six months to grow to its complete length. The most common cause is constant wetting and drying of nails, but there are other factors to consider before attempting any treatment.

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    Deformed Or Brittle Nails

    A violent toe-stubbing, dropping a heavy object on the toe or some other trauma can injure the nail bed and cause the nail to grow in a deformed way. The nail may be thickened or ridged. It is a normal ageing process for nails to thicken.Deformed or brittle toenails can benefit from regular professional attention. Trimming, shaping and nail care from a podiatrist can improve the health of your toenails and help diagnose and treat more serious nail problems.

    A Nutrient Deficiency Could Be Playing A Role

    Peeling nails have been associated with low calcium, as well as a deficiency in iron, vitamin D, and B vitamins like biotin, says Dr. Peters. These vitamins all help keratinwhat the tissue nails are made ofgrow stronger.

    Eating a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins is a good place to start addressing nutritional deficiencies, but you might also want to ask your doctor if you could benefit from taking certain supplements.

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    Misconceptions About Protein Deficiency

    While cracked nails are not caused by a protein deficiency per se, they may result from a deficiency in nutrients associated with high-protein foods. The amount of protein consumed may be sufficient, but the types of proteins consumed may result in an iron or biotin deficiency.

    Biotin often binds with proteins, so some protein-rich foods are also rich in biotin. Good dietary sources of biotin include egg yolks and liver. Nonmeat include nuts, legumes and dairy products. Many foods high in iron are also good sources of protein, such as meats and fish.

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